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Painting Floating-Panel Doors

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  • Painting Floating-Panel Doors

    I'm in the midst of "phase 2" of some built-in bookshelves for our basement. We're painting the doors and face frame with white acrylic semi-gloss.

    I had heard a tip a while back to paint the door panel before assembling the door, so that if the wood shrinks, it won't show the raw wood around the edges. However, it sure would be easier to paint the doors when they're all assembled. We did "phase 1" and painted all the door pieces separately...it was rather time consuming to do all 12 doors this way. My wife (the "painting department" of our home ) would much rather paint them assembled.

    What do you all say? How critical is this? Maybe I can put the panels in the freezer before painting to shrink them down? (I'm half joking) Plus, I can always touch up the doors later on if needed.

  • #2
    Re: Painting Floating-Panel Doors

    Whenever I am building raised panel doors that will be painted I use MDF for the panels. MDF is more stable than using wood (also cheaper). I do not paint them before assembly. I use an oil based primer on them (oil based primer does not raise the grain like a latex will). After priming and sanding I run a small bead of latex caulk around the panel and force it into the seam and remove all excess and then just paint.
    SSG, U.S. Army
    Retired
    K.I.S.S., R.T.F.M.

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    • #3
      Re: Painting Floating-Panel Doors

      Rather than paint the whole panel separately, just wipe or brush on a stripe at the edge of the panel using the same color as the final finish. A half inch wide is all you need, and you won't notice any lines when the contraction occurs.

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      • #4
        Re: Painting Floating-Panel Doors

        Originally posted by TOD View Post
        Whenever I am building raised panel doors that will be painted I use MDF for the panels. MDF is more stable than using wood (also cheaper). I do not paint them before assembly. I use an oil based primer on them (oil based primer does not raise the grain like a latex will). After priming and sanding I run a small bead of latex caulk around the panel and force it into the seam and remove all excess and then just paint.

        Absolutely right on!

        I go one step further when i'm going to paint doors. I glue in the panel. MDF will not swell or shrink like "real wood" will. I've also built many paint grade raised panel doors with "real wood panels" and glue them in solid too. Once painted, the door is basically permanently sealed and will not/should not be suspectable to moisture/expansion problems. I normally use lacquer under coater for my base coats, then either a SG latex or custom color lacquer for my top coats. I spray everything.

        Mark
        Congratulations to Mr. "the sky is falling" Al Gore, nominated the new Village Idiot!

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        • #5
          Re: Painting Floating-Panel Doors

          Well, I think my final solution will be to use rubber "space balls" for the doors to keep the panels centered. I think I'll go ahead and assemble them prior to painting. These are sort of semi-utility cabinets, in a darkish area of the basement, so a perfect paint job is not critical. I'll let y'all know how they look after it gets cold this winter.

          Thanks for the input.

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          • #6
            Re: Painting Floating-Panel Doors

            It's not about cold..........it's the dryness in the air. It is generally more of a factor in the winter because of heating. Some types of heat make more of a difference than others and the part of the country where you live may make an even bigger difference. Real wood shrinks as it dries and swells back up when the humidity climbs, assuming that it does. (depending on where you live)

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            • #7
              Re: Painting Floating-Panel Doors

              Mark,
              When you're ready to give some finishing lessons, I'm ready to take them. I can build a great piece, but I'm very adept at turning it into an average piece when I apply finish!
              I'm only about 4 hours away!
              Jack
              ‎"I've never let my schooling interfere with my education" -Mark Twain

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              • #8
                Re: Painting Floating-Panel Doors

                Hi Jack. Next time you feel like a road trip, give me a call! I make a mean BBQ too! LOL

                My experience and technics have come from many years of trial and error, and a few good teachers too.

                I learned years ago that spraying is the only way to get a real nice smooth finish. I"ve tried brushing and it just won't cut it. I also learned that drying time can make or break a job. Not in the actual money/time but in how long is my beautiful project going to sit there wet collecting dust! LOL

                I like lacquer because it's fast. It's usually skinned over in about 5 minutes and recoatable (is that a real word?) in 15, so any dust is minimal and after that, it just won't stick. I used to use oil poly but the drying time was a killer on a large job. Plus, one coat a tad too heavy and the sags start. Lacquers drying time makes sags a little less likely.

                I used to use a conventional cup gun and my compressor. For small jobs, I still do. I then bought an $800 HVLP system. While it was a little faster, the air got so hot that the lacquer was dry before it hit the wood! And it was noisey and cumbersom in tight places.

                I came across a little Campbel Hausfeild airless at an auction and it was clean and seemed to work, so I took a chance. I paid a hundred bucks for it. That was probably 10 years ago! It's still working perfectly. I picked up a cheapo flat tip airless gun at HD and it too worked all these years. I just bought a new Titan XL80 reversible tip gun for another hundred. For me, the airless is the best for the money and speed. Two hundred bucks for 10 years of spraying is pretty good in my book.

                Mark
                Congratulations to Mr. "the sky is falling" Al Gore, nominated the new Village Idiot!

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