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Use Oil Based Primer on Old Paint

When you are not sure what a cabinet is painted with, always go with oil based primer. Then you are set to use oil or water paint on top. Think of it this way; if you pour oil and water together, the oil just lays on top. It doesn't mix.


The same applies to paint, the oil base paint will just lay there and will not mix or adhere to water base paint or primer and will peel. Whereas oil base primer makes an agreeable base for either!

I always use oil base primer. Then I can use latex paint if I need. I much prefer oil base paint even if the clean up is a bit messier, it fills cracks and small holes plus it otherwise covers much better. My favorite brand of paint is Kilz including their primer. For polyurethane, Minwax indoor/outdoor satin is by far my favorite. I use it to put a water proof finish on all table lamps, nightstands and such when we purchase them.

Take a rag with stain that matches the wood, followed by a quick sanding with 00 steel wool, wipe off with a slightly damp rag and finish with a couple of coats of Minwax Polyurethene Satin finish on a thrift store purchase and be amazed at what it does.


By Ann Winberg from Loup City, NE

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March 30, 20100 found this helpful

A good way to determine if paint is water-based or oil-based is to put some rubbing alcohol on a rag and rub a small area. If the paint comes off, it is water-based. If it doesn't, it is oil-based.

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