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Q: On interior projects, how do you decide between spraying or brushing cabinets and trim?
A: Answer courtesy of Paul Schmidt of Schmidt & Co. Painting and Decorating in Chicago: The first and most important consideration is to consult with your client right up front to clarify their expectations, for both the process and level of household impact. This way you can determine the look and feel of the finish they want.
Typically, if a trim or cabinet substrate has not been previously painted by brush, I recommend sprayed finishes. It is my personal and professional preference, and I do keep that in mind as I enter the discussion with clients. If they want the brushed look, that is fine. I listen to their needs and we jointly decide on specifications for process and product.
Believe it or not, some designers and homeowners do prefer a brushed finish, so it is important to be able to do that at a high level. As a craftsman, that was initially a harsh realization for me on new cabinets or trim, but now I can appreciate it.
Overall, 90% of the new trim and cabinets we paint will be sprayed and 10% brushed. On trim and cabinet repaint jobs, we brush them about 99% of the time. It is difficult to completely remove existing brush marks; very few clients want to invest in changing the overall “look” from brushed to perfectly sprayed.
The substrate being finished determines which primers and paints we use. Sometimes sprayed cabinet finishing products will be more expensive because we can take advantage of the opportunity to use finishes that are designed to be sprayed and produce a harder more durable finish. Overall, sprayed finishes are pricier to deliver. While the surface prep is pretty much the same, there is much more surface protection to do when preparing to spray. So, these are all factors that come into consideration when I plan these projects with clients.