How to paint over lacquer for cabinets and furniture

Painting over lacquer on cabinets and furniture can seem daunting, but it’s a breeze once you know the tricks. Are you tired of the same old look of your lacquered cabinets and furniture? Please give them a fresh lease on life with a simple coat of paint! It might seem daunting, but it’s a breeze with the right steps and materials.

In this article, we’ll share professional techniques to paint over lacquer easily. Say goodbye to the monotonous appearance of your lacquered pieces and give them a fresh and revitalized look.

Lacquer paint for cabinets and furniture

Painting over lacquer cabinets can give your home a fresh and renewed look. If you’re thinking of updating your cabinets with a new coat of paint, it’s important to know that lacquered cabinets require a special approach to get a professional finish. Here are some simple steps to guide you through the process.

Materials You’ll Need:

  • Lacquer in the color of your choice
  • Primer
  • Roller or mini roller
  • Brush
  • Sandpaper (or an electric sander)
  • A clean cloth
  • Floor protectors (such as a blanket or newspaper)

Step 1: Sanding

Start by sanding the surface to remove any impurities and make it as smooth as possible. Use sandpaper with a grit of 50 to remove old paint, 80 to smooth the surface, 120 to remove cutting residue, 180 for a fine finish, and 250 for delicate details. Sand along the wood’s natural grain, and don’t forget to remove any remaining debris.

Step 2: Apply the primer coat

Let the primer dry before applying the lacquer. Apply the primer with a roller for the larger surface areas and a brush for the smaller or harder-to-reach spaces.

Step 3: Lacquer

Once the primer is dry, it’s time to lacquer the surface. Start with the corners and hard-to-reach areas, and then work your way to the larger surface areas with a roller. Let each coat dry completely before applying the next, and sand gently between coats.

Tips for a Perfect Finish:

  • Apply at least two coats of lacquer for the best result.
  • Sand gently between coats.
  • Alternate the direction of each coat (horizontally for one coat and vertically for the next).
  • Apply each coat thinly and carefully.
  • Hang the door horizontally, if possible, when applying the lacquer.
  • Consider using a spray gun for an even better result.
  • Patience is key! Don’t rush the process; take your time, and be careful.

Lacquer is flexible and can handle the expanding and contracting of wood surfaces, ensuring your furniture looks as good as new for longer.

Lacquer is a lot thinner than paint. So, instead of using a brush or roller, it’s almost always sprayed on for a smoother, more even finish that dries quickly.

Painting over lacquer cabinets is a simple process that requires a bit of care and attention to detail to get a professional finish. With the right materials and a step-by-step approach, you’ll be ready to give your home a fresh and renewed look.

How to paint over lacquer without sanding

Painting over lacquer can be tricky, but with these tips, you’ll be able to do it without sanding in no time!

First, let’s talk about oil-based paint. If you’re going this route, all you need to do is apply an oil-based primer before you paint. This will give you a smooth surface, and your new coat of paint will stick like glue.

If you use mineral paint, you can skip sanding altogether. That’s because mineral paint is a self-leveling finish that can stick to anything, even glossy and textured surfaces. Plus, it comes with its topcoat, so you don’t have to worry about your paint job getting ruined by the elements.

Now, let’s talk about water-based paints. If you’re using this type of paint, you’ll need to sand the lacquer before you paint. The reason for this is simple: lacquer has a glossy finish, and water-based paint won’t stick without some prep work.

Sanding is all about removing the glossy top layer of the sealant. This layer keeps moisture (water or oil) from seeping into the finish or material underneath. And since water- or oil-based paints can’t penetrate the topcoat, they won’t stick well without sanding.

But don’t worry, sanding won’t leave you with a mess. Sanding the glossy topcoat helps the paint stick better by creating ridges and scratch marks to grip. So, even though sanding can be a hassle, it’s worth it for a better paint job.

You can skip sanding using oil-based paint or mineral paint. But if you’re using water-based paint, you’ll need to sand the lacquer first to make sure your paint sticks. And remember, sanding might be a pain, but it pays off in the end!

How to paint high gloss lacquered furniture

Painting high-gloss lacquered furniture is a task that requires some planning and preparation. Both enamel paint and lacquer can give you a glossy finish, but lacquer tends to be thicker and more durable.

However, lacquer may take several coats to get the perfect finish, but once it’s done, your kitchen cabinets or furniture will look seamless and smooth.

Now, here’s the thing – if your high gloss lacquered furniture is in great condition, you might not need to strip or sand it completely. But, to be safe, I highly recommend giving it a good sanding. You see, lacquer has a super smooth finish that doesn’t grip well, so applying a new layer of paint directly on it can be risky.

Some might tell you that you can paint over lacquer with multi-surface enamel paint, but that’s not the best idea. If you try it, be prepared to apply several coats and wait for each coat to dry completely. But even if you do everything right, your paint could flake off with even a little tap.

Chalk paint is another option, but you still need to give it a final coat of wax or acrylic varnish. So, it’s not worth the hassle.

My advice? Don’t take chances – give your furniture a good sanding and apply an SUV primer in either white or black (depending on the color you want to end up with). Then, please give it a few coats of multi-surface enamel paint. This way, you’ll have a smooth, glossy finish that will last for years!

What finish can be applied over lacquer?

So, you’re wondering if you can put another finish over lacquer? It’s possible but not always recommended. Some big players in the game, like Minwax and Sherwin Williams, say not to do it. And while you might not run into problems with sanding, I wouldn’t risk it on a big project.

But if you’re daring and want to give it a go, here’s what you need to know.

First things first, make sure the lacquer is fully cured. This could take weeks or even months, so don’t be a rush job and be patient. Once it’s good to go, please give it a good cleaning and a light sanding to help the new finish stick better.

Now, what kind of finish can you put over lacquer? You’ve got options like varnish, polyurethane, or paint. Varnish can enhance the wood’s natural beauty, but it can become yellow over time.

Polyurethane is tough and water-resistant but can be tricky to apply. And paint can change the color and add protection, but it’ll cover up the natural beauty of the wood. So, pick the one that works best for you.

Remember, you can’t just slap on a new finish without proper preparation. But if you do it right, you can have a stunning result. So, go ahead and give it a shot!

Types of Lacquer Paint

When shopping for lacquer, you have several options to choose from. Let’s examine some of the most common types:

Nitrocellulose Lacquer

This classic lacquer is still widely used, particularly for musical instruments and wooden products. However, it can be temperamental, sensitive to heat and solvents, and may become yellow over time. Additionally, it’s flammable and toxic, so it’s best left to the experts.

Acrylic Lacquer

Developed in the 1950s for automobiles, this lacquer dries quickly and won’t be yellow, making it a good option for light-colored wood.

Catalyzed Lacquer

If you’re looking for something more durable, consider catalyzed lacquer. There are two options: pre-catalyzed and post-catalyzed. The pre-catalyzed lacquer is ready to use, while the post-catalyzed lacquer requires mixing two parts. People like this option because the chemical reaction makes the finish incredibly tough.

Water-based Lacquer

This lacquer is becoming increasingly popular for refinishing kitchen cabinets due to its eco-friendliness and resistance to scratches. It doesn’t contain toxic chemicals.

What types of paint can go over lacquer?

So, you’re looking to paint over lacquer and wondering what paint to use and what kind of paint will stick to lacquer? Don’t worry, and a few top choices will work great! Let’s take a closer look.

Chalk paint.

This type of paint is perfect if you’re after an antique or vintage look. It’s super easy to use and dries quickly, usually in less than 30 minutes. Plus, it sticks to any surface and produces a dry matte finish. But, be warned, it’s not the most durable option, so it’s best to avoid using it in high-traffic areas. And, don’t forget, it needs to be sealed.

Mineral paint

This type of paint is a durable finish and is great because you don’t need to sand or prime it before applying it. It’s self-leveling, so it’s super easy to apply and produces a smooth finish. It dries quickly because it’s water-based and has a built-in top coat, so you don’t need to worry about adding one after. But the downside is that it can be pricey.

Enamel paint

If you’re after a glossy finish, this is the perfect choice for you. Enamel is super durable and water-resistant, and it’s easy to apply. The best type to use is either spray or acrylic enamel. However, the downside is that it’s oil-based, making it harder to clean and maintain. And, once it dries, it’s hard and can be difficult to shape or distress.

Do you need a primer for lacquer?

When working on a painting project, it’s crucial to use a primer and lacquer beforehand. Using an enamel primer with lacquer paint is a great option.

The enamel primer creates an even and consistent surface for the lacquer to stick to, ensuring a durable and long-lasting finish. Just follow the instructions on both the primer and lacquer to ensure a professional-looking result without any imperfections.

There’s a special lacquer primer surfacer for those working on car bodywork. It’s used to cover and fill any imperfections on the surface. This primer fills in scratches, dents, and chips while creating a strong base for the new paint to adhere to.

The lacquer primer is also great for protecting against corrosion and other hazards and is usually the last step in the primer process before painting.

Multiple layers make it perfect for heavier bodywork and high-temperature paint jobs. So, whether you’re working on a painting project or car bodywork, primer and lacquer are a must.

Final thought

Lacquer paints provide a glossy finish and enhance furniture and decor details but require careful planning and effort. It’s important to consider the painted surface and be aware of potential health concerns.

To get the best results, choose a color that complements the part of the house being painted, or try a DIY project by painting over lacquered items.