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Envirolak Series for Cabinet Painting?

Rachel Garwood
last month
last modified: last month

I would love to hear about your experience with cabinet paint. Which top coat is the most durable and long lasting?


Currently we are considering brushing/rolling the Envirolak 9000 primer and Envirolak 200 series topcoat in Satin.

Comments (26)

  • elcieg
    last month

    Charles, informative reply. What do you think about B.M. Advance for cabinets?

  • awm03
    last month

    Charles, what is CV? thanks.

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  • Cindi Sullivan
    last month

    Following

  • catbuilder
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Advance is great for cabinets. I would never use it on trim as it just doesn't have enough viscosity. I use Advance on cabinets in my rental properties (with college students, no less) and have not had any problems. 10 years later and they look as good as new. No chipping, no peeling, no bare spots from wearing away. Make sure you let each coat thoroughly dry (I give it a full 24 hours) before putting on the next one. 2 coats on top of primer usually does it.

  • PRO
    RCKsinks Inc.
    last month

    CabinetCoat by Insl-X

  • Debbie Downer
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Has anyone used the cabinet coating system by Rustoleum - color + optional glaze + clear coat over? I have the same question so I appreciate getting all these options in one place - thx!

  • PRO
    Linda@icookinmykitchen.com
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Rustoleum or other kits, or chalk paint, or miracle paint, or any of the social media no sand products, are all poor quality materials, with poor processes recommended, meant to appeal to homeowners as a ”quick easy fix”. There is no secret to a good quality paint job. It is all about the prep WORK. If someone is not willing to put in the 80 hours + of work (40 for a pro) , then the results just will not be there, even if you choose the $150 a gallon professional product. I am the Admin of multiple cabinet building and finishing groups with over 300K members. The common denominator to failures shown in any of them is someone looking to shortcut through jobs. Or hiring the lowest cost pro who shortcuts through the job.


    Also, the original question seemed to imply a professional product, used by a cabinet maker or finisher, not a DIY. Best remains an absolute, but best for a DIYer with low experience may not be the same for their level as best for a pro with a spray booth and years of experience.

  • Debbie Downer
    last month

    I hear ya, Linda@. I appreciate the caution - this forum is full of poor jobs done by both DIYers AND supposed "professionals". However I am a skilled DIYer, long time artist/painter who got side tracked into home reno, with enough OCD in my personality to do the 80+ prep work (and then another 80+ perseverating over it and doing even more prep LOL). Been there done that! Even did a floor refinish which received complments from professional finisher. Setting aside skill, and just looking at durability and self leveling properties of the product (nope not up for learning to use a sprayer) is there anything at all available to me that would yeild reasonably good results? With the floor refinish, I was not able to obtain professional level products, so even though I did a beautiful job, I ended up disappointed with it not lasting very long at all. My cat was missing for 6 weeks and when I got him back he was so excited he would run around the house madly and you wouldnt believe the scratches from just a few days of this!

  • PRO
    Linda@icookinmykitchen.com
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Pro level products that produce factory tough results are all designed for spraying. Spraying is how you get the smoothest most even result. There are a couple of options that can be brush and rolled, but that is a much more difficult process while wearing a respirator and other PPE. Milesi and Renner have 1K variants that are a bit safer for that, but still require the respirator, if you read the manufacturers literature.

    The best of the homeowner level trim products that can be used without a respirator is probably Benjamin Moore Advance. It still has the +- issues with long open times, and long cure times. It can be quite hard and durable once cured though, and does not require PPE to use.

  • rwiegand
    last month

    Doing it as a DIY project I'd use a product like Emtech 6500 water based spray lacquer with added crosslinker for a post-catalyzed finish. An ordinary respitator is adequate when spraying and the dry time is fast enough that dust isn't an issue. It sprays really nicely, even in amateur hands and seems to be holding up great.

    All the recommended prep work for refinishing would need to be done first, I've only used it on new material and it's worked really well.

  • PRO
    Mark Bittman
    last month

    I wouldn’t describe any aziridine cross linked products suitable for a casual or even advanced homeowners. The waterborne 2K polys described above are safer, but even those require caution and respect for the chemicals they contain.

  • Rachel Garwood
    Original Author
    last month

    Do you know if you need a respirtator when using the Envirolak 200 series? if painting and rolling on??


    I appreciate all of the help!!

  • PRO
    Mark Bittman
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Yes, you need a respirator for any pro coating. Just read the Technichal Data Sheet and Safety Data Sheet. Which is why you might as well get a pro to spray it. You will get a much better result, and achieve the correct mil thickness. It is not designed to be brushed. None of these coatings are.

    https://envirolak.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/ELNYW200XX-TDS.pdf

    https://envirolak.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/ELNYW200-SDS.pdf

    Rachel Garwood thanked Mark Bittman
  • Rachel Garwood
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    That is very helpful! Do you know if the primer can be brushed/rolled? Or does that have to be sprayed too?

  • PRO
    Linda@icookinmykitchen.com
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Not wanting to spray or wear a respirator will limit you to consumer grade coatings. Or you will need to dedicate time and money and physical discomfort to buy a sprayer, respirator, and tyvek suit plus gloves, and learn how to safely use those tools. Practice on several furniture pieces first. Watch the safety video on properly fitting the respirator, and spray injection injures. Multiple times. Even a hammer is a tool that can hurt you if you do not respect it’s capsbility. So are saws. A lot of guys missing index fingers from saws out there!

    You would be better off finding the experienced pro to do the job if you want pro grade coatings used and do not want to suit up and spray. Otherwise stick with the coatings designed to be brushed and rolled, like Advance. Watch Maria’s brush and roll videos in Kitchen Cabinet Painting Experts. That is the Group that I Admin which is homeowner focused to learn how to paint cabinets. We do not recommend pro grade coatings for anyone not experienced in spraying. For many reasons.

  • rwiegand
    last month

    I know that the broad consensus here is "let the pros do it", especially among the pros, but ever the contrarian I'll rise in defense of DIY-- but only if you really want to. It will undoubtedly be cheaper and easier to let the pros do it if it is a one time exercise for you or if you don't enjoy doing things for youself.

    I put off learning to spray finishes way longer than I should have, decades, because I was intimidated by the buzz about how hard it was, and poor experience with rattle cans that confirmed those fears. A couple years ago now I acquired a good quality HVLP gun, and it has been transformational.

    It takes an investment, modest in the context of many of the tools one can acquire, and has a learning curve. If you don't already have a good size compressor you'll need to invest in one (any serious DIY'er needs a big compressor in any event), so figure $500-1500 for that; an HVLP turbine is another, less flexible, alternative in the same price range. A good HVLP conversion gun will run you $250-500. You'll need a good full face respirator with organic and fine particle filters, figure $1-200. A thickness gauge to measure how much finish you're putting down will be another $10-30 .

    Then you need to spend a bunch of time spraying first water untill you understand how to set up and adjust your gun and lay downeven coats, than you'll probably want to waste at least a gallon of each finish in question practicing before getting to your project. You'll need an appropriate workspace, with decent ventilation, lighting, and dust control (but then almost every project needs that). A temporary spray booth can be built in any number of ways, usually with stuff you already have. Getting a teacher or taking a hands-on class can speed this process a lot.

    This setup is not sufficient to let you spray nitrocellulose lacquer or other finishes with highly flammable or highly toxic components-- for that you need a real spray booth and an explosion proof fan as well.

    But, having done all of this, you're ready to take on myriad projects in the future, whether they are kitchen cabinets, furniture building and repairing, or whatever comes your way. It turns out to not be all that hard and for a couple thousand dollars and a few tens of hours of practice to get started (and some time fixing the inevitable errors, drips and sags that will occur early on) you are set for life. Pretty much chump change in the world of serious DIY'ing.

    Rachel Garwood thanked rwiegand
  • bry911
    last month

    A Graco X5 from HD is far easier to work with than any HVLP. HVLP require too much thinning for good coverage for modern 2K finishes.


    How many people do you see spraying cars with airless or even air assisted airless sprayers? You will always get a better finish with a good HVLP setup, I don't care how experienced you are.

    I have several airless and air assisted airless sprayers and I will go to a 5 stage turbine for any coating where quality is more important than speed.

    Rachel Garwood thanked bry911
  • bry911
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I don't have a lot of time to post today... so I am going to make many comments rather briefly. I might be slow to follow up this week as I am pretty busy.

    "Pro" coatings: People often conflate "pro" coatings with commercial coatings and by and large that is fine, however, understanding what makes a good commercial coating isn't necessarily quality is important. In commercial coatings time is the most important thing. Commercial coatings are generally developed to reduce flat-pack time. So one of the most important things in a commercial setting is how quickly you can lay one freshly painted board on top of another freshly painted board.

    Brushing: This is related to the above. Since the market for commercial coatings is geared to reducing flat pack times, these coatings generally don't have the open times required to be brushed on. In other words, they tack up so fast that getting a quality coating from brushing is almost impossible. However, some manufacturers have developed extenders and still other coatings can be extended in various ways. There are some coatings that can be brushed on. I think Target coatings has a brushable commercial grade product and I am sure other companies have developed them also. However, because these are low viscosity products, they will always be harder to brush than spray.

    Safety: It is almost impossible to have an informed general discussion about safety. There are simply too many products with too many differences today to discuss products in general. Often people assume that 2-component polyurethanes are catalyzed coatings. Certainly any version of a catalyzed polyurethane is going to be dangerous... for a water based coating, you are adding a water reactive compound to a coating and applying it around humans who happen to be about 60% water. Traditionally, to get high solids a coating had to be catalyzed, however, today crosslinked coatings are getting close enough that many manufacturers are moving away from catalyzed coatings. Crosslinked coatings are not nearly as hazardous as catalyzed coatings. I don't actually use Target Coatings, so I am not shilling for them but here is an important line from the SDS on their Conversion Varnish... None Of The Ingredients In This Product Meet The Definition Of “Hazardous Chemical” Given In The OSHA Hazard Communication Regulation 29CFR 1910.120 (C) The entire coating is classified as an irritant rather than hazardous.

    Any time you aerosolize paint you are going to need a respirator, even if that is just a couple of cans of spray paint, unless you want a nice set of painted lungs that is. However, there is a difference between needing specialized safety equipment and a half mask with a set of chemical goggles from Home Depot. That is a distinction that many "pro's" regularly fail to make. If you are spraying a isocyanate catalyzed polyurethane, then you need a positive air pressure respirator. The ubiquitous pink hydrocarbon/voc filters do nothing for isocyanates. There is no acceptable filter for isocyanates, the only way to protect yourself is to use positive pressure to keep them away from your lungs. I have never seen a pro in even a mid-sized shop use a positive pressure system before. Most of these people would be better off stealing their grandmothers CPAP machine than they are with the respirators they are using.

    The good news is that there are many commercial grade coatings that only require NIOSH approved respirators.

    Paint booths: Paint booths do almost nothing to improve the quality of your coating. I spent more on my paint booth than some people spend on their house and certainly more than most spend on cars. If you turn off the air system it is just a big room. I often spray small things without turning the fans. All the fans really do is remove the aerosolized paint, you can achieve the same results with a hours on the internet, some box fans and some plastic. It really isn't that hard to create a negative pressure tent in a home.

    Spray systems: The learning curve on spraying paint is not nearly as long as people here pretend. If you are willing to spray some cardboard before and take your time really setting up your gun, then you can achieve decent results with a 3 or 4 stage turbine HVLP sprayer. Furthermore, these sprayers resale well and so there is very little investment even for a one time project. You can pick up a 4 stage Fuji Spray on Ebay right now for $750 or less, use it, clean it up, and sell it for about the same thing you bought it for.

    The difference between an experienced pro and a practiced first timer is not as great as people pretend. Certainly, an experienced pro who was really taking their time would produce better results, but time is money and most people laying down cabinet coatings are not interested in perfection.

    ---

    Maybe more later... I have to run now. Good luck.

    Rachel Garwood thanked bry911
  • Rachel Garwood
    Original Author
    last month

    I wish I could respond to each and every one of you separately to thank you for your time snd expertise. This thread has given me so much to think about!!


    Currently, I am leaning toward Envirolak for primer and topcoat since it seems to be possibly to have the best of both worlds (a professional finish with the flexibility of brushing/rolling as opposed to spraying).

  • bry911
    last month
    last modified: last month

    @Aglitter said, "in this thread we are discussing the most durable cabinet finishes available, and when spraying the conversion varnishes, the toxicity of the fumes requires not only the explosion-proof fan inside the low-dust paint booth mentioned above but also a supplied-air respirator.

    I noted a conversion varnish that has no toxicity and is no risk of explosion from fumes. There are several others, all are among the "most durable cabinet finishes available" and many require nothing other than NIOSH approved respirator.

    The coatings world has changed a massive amount in the last 20 years, and in the last ten years the number of non-catalyzed conversion varnishes has increased exponentially. In another ten years there is a solid chance that few catalyzed conversion varnishes will remain viable and possibly few catalyzed coatings.

    Please don't forget the supplied-air respirator for anything that releases isocyanates (two-part conversion varnishes) and a very high-level respirator mask for anything else."

    Two-part conversion varnishes are almost always catalyzed with an acid catalyst. Xylene is by far the most common. Very few two-part conversion varnishes would be catalyzed with isocyanates as that is a water reactive compound rather than acidic. Xylene and Toulene can both be filtered with a standard filter cartridge and don't need supplied air. Xylene is basically synthetic formaldehyde and any formaldehyde cartridge will work.

    Isocyanates do require a fresh air positive pressure system, but manufacturers are starting to move away from isocyanate catalysts. Milesi announced a year ago that they would stop using isocyanates in their two-part polyurethanes. Which really means they are moving to non-catalyzed coatings and are instead using crosslinkers rather than catalysts.

    ____

    ETA: Note: I would discourage consumers from using a traditional conversion varnish in their home. As U.S. conversion varnishes tend to off-gas xylene for a few months.

    Rachel Garwood thanked bry911
  • bry911
    last month

    @Aglitter - I think you have hit on my point... Loba 2k Supra is not a varnish, it is a polyurethane. Polyurethanes use plastic resins, varnishes use various resins and solvents but don't use plastic resins. Traditionally, varnish has a more natural look and good UV resistance, while polyurethanes were much more plasticky in appearance and offered more durability but less UV protection. Today those lines have blurred, there are plenty of polyurethanes that have great UV protection and don't appear plasticky, and in an attempt to separate themselves from the traditional biases against polyurethanes, they have marketed themselves as a varnish.

    When someone says post-catalyzed conversion varnish, most people think of a xylene or toluene catalyzed finish. These are basically just lacquers with high solid contents that need an acid kicker to crosslink the solids in order to get the strength required.

    This is why it is difficult to talk about safety in general terms because each product has minor differences that make blanket statements about finish types problematic.


    Several companies have or are developing bound isocyanate chains. This will remove the need for supplied air systems for isocyanate catalyzed coatings. In these coatings the isocyanates are only free after the coating has initially cured by evaporation. These can be properly filtered with a simple VOC filter.

    ---

    I don't think professionally applied products have the advantages over properly applied DIY products that you and some others seem to believe. Just because a professional is capable of doing a better job, it doesn't mean they will. Prep work sucks for everyone no matter how good you are at it and professionals often take shortcuts. In fact, there job is to create perceived value for customers rather than actual value. So a pro who is fast may be perceived as a better choice than a perfectionist who really takes the time to do the job right. I believe that most DIYers can produce comparable quality results if they are willing to dedicate the time and spend the money to do the job correctly.

    Rachel Garwood thanked bry911
  • bry911
    last month

    @Aglitter - Your perspective is great, however, I am not sure that your experience is indicative of the common experience for a DIY project.


    108 hours for 9 cabinets is an order of magnitude beyond what a DIY project should take. I would recommend budgeting four to five hours per cabinet for a small to medium sized kitchen and less for a larger kitchen.


    I am not trying to be rude and I am sure you have worked really hard on your project and I expect it has turned out amazing, but I am not sure the research you have done and the effort you have made are a great basis for advising others.

    --

    e.g. You say, "something like a Festool is very helpful to reduce the contamination on cabinetry surfaces during sanding between coats." - Festool is a company not a tool and I honestly don't know what you mean by that. Furthermore, there is really no reason to reduce contamination between coats. You are likely going to sand between coats and even if you are not, you are going to wipe down between coats.

    e.g. You note, "That is something that a professional usually has but would be a hassle for a homeowner to purchase and then try to re-sell after the work, just one of a variety of supplies that contributes to a quality finish." - This too seems like questionable advice. Good tools, such as Festool, resale a lot better than cheap tools. For example, a Festool sander will sell used for about 90% of the amount it was new and a few good sanders will save hours off your project. Get yourself two or three good sanders (used if you can find them) and you will reduce your time significantly and get most of your money back when you resale them.

  • bry911
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Just a few more comments as I have some time this morning

    Quality: Coating quality is substantially overblown. There were a lot of kitchens that lasted decades with oil based paint. There is lacquered furniture and dishware that still looks pretty amazing a couple of thousand years later. BM Advance or Cabinet Coat will hold up fine for many people. There are pro's out there spraying BM Advance who have excellent reviews and it is a terrible product for a pro to use. However, it is still good enough for most people to never know the difference between their cabinet coating and "the most durable cabinet finishes available."

    You likely don't have the best lot available in your area, your car is likely not the highest performance vehicle made, some of your clothes are probably off the rack rather than bespoke. In our lives we often accept suitable over optimal and we are generally fine with that...coatings are not an exception. Certainly get the best coating you can reasonably apply and do the best job you can, but your project isn't necessarily doomed to failure if you can't get the best coating available. Let's not forget that any quality in excess of what you need in your kitchen is wasted.

    Finally, every coating has problems. There is not a coating out there that is perfect. We are celebrating isocyanate catalyzed polyurethanes in this thread and largely ignoring the fact that water based polyurethanes in general can struggle with water soluble stains. Can you maybe think of something that is water soluble that might be problematic for kitchen cabinets? On a related note, my coffee is especially good today. Let's not let Conversion Varnish off the hook though as it can be susceptible to alcohol soluble stains, "in vino veritas."

    Tools and Equipment: When you DIY a project you are substituting your time for that of a contractor and you are typically doing so inefficiently. This means that you can often skip the tools that a contractor uses to save time, however, that isn't always good. Some of the tools a contractor might use to save time will also significantly decrease your time and some of the tools not only save time but improve quality.

    One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is mistaking any tool for a good tool. E.g. There is no comparison between a good sander and the big yellow brand from Home Depot. Two or three good sanders will drastically improve your project results while significantly reducing your time. I would go with Festool or Mirka. If you decide this is a one time thing for you offer them for sale at 85% of cost on a local swap site and someone will grab them quickly, or you can hold out for more or use an auction site.

    If you are going to spray, I recommend a Fuji spray 3 or 4 stage turbine HVLP sprayer.

    You can set up a decent spray environment with box fans, furnace filters, and plastic. It is a bit annoying to set up but will clear the air decently fast. You can look up the advantages of negative, positive, or neutral pressure. I would recommend just avoiding coatings that require supplied air systems. There are plenty of good coatings that will work fine with typical respirator and cartridge set up.

  • Debbie Downer
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Re "Coating quality is substantially overblown. " Yes, this! It seems so many get sick of their kitchen long before it reaches the end of its useable life, does a paint job really have to last more than 10-15 yrs? Would last even longer with a sanding and re-paint every couple of decades, as they used to do in the olden days with the oil based paint.

    My peeling thermofoil Ikea cab doors that I want to peel off and re-paint are only 20 yrs old but if I can do a good job with quality self-leveling paint rollered on and keep them out of the landfill another 10-15 years - why not?

    Speaking of oil based paint, thats what the old guy at my fav local independent paint store recommends. I used the Pratt & Lambert version of oil based alkyd for some antique cupboards that turned out beautifully -esthetically, the richness of color and exact visual quality of oil cant really be matched with any plastic paint IMHO! But for hard working kitchens - is there any consensus on which is more durable - an oil based alkyd vs. Advance or Cabinet Coat.

  • bry911
    last month
    last modified: last month

    @Aglitter - Can you please add spaces to your post? It is difficult to read walls of text.

    I am not understanding your point about opaque coatings...clear coats are a hundred times easier to apply than pigmented coatings, so I don't understand the point you are trying to make.

    Self leveling coatings are not gravity leveling. So while I understand that you have had difficulty with a product made for flooring, I am not sure that is going to be a meaningful addition to a discussion on coatings that are intended for cabinets.

    I know some people out there don't love Rubio Monocoat, but why on earth didn't you just use Rubio instead of all this work?