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I'm going to paint my MDF kitchen cabinet doors and want a professional finish.

I'm testing on some MDF offcuts to perfect the finish. I have used a paint sprayer using Dulux satinwood, finish does look fairly even however you can still feel a roughness and little bumps in it when you feel it.

I have created a dust free spray booth using plastic sheeting. How can I improve this further? I have got a better result using a spray can but that's a very expensive option for a whole kitchen.

Is Dulux paint suitable for a sprayer?

Are there paints that are better for cabinet doors?

  • What kind of sprayer are you using? Airless or HVLP? The paint you're using appears to be water-based, but is it a water-borne alkyd type or a normal latex? For durability and transferring details I'd suggest not using a latex paint. Either way, a water-based product will cause issues with raw MDF. Either use an oil or shellac based primer first or plan on sanding back after your first coat. The second coat should not cause as many issues as the MDF will now be "sealed". – SaSSafraS1232 Jan 9 at 23:42
  • @SaSSafraS1232 the sprayer is is a hvlp. I'm not sure on the paint type, not sure how to find out. All I know is it is dulux water based satinwood. I have sealed the MDF with a shellac primer, sanded back and given 3 spray coats sanding between each layer. – BeginnerDBADan Jan 9 at 23:54
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    Ok, that's very good information. That definitely should have been included in the original question. – SaSSafraS1232 Jan 10 at 0:52
  • Some texture is almost guaranteed when spraying, even with very high-end paint and the most expensive spray equipment in the world slight texture is possible. There are ways to improve the inherent texture from the paint/process (diluting the paint slightly and getting your spray distance just right are two important ones that work together) but the honest truth is you can't expect to get a factory-perfect finish (esp with a waterbased consumer-level paint) no matter how good your sprayer is and how well you nail your technique. So what I'm saying is you might have to settle for good enough. – Graphus Jan 10 at 8:04
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    Another point is that making the material thinner isn't exactly the same as improving how it flows out. You might also try adding a flow-promoting additive like floetrol. Some people also recommend a drop of dish soap, but personally I'd be worried that this could cause other problems with the material... – SaSSafraS1232 Jan 10 at 16:58
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It sounds like the "bumps/roughness" you're seeing are "orange peel".

It could also be a "sandpaper" texture. That's usually an indication of a "dry" spray. I.e. the material is drying before it hits the surface. It could also be dust nibs which are contamination in either the air (which I doubt because you said you set up a makeshift booth) or in your material (make sure you're straining it.)

Orange peel is caused by the material not atomizing sufficiently. Basically you're getting "clumps" of material hitting the surface that don't "flow out" into a smooth, even liquid film.

Make sure your material is thin enough. Get a viscosity cup to measure it and thin it down until it matches the recommendation from your gun's manufacturer. This is the #1 cause of orange peel. Most paint is designed for brushing or airless and is too thick for HVLP. Latex paint in particular is way too thick to use with HVLP.

Make sure the material is well mixed, that your tip set is big enough, that your air is all the way up (at least to start), that you're setting your regulator while the air is flowing, and that you're not too far away. Also make sure that the bleed hole in your cup isn't blocked with old material.

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