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Thread: finish/top coat on oil base paint

  1. #1

    finish/top coat on oil base paint

    I have been seraching for a good durable solution for a protective finish on my new cabinet doors. I have just completed them and painted white with Benjamin Moore Oil-base. I tried a test of poly and found the yellowing unacceptable. I also tried Minwax spray lacquer. Worked great and was crystal clear. Only problem is that a few of the pieces started peeling after I applied the finish. Is there any really good readily available clear finish that I can use to protect a painted wood surface?


  2. #2
    The lacquer approach is not necessarily a bad idea, except that you must isolate the oil finish from the lacquer going over top of it. The reason is the solvents in lacquer will more than likely dissolve the underlying finish (which probably explains the peeling you saw), destroying its ability to adhere. You need to either use a lacquer-type sealer that is designed for an oil-base over the oil finish and then use the lacquer, or use a white de-waxed shellac as a sealer coat. Thinned lacquer may work as well as a sealer coat.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Mt. Pleasant, MI
    You need a seal coat.

    Zinseer sealcoat is a dewaxed shellac that will work. Flake shellac will work also. After that coat, scuff and spray whatever top coat you choose.

    I assume you are using polycrylic which isn't a bad finish but there are better ones available. Although the doors of a kitchen really don't take that much abuse so I assume it would work fine.

    I expect the peeling you were getting was from the top coat not adhering to the oil base under coat. I don't do many painted finishes but is a clear top coat necessary? There are a couple paint pros here that will be able to answer that. Hint hint.

    For best results, try not to do anything stupid.

    Si vis pacem, para bellum - Vegetius De Rei Militari III (paraphrased)

    "So this is how liberty dies...with thunderous applause." - Padmé Amidala "Star Wars III: The Revenge of the Sith"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Shoreline, CT
    I'm not a pro, but the oil based enamel is at least as durable as a clear coat over it would be. It is more impervious to household chemicals than any waterborne acyrlic or nitrocellulose lacquer would be, for example.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    What Steve said. Top coating the oil based enamel is likely just and extra cost item with very little benefit.

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Do your kitchen cabinet door have handles (metal or other material) to grab or do they have fingerholes?

    It took about 10-12 years but my pickled oak kitchen cabinets door with finger pulls show significant wear/peeling where one's fingers touch the wood.
    Wood: a fickle medium....

    Did you know SMC is user supported? Please help.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Southport, NC
    To restate what Steve and Jim have said, putting a clear coat over an oil based enamel paint is redundant. Oil based paint is nothing more than oil based varnish with pigment added. If you want additional protection, put on another coat of paint.

    Lacquer based products will interact badly with oil based paint that has not fully cured. While I recommend never putting lacquer over oil based finish, you must wait at least 3-4 months to ensure that the oil based finish is fully cured if you are going to do it. Putting lacquer over oil based enamel will actually reduce the durability of the finish. Lacquer is very hard which means it scratches more easily than oil based paint or varnish finishes.

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