Our process first involves the customer and having them ensure all items are as clean as possible from any visible signs of grease or contaminants, we ask this in order to ensure the wood has had time to dry prior to respraying. It is possible water will get into the open grain or any details like grooving or joints. Wood finishes need to be dry in order to get the best primer/sealer bond. Trying to clean and finish in one day can lead to adhesion problems when water remains in the wood pores or the seams along the frame & panel portion of doors. We want to ensure a seamless customer experience as well as completing the best job possible. Years of experience have led us to the best possible process.
We are however NOT able to apply lacquer over some finishes with results that will last and we don't want these people to waste their money so we turn down some quotes for these reasons.
We first complete a finish sanding (see quote details above) to remove any bumps or issues like cracking or flaking in the old finish, feathering out any blemishes in the old finish is crucial to the appearance or final finish.
Here's where our process is unique, we then using one of several possible solvents/conditioners deepen the clean, soften the old finish and open the pores of the old finish.
This is a crucial step (regardless of what topcoat you intend on using) for any open grain, end grain or any grooves or profiles where sanding is difficult if not impossible, like the area where the inside door panel is inserted into the frame & most importantly the open grain patterns found on Oak.
Once this has been completed we apply a primer/sealer. A sealer is a unique part of our process. Your original finish is likely a lacquer product, older lacquer finishes are shellac based and our sealer and the old finish bond together very well after we have softened the old finish. This also seals the natural colour of the wood from bleeding through the new finish.
We then complete a finish sanding of the primer/sealer by hand and apply the waterborne Titanium based Acrylic Urethane in the colour(s) of your choice.
LACQUER vs PAINT vs Acrylic Urethane
The main difference between lacquers & paints are the solvents used.
Lacquer's & Urethanes can be dissolved by the same solvent used to manufacture the product, paints can not be dissolved once dried & cured. Paints become hard & brittle over time and will not accommodate the wood movement as well as a lacquer/urethane product, this is why lacquer is the standard wood finish for cabinet builders today and for the last 60 or so years.
IN HOME WORK
In most cases we schedule the in Home portion (when the DIY version is not used by a customer) during the week we have your cabinet doors in our shop. This process usually takes 1 long day however depending on the kitchen size and detail it may take 2 days to complete by us. Once the in home portion has been completed whether by hand using the proper tools or by spraying (our method varies again based on the wood type, detail and size of the kitchen, we almost always do Oak by hand) we will return 2 or 3 days later and bring back the completed doors, hanging them back on the hinges.
We also leave a touch up bottle of your colour selection in the event that it gets damaged down the road.
The Acrylic Urethane fully cures over a 30 day period based on room temperature & 40% humidity, it can take longer when these conditions vary. This does not mean you can't use your kitchen, the water borne lacquers flash off the solvent in 6-8 hours under normal conditions, it is touch dry in about 30 minutes. We just need you to be gentle until the full cure takes place.
The Acrylic Urethane is a self leveling product that will follow or flow out on the surface it is applied to.
When rolled or sprayed it at first appears to have an orange peel effect, as the product flows out it will begin to become as smooth as the surface below allows for. Not all woods are equal in there smoothness so Maple will look smoother then say Oak will. The Acrylic Urethane will flow out over any grain patterns, dings or dents and follow their shape, they do NOT fill in ding, dents or deep grain patterns like on Oak. There is a small amount of filling that takes place it however does not completely fill in Oak grain patterns.
All wood finishing products are made with guidelines for application and have a recommended film thickness that should be used. Wood finishing products are generally about 5-6 mill in thickness when dried, anything more can and does cause problems whether minor in scale or not.
Too thick a film thickness of urethane will not move with the wood itself and very likely begin to flake off at or near wood joints or end grain patterns. It is at the joints and end grain patterns where the most movement occurs in the wood itself based on humidity and temperature in the area of the kitchen.