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  • Writer's pictureKatie

Kitchen Mini Reno - The Cabinet Door Failure

One Room Challenge - Week 4

The Cabinet Door Failure | Motor City Designworks | Detroit Interior Design | eDesign | Virtual Interior Design

Before we get into this week, I first want to make sure you have gotten the opportunity to check out Weeks 1-3 of this Kitchen Renovation so you can fully understand where the kitchen started, where I plan for it to go, and what progress has been made so far. Check out those posts here! And when you are done reading this week, head over to the One Room Challenge Blog to see all of the other amazing designers, diy-ers, and creators out there! My mind is blown every week with the amazing creativity and hard work going on around the world!

So this week was one I have been looking forward to, for a handful of reasons. This was the week I was going to start painting my cabinet doors. I was excited about this because 1. this will really transform the space to have the freshly painted cabinet doors go back on my cabinets 2. painting cabinet doors with a sprayer is something I have never done before so I was pumped to add another skill to my DIY arsenal and 3. (probably the most important) Jeremy said I couldn't do it and I should just pay someone to paint them. I will tell you, nothing fuels me like someone telling me I can't do something (you would think Jeremy would have learned this by now, but apparently not).

But, as you can see in the title, this week was such an epic failure. I'm crying a little bit typing this because I spent so much time and effort this week with almost nothing to show for it but a super bruised ego. In addition to telling me I shouldn't be spraying the cabinets myself, Jeremy also said he didn't want anything sprayed in our house. We have a tiny house with very little space in the basement and a garage packed to the brim with stuff. Plus the last time that he sprayed the cabinets with oil based paint, it got all over everything, so I understood.

So my mom said I could spray in her garage! Which was great... except she is in Indianapolis, and I am in Detroit. So I wanted to have everything ready to go once I got down there. I cleaned and sanded the doors at home and decided to prime and paint the backs of the doors so I only had to paint one side when I got down to Indy. I did this for a couple of reasons. I figured I would only have enough time to spray the fronts when I was in Indy, I wasn't as concerned about the inside of the doors being super smooth, and it takes this paint quite some time to cure, so I would see marks on the backs anyways if I painted them the day before.

So I packed up half of the doors/drawer fronts (the ones that will be navy blue) and the sprayer we used last time when Jeremy sprayed the doors with oil based paint and headed down. I have 3 clients down there that I have been working with so it also gave me a chance to work with them as well. You can see I had a decent amount of room to spray and nothing that would be a big deal if it got a little paint on it that wasn't covered up.

So once I had everything prepped and ready to go, thinned the primer with some Floetrol to help level out the paint which all of my research told me to do, I was ready to start spraying. The sprayer is a cup gun that attaches to my air compressor and after messing with the settings, gave Jeremy a pretty good result with the oil based paint 5 years ago. I was pumped to start and knock out these doors!

Excited to Start!  | Motor City Designworks | Detroit Interior Design | eDesign | Virtual Interior Design
Excited to Start!

I started spraying and they looked like crap. Orange peel is an understatement. Just blobs and drips. I got through 2 doors and just stopped. Ouch.

My dad has a Wagner Flexio sprayer that he uses for spraying interior doors and trim and such. I had already bought the detail finish nozzle attachment to try with this sprayer in case the first sprayer didn't work out. So I switched to this for the primer coat. It was really heavy and hard to move around with all my doors laying flat on the floor. The primer didn't seem to be laying down very well, but it is also primer so I figured I had to sand it down anyways but I didn't feel like that was off to a good start for my 2 coats of primer.

After the primer dried and giving everything a good sand, I was ready to start the color coat. I'll admit, I was nervous and could hear Jeremy's voice in the back of my head telling me I wasn't going to be able to spray these doors successfully, especially after the first gun was a bust and I really wasn't a fan of the Wagner. Since the primer did not work really well in the Wagner and it was so freaking heavy, I took a trip to Lowes to see if there was a different option.

I realized that the original spray gun I had was specifically for oil based paint and right next to it at Lowes was the latex paint version. Ah ha! Found the problem! So went back to the garage to spray my first color coat with my new sprayer. I played with the multiple settings (this one had even more settings to adjust than the oil based one because it was a siphon instead of gravity fed). After about 10 minutes of wasting paint, I started on the doors. And it was looking like crap again. The same lumpy looking orange peel as before. I was hoping they would smooth out when they dried so I kept going. Well they did not. They just looked like crap.

I gave the doors a light sand after they dried and figured I would try another coat with this sprayer and thin the paint more. I added more Floetrol hoping this would help level the paint out more with the next coat. Not really much luck. While they did look a little better, still not acceptable.

I was getting discouraged. I resanded the crap out of all of the doors smooth so I could try another solution. I was going to go back to the Wagner. At this point I had run through all of my paint as well. I went over to Sherwin Williams and they were out and said likely most stores were out of the gallon of Ultra Deep Base that I needed. I called every store within 20 miles of Indy and they all said they were out of the gallon.

I went back to the first SW store as they told me they had a few quarts in the Ultra Deep Base and I was desperate at this point. They were asking how much I thought I needed and I couldn't decide because it is really expensive to buy a bunch of quarts. That's when one of the gentlemen in the back said he had been saving a gallon for someone for several weeks but they hadn't been back in to get it and he was willing to mix it for me! My hero! I think I got the last gallon in Indy at the time!

Last Can in Indy! | Motor City Designworks | Detroit Interior Design | eDesign | Virtual Interior Design
Last Can in Indy!

I mixed up my new paint with the Floetrol and put in the Wagner sprayer to get going. My time left in Indy was getting short and I needed to get the blue doors done (keep in mind this is only half of my doors/drawer fronts). After bending over all of the doors on the ground and bumping into them in the previous coats, I figured this wasn't the most effective setup. So I decided to spray on at a time on my saw horses and move to the triangles after each was sprayed. This made the Wagner much easier to use and less heavy in my hand.

I sprayed my first set of doors. They were looking so much smoother but I started to see air bubbles throughout. I wasn't sure if the air bubbles would pop as they dried so I sprayed both sets of doors and let them dry. I came back later to check them out and see how they dried. Super smooth! But air bubbles everywhere. Very visible air bubbles. I was crushed. I wanted to leave the next morning (already a day later than planned). I really did NOT want to go back home and tell Jeremy he was right.

Air Bubbles | Motor City Designworks | Detroit Interior Design | eDesign | Virtual Interior Design
Air Bubbles

So I sanded down a couple of them the next morning and figured I would try those doors with the Wagner to see if I could get them without air bubbles. If they were air bubble free, I would sand the rest and keep going and leave them there to dry until I came back to do the white doors. I added more water/Floetrol to this mixture to see if the thickness was creating the bubbles. The weird thing is that I don't remember any air bubbles when I used this gun during the primer coat so I really didn't know what the cause was. I sprayed the first two doors and there were even more air bubbles than before.

I threw in the towel and decided I was packing everything up and going back home. I packed my car of all of my tools that I brought for painting and the other projects while I was in Indy, packed up all my doors, including the 2 wet doors (wish I would have taken a picture of this) and got on the road with my tail between my legs. I was coming back 5 days later after buying 2 new sprayers and an extra can of paint (that was more than half way gone at this point), with doors that were not really any further than they were when I left Michigan. Actually, the doors were now behind where they were when I came down to Indy, because now they needed to be fully sanded down (again).

Luckily when I got home Jeremy didn’t say “I told you so”. I spend the day giving the doors a really deep sanding to make them 100% smooth again. Defeated doesn’t even begin to describe how I was feeling, but sometimes this is how learning something new goes. Renovation isn’t always easy, especially when things aren’t going as planned. I was going to have to go back to the drawing board on the doors to figure out what to do next.

I wanted to feel like I actually accomplished SOMETHING this week, so I prepped, primed, and painted the island bases navy. One coat of primer over the old gray oil based paint and 3 coats of the new navy paint! Just as the last coat went up, Stella (my floofiest dog) decided to walk right up against it. Welcome to painting with 3 dogs.

 | Motor City Designworks | Detroit Interior Design | eDesign | Virtual Interior Design
Floofy Stella's fur on my Freshly Painted Island

While it was such a frustrating week that felt like I put in so much work and got so little done, I do feel like I learned a lot. I learned several things that didn‘t work to spray on the doors. I also learned that I can always sand the doors down and do it again if I fail. I also learned that it was a waste to paint the doors first because they got a light coat of primer from the sprayer so I just have to redo the backs. All so frustrating! I just really needed to come up with a new game plan for spraying which is the first thing I will be doing to kick off Week 5 because these doors have to get done asap!

What do you think about my super frustrating week? Will it be worth it in the end? I sure hope so!

Stay tuned for next week to see how I tackle these doors… again.

Happy designing + diy-ing!


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