Painting a Kitchen with Chalk Paint™ & Soft Wax

At Kathie Jordan Design and ArtHaus150, we have the honour and privilege of being an Annie Sloan Stockist providing her incredible Chalk Paint™ brand of paint to so many happy customers since 2012.  We can't say enough how this paint has transformed so many people's homes and how satisified they are after completing their project, whether it's an old desk or sideboard that they inherited from their grandparents, giving the stairs and railing a new brighter look, painting your leather/suede shoes, or giving their kitchen that needed facelift from the Honey Oak Cabinets that were installed in their home in the 1980's or 1990's.  It's the latter application that we want to address in this blog - painting with Chalk Paint™ and Soft Wax for your kitchen cabinets.

Over the past 5 years, we have painted numerous kitchens for our customers, professional painters use Chalk Paint™ for their customer's kitchens, and many customers have tackled the project themselves.  We get numerous inquiries from our loyal customer base regarding the durability and ease of application if they want to use Chalk Paint™ on their kitchen cabinets.  Many of our customers or potential new customers will certainly do their homework and research online to garner as much information as they can before they tackle painting their kitchen cabinets.  When they feel they've done their research, they come into see us with further questions and to confirm their information.  

Let's Dispell Some Misinformation...

Recently, a blog from another decorative paint brand was brought to our attention.  We read this blog with intrigue and some bewilderment about some of the information that was conveyed about the preparation that's required, cost to do the project, and the durability of using the Soft Wax on kitchen cabinets as the protective coat.  Let's look at this a little deeper and clarify any confusion.

Preparation

Preparation before painting anything with "regular paint", which normally involves stripping, sanding, priming, painting and sealing, is usually the detractor for the average DIY person not to go ahead with their painting project.  The decorative paint manufacturer in the blog - let's call it XYZ Paint for simplicity - initially says that using XYZ Paint can transform your kitchen in as few as only 2 steps and under $150.00 - we'll address the cost a little further on.  Their website goes on to state that little or no preparation is needed before you paint, other than cleaning it very well.  However, they do go into more detail with preparation and that this it is a very important step in the process, which we completely agree.  Although, we were a little confused as they say you will either need to sand to remove any sheen in order to get proper adhesion or you can use a brush-on adhesion product (at an extra cost and another step) in order to have the paint adhere to the surface you're painting if it's had varnish or verathane used on it or if it's melamine or a laminate - that covers pretty much every kitchen ever made  

In looking further into this blog, the owners had to sand, prime (I'm assuming this is applying the adhesion product), paint, and use a topcoat sealer to complete their kitchen project as recommended by the manufacturer for a total of 4 steps.  Further on in the blog, they state that if you have dark cabinets and you're going to a light colour, that you should use a "blocker" product before painting in order to get better coverage...this would be step #5 and additional cost.  So, it seems for painting kitchen cabinets, that there is lot more preparation and additional cost required before painting using XYZ Paint than initially conveyed.

Annie Sloan's Paint has removed the need for many of the preparation steps so it's not going to be the daunting task you thought it was going to be.  You simply only need to clean the cabinets and ensure they are free from grease.  You do not need to strip, sand, prime, or apply any sort of adhesion before painting.  Even if they are laminate or melamine, other than cleaning, no prep is required.  The only difference if you're painting melamine, we recommend you wait a day before applying your second coat of paint so that the paint has some time to set up and grab onto the surface.  Some wood may have bleed-through tendencies where you would need to use a clear shellac to seal only where the bleeding occurs as you would with any paint.  Otherwise, any other cabinets, even if they have a sheen, you paint as you would any other furniture project when using Chalk Paint™.

Painting & Coverage

Coverage with both Chalk Paint™ and XYZ Paint have the same properties.  Chalk Paint™ will cover 150 square feet per quart and XYZ Paint states 75 Square Feet per pint which equates to the same. Both brands normally will require 2 coats of paint.  With Annie Sloan's Pure White, it will normally take a little more than 2 coats to cover as there is no pigment in Pure White.  We suggest laying down a base coat of Old White first, then the Pure White will cover much easier.  You'll still use the same amount of paint this way as you would with any other colour.

One significant difference in Chalk Paint™ as compared to XYZ Paint and the other brands, is that Chalk Paint™ is a water-based paint and when used with the Soft Wax, it will allow the transfer of air and moisture through the paint, therefore it won't crack or peel.  With acrylic or latex based paints, they will seal the surface therefore not allowing any air or moisture transfer which is normally the cause for peeling or cracking.

Additionally, Chalk Paint™ is very forgiving and easy to fix if you were to get a scratch on the surface.  Simply paint over the scratch - no need to remove any of the previously waxed surface - with Chalk Paint™ and apply the Soft Wax again and the scratch will be fixed.  With other paints. lacquered, or sprayed surfaces, you would need to have the entire surface painted again in order to fix the scratch.  

Applying a Protective Coating - Annie Sloan's Soft Wax vs. a Topcoat Sealer

On XYZ Paint's blog, they tell us that their paint has a built-in topcoat so you don't need to add anything over top of the paint.  However, in the next sentence, they do recommend for kitchens that you should use their Topcoat for added durability - another added cost to the project.  They then go on to say that they would not recommend a wax finish in a kitchen due to heat, which will breakdown the wax and that it will be difficult to clean.  This couldn't be further from the truth!  Exactly how hot is it getting in the kitchen that it is melting the wax and breaking it down?

As mentioned earlier, we have painted numerous kitchens in addition to all of our customers who have taken on the project themselves.  Not once has anyone come to us and said that the wax is melting or breaking down in their kitchen, simply because it doesn't occur.  This is one of the biggest myths about using the wax as the protective coat.  Wax is incredibly durable and very forgiving if touch-ups need to be done in the future.  The more time that passes, the stronger and more durable the wax becomes.  We normally recommend for kitchens that you apply 2 coats of wax and possibly a third around the handles and high traffic areas.  As for clean up, a damp cloth is all that's needed.   The wax will not come off, don't worry!  

Applying wax as the topcoat is very easy to do and is not the daunting task that some may make it out to be.  The second coat will go even faster as the wax doesn't have to absorb into the paint again.  The Soft Wax will provide the beautiful lustre and finish that Interior Decorators are seeking and provides the warmth and authenticity of a hand painted piece.  Once the Soft Wax has been applied and finished, it's ready for use.  It does take up to 21 days for it to cure, so treat it with love for the cure time period...and it's food safe!

Ok...How much will it cost to paint my kitchen?

In the blog, XYZ Paint states that you can get a whole new look for under $150.00.  We're not quite sure what size of kitchen can be painted for $150.00 but any kitchen we've done normally takes a little more than this amount - but not much if you use Annie Sloan's Paint and Soft Wax.

We did some research through XYZ Paint Retailers to see what it would cost to do the kitchen they have shown in their blog.  We would consider this kitchen to be an average sized kitchen and determined by counting the number of cabinets and from experience know that cabinets are mostly all standard sizes.  We calculated that there would be just under 400 square feet of cabinets to paint including the island.  Given the coverage per pint of paint of 75 Square Feet, you would need to purchase 6 pints of paint which would be $132.00 plus HST.  But wait!  They have also recommended that you use their adhesion product before you paint and their topcoat product after you paint where each 500ml container will cover 75 Square Feet, therefore needing 6 of each of these products.  In reviewing their Retailers online shops, they are all similar in price, so the project would cost as follows:

  • 6 - Pints of Paint @ $22.00 per Pint = $132.00
  • 6 - 500ml containers of adhesion @ $18.00 each = $108.00
  • 6 - 500ml containers of topcoat @ $18.00 each = $108.00
  • Subtotal = $348.00
  • HST = $45.24
  • Total = $394.24

Using Annie Sloan's Chalk Paint™ and Soft Wax the cost would be as follows:

  • 3 - Quarts of Chalk Paint™ @ $42.95 per quart = $128.85
  • 2 - 500ml tins of Soft Wax @ $31.95 per tin = $63.90
  • Subtotal = $192.75
  • HST = $25.06
  • Total = $217.81
  • Difference from XYZ Paint = -$176.43

XYZ Paint

Sanding Recommended for shiny surfaces, melamine & laminate

Yes

Recommended

Recommended

Up to 12 Hours

Acrylic

No

Typically 2

4 - 12 Hours

Recommended

up to 21 Days

Steps/Info for Painting Kitchen

Sanding Required

Clean Before Painting Kitchen

Blocker Required for Light Colours

Adhesion Product Required

Adhesion Dry Time

Type of Paint

Allows Transfer of Air/Moisture

# of Coats of Paint

Paint Drying Time

Top Coat

Cure Time

Chalk Paint™

No

Yes

No

No

N/A

Water Based

Yes

Typically 2

Approx. 40 minutes

Yes - Soft Wax

up to 21 Days

Painting the kitchen in our Project House

For those of you who follow us on FaceBook and Instagram, know that we are completing a pretty extensive makeover of our Project House.  We have used as much recycled, reused, and auction and second-hand store finds as we could possibly use.  The kitchen cabinets were no exception.  Even though they are brand new cabinets, we acquired them at an auction.  These cabinets are faced with solid cherry doors with plywood and veneers used on the facing and the shelving which have a very durable and very smooth verathane finish. 

Other than cleaning them with a degreaser, no other preparation was required before tackling the painting and waxing.  No sanding to remove sheen or other adhesion products are required.  We used a combination of 1/2 Old White and 1/2 Pure White Chalk Paint™ to give them a fresh new look that really brightens up the space.  We also did some distressing back to the wood to give them a very chic look.  Around the cabinet above the Stove, we had our cabinet maker build-in the range hood where he used MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard) and he created a pair of corbels made from pine to make this look more like a piece of furniture....he did an outstanding job...thanks Dave Bisch!

Painting required 2 coats for proper coverage and then we used 2 coats of Annie Sloan's Soft White Wax to keep the cabinets nice and bright.  No knobs or handles came with the kitchen so a trip to W-W Liquidators in Kitchener was a necessary and always entertaining venture.  For the island, this was another second-hand store find.  It was a dark stained wood which we painted with Graphite Chalk Paint™ and used Soft Black Wax to make it very rich looking.  The top for the island is a piece of Bowling Alley Floor where if you look closely, you can see the foul line on the left-hand side of the island.  We had to tend to the cut edge of Bowling Alley Floor as after it was cut, it needed to be finished.  No problem....we simply applied a bit of Soft Dark Wax and it matched perfectly....watch for this little diddy on our YouTube channel.

All-in-all, the kitchen is the showpiece for the home and we couldn't be more thrilled with how it turned out.  Chalk Paint™ and the Soft Wax played a big role in the whole look of the kitchen and will stand up for years to come.  Be sure to give us a call at (519) 772-6937 if it's time to give your kitchen a makeover!

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