We primed our kitchen cabinets after washing them with regular cleaning supplies. We did not sand. The primer will peel off if we scrape it with our fingernails. What should be our next step?


Could be the surface was too glossy before priming or poor primer for this surface. I would scrape off a few square inches of the new primer, sand the surface with 220 grit sandpaper, and re-prime. After it dries I would check the adhesion. If it adheres well, then you know what you'll have to do. If not, then I'd suspect the type of primer. Personally, after many years painting things at my house, I've come to select two primary primers for work like you're doing here: either Zinsser oil based primer or Zinsser shellac primer. I'm sure there are probably other equally good primers, but they are the ones that I found good reviews for and have used myself. For cabinets though, I would go with the oil. You might want to buy a quart of it to try. You definitely were smart to check the adhesion at this stage. You probably saved yourself a lot of time in the future.

  • +1 It also could be a buildup of grease (common in kitchens) that the cleaner did not fully remove. After following the scraping and sanding advice on a section, test with masking tape pressed well onto the surface and then pulled off. If paint comes away, you need a more serious stripping with a solvent like denatured alcohol or a commercial stripper before priming.
    – bib
    Nov 27 '13 at 17:04

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