Painting Behind Cabinets - General Discussion - Contractor Talk

Painting Behind Cabinets

 
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Old 12-14-2016, 02:43 PM   #1
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Painting Behind Cabinets


What level of drywall finishing do you do behind kitchen cabinets on a remodel?

What about priming and painting?

Any reasons and logic behind your choice would be appreciated. I'm in a discussion with some of the guys and boss on this and I'm not on the side with the most votes...

*edit*
Our company does the demo, the framing, the drywall, the painting, the cabinets, everything. So it's not a matter of "It's easier to just have the drywall guy finish everything" regarding communication.

Last edited by Xtrememtnbiker; 12-14-2016 at 04:02 PM. Reason: Clarification
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Old 12-14-2016, 03:14 PM   #2
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Re: Painting Behind Cabinets


after a couple of last minute changes by owners i just finish and paint like it's all going to be exposed.

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Old 12-14-2016, 03:29 PM   #3
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Re: Painting Behind Cabinets


Yep, same here. You can never tell if they are going to change things and then you are stuck with an inch of unfinished drywal, or 2 inches of unpainted wall.

It also makes it easier on the next guy. I may not be as picky if I am sure cabinets are going over, but it is still finish grade. The only reason not to finish is if you are putting a heavy skip trowel, then I would just finish to just past the edge of where cabinets are set to go at the time. But it would still be smooth and painted.
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Old 12-14-2016, 03:31 PM   #4
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Re: Painting Behind Cabinets


Pretty much finished like it was going to be exposed, including primer and paint.
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Old 12-14-2016, 03:57 PM   #5
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Re: Painting Behind Cabinets


Considering you're installing new cabinets, I wouldn't stress about it and just leave it to customer preference... the next time those cabinets will likely be off the wall, they'll most likely be changing color anyway... wasted time and material on something that matters little if at all...

What we tell our customers as it relates to finishes, unless you tell us different (we all run into A-types), if you don't see it, there's not a lot of attention paid to it as it's something you're never going to see unless you're re-doing things... kinda' like the bottom of a car... most don't paint the bottom because you can't see it...
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Old 12-14-2016, 04:07 PM   #6
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Re: Painting Behind Cabinets


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Considering you're installing new cabinets, I wouldn't stress about it and just leave it to customer preference... the next time those cabinets will likely be off the wall, they'll most likely be changing color anyway... wasted time and material on something that matters little if at all...

What we tell our customers as it relates to finishes, unless you tell us different (we all run into A-types), if you don't see it, there's not a lot of attention paid to it as it's something you're never going to see unless you're re-doing things... kinda' like the bottom of a car... most don't paint the bottom because you can't see it...
I've never seen an under carriage not painted.

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Old 12-14-2016, 04:21 PM   #7
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Re: Painting Behind Cabinets


Always finish it by default. You are doing the same amount of prep anyway.

Most customers don't have a problem with it, in my experience. If they do say something, then give them the option to remove the sq footage, but only after making them sign an agreement to acknowledge that future changes thereafter that may expose the unfinished surfaces will have to be finished at an additional charge and subject to minimum charges.
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Old 12-14-2016, 04:44 PM   #8
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Re: Painting Behind Cabinets


Always finish the same, prime and at least one coat of paint before cabs go in. Anything changes and your covered for pretty much the same amount of work.

I have seen kitchens where they paint after counter top install. After a few months and cabinets full everything settles and shows 1/8" to 1/4" of unpainted walls.

Used to work with an old timer who would use 5/8" plywood where cabinets were going for better install. He just stopped short and had the plaster feather it in. Always wanted to try it as he was one of the best I ever worked with. ( I never saw one of his jobs, he was doing mantels and built ins by the time I met him).
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Old 12-14-2016, 04:52 PM   #9
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Re: Painting Behind Cabinets


I finish it and prime, but not to "perfection" (if that makes sense).

If the paint is selected and ready, that too.

The exception is if there's some crazy deadline and I can hide it quickly, maybe...but I still like my walls flat and plumb, so usually they get finished anyway.

(Btw, whipping the heck out of your easysand in the pan gets it to dry much quicker, at least for me.)
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Old 12-14-2016, 08:12 PM   #10
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Re: Painting Behind Cabinets


I'm wanting to at least tape and one coat, sand and prime everything. A proper smooth finish everywhere cabinets definitely aren't going.

The rest of the crew, including the boss say what's the point, it's just gonna get covered and your wasting time and money.
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Old 12-14-2016, 09:11 PM   #11
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Re: Painting Behind Cabinets


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Originally Posted by Xtrememtnbiker View Post
I'm wanting to at least tape and one coat, sand and prime everything.
I got yer back on this. Even the cheapskate scum landlord I've been hooked up with for a while goes for that.
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Old 12-14-2016, 09:18 PM   #12
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Re: Painting Behind Cabinets


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I got yer back on this. Even the cheapskate scum landlord I've been hooked up with for a while goes for that.
I just want it to be decent... But the problem is, I've got no solid reason.

In 8 years of doing this, we have yet change the cabinetry on a kitchen once the job was underway and cabinets on site so it's not like I can use that as a reason. "But we've done 25 kitchens with no problem, why start now?"

I understand that everybody has their standards, I personally don't see the need to tape and 3 coat over that and then prime and two coats of finish behind what is definitely going to be covered with cabinets. I've got no problem with someone else doing that if that's how they want to do the work.
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Old 12-14-2016, 09:37 PM   #13
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Re: Painting Behind Cabinets


I don't want to get too techie here but:

Every wall is part of the thermal system. Taping the joints, putting on paint affects how much moisture passes into the insulated cavity.

Now here's a thing: what is your intention - to go around marking out precisely where every cab goes?

That alone would eat up any time savings.

What are we talking about here? Maybe a hundred square feet? (typical 12 ft long, 8 ft high kitchen wall - give or take)
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Old 12-14-2016, 10:02 PM   #14
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Re: Painting Behind Cabinets


Yep, I can see being a bit sloppy well within the cabinet zone, but it still needs to be flat and sealed. Takes a tiny percentage of the time/materials for the whole job and produces a better product. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
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Old 12-14-2016, 10:12 PM   #15
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Re: Painting Behind Cabinets


A decent drywall guy pulls tight enough it really doesn't need sanded much anyway, so most times it is a matter of just hitting the edge and painting those areas. It would drive me nuts to just stop my tape and mud at the cabinet edge. Easier to just pull through.

Also, when a customer sees the entire kitchen nice and finished before cabinets, it makes them feel good.
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Old 12-14-2016, 10:13 PM   #16
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Re: Painting Behind Cabinets


You could make a legit argument about drafts and fire ratings.
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Old 12-14-2016, 10:21 PM   #17
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Re: Painting Behind Cabinets


Finish it, finish the tile under the cabinetry, finish the hardwood under everything, finish it.

I propose it this way, sell it this way and finish it this way. Hey, but you all "cheap skates, low ballers, ignorant " contractors continue to do what you do.

I profit off of your methods, unless you can explain to the customer why they benefit from your shortcomings.
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Old 12-14-2016, 11:46 PM   #18
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Re: Painting Behind Cabinets


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I don't want to get too techie here but:

Every wall is part of the thermal system. Taping the joints, putting on paint affects how much moisture passes into the insulated cavity.

Now here's a thing: what is your intention - to go around marking out precisely where every cab goes?

That alone would eat up any time savings.

What are we talking about here? Maybe a hundred square feet? (typical 12 ft long, 8 ft high kitchen wall - give or take)
Again, I agree with all these points, but I don't know how to convince someone that the client is any better off for doing it this way. It's what I want to do, but at the end of the day, does having a coat of paint on the wall behind their cabinets make the kitchen more livable? No.

I hate the fact that it's come to "Well it's wasting the clients money on things that don't need to be done" and I've got no real argument back other than I want to do it in a way that feels right and I can't give any more reason than that.
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Old 12-15-2016, 12:09 AM   #19
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Re: Painting Behind Cabinets


We already established we need to tape all joints for drafts/fire ratings. After taping, it should be sanded smooth for a flat surface before mounting your cabinets. All sanded surfaces should be primed to seal in any dust that may end up on your new counter top. So the only thing left in question is the 1 measly coat of paint on top of the primer.

I'd roll an extra coat of paint on that 100 sq ft in the time that we all spent arguing over it.

Last edited by ShadowLynx; 12-15-2016 at 12:11 AM.
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Old 12-15-2016, 07:20 AM   #20
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Re: Painting Behind Cabinets


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Finish it, finish the tile under the cabinetry, finish the hardwood under everything, finish it.

I propose it this way, sell it this way and finish it this way. Hey, but you all "cheap skates, low ballers, ignorant " contractors continue to do what you do.

I profit off of your methods, unless you can explain to the customer why they benefit from your shortcomings.
If they remove the cabinets for whatever reason, they're going to be patching/priming/painting (i.e. - screw holes, shim dents, dings from the cabinet, etc.) at a minimum... Other than being taped, there's no tangible benefit to the contractor or the customer to bring it to the same paint level as the walls you do see... the paint behind the cabs will most likely be a shade askew by the time the cabs are removed anyway depending on what paint was used and the normal patina (it's a cooking area as well, subject to smoke, moisture, grime, etc.)...

While I understand your use of it as a marketing tool, marketing can work in the opposite direction on this... "some guys will charge you for things you don't need and that have no benefit to you like finishing behind the cabinets"... IMHO, that's like painting the whole house the color of the skirt behind the siding because you might some day decide to remove the siding...

(to tweak your last sentence) I profit off of your methods, unless you can explain to the customer why they benefit from your need to charge them for something that has no tangible benefit to them... which has more of a marketing impact?... you charging them for something they don't need, or someone else saving them money on something they don't need to be charged for? Guess it depends on how you're selling it, but one method ultimately costs you or the customer money and time that doesn't need to be part of the mix...

Consider... Do you paint behind the backsplash as well? Do you paint to the ceiling behind the crown molding or stop before the roller hits the ceiling because they might take the crown down one day? What about a soffit (we take those down a lot)...

As an example, a galley kitchen we just finished would have been 222 sf (multiple applications and drying times) if we painted behind the cabs where they weren't going to be viewed until the next time the kitchen was done and bringing it to the same level of finish as the walls that you actually see would be required BEFORE bothering to paint two coats... times how many kitchens per year? SOMEONE has to pay for that in labor and material, you or the customer, and there's no real benefit to either of you...

Do what works for you (and using it as a differential in marketing is smart but as you can see cuts both ways) but IMHO, bringing the walls BEHIND the cabinets/backsplash/molding that you don't see to the same level of finish as the walls you see is probably a pretty good definition of confusing activity with accomplishment considering all the real world factors...

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Last edited by KAP; 12-15-2016 at 08:21 AM.
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