I was happy finishing our kitchen cabinets and shelving ourselves, until now. Something is wrong with the way the painting turned out. I used semi-gloss latex on the shelves and everything we put on them pulls away when I pick it up. It's still sticky two months later. Any idea how to fix it without stripping and re-painting?
Evan T. ~ Newark, New Jersey
Hi Evan, I know it doesn't make any sense, but the latex wall paint that you use on your interior walls and trim is not very good for a surface which is going to be in constant contact with an object. Semi-gloss latex paint looks great until you sit something on it ,and then you realize it seems tacky and when you lift the object it can pull away some of the surface paint.
I don't know of a good way of repairing your shelves short of repainting them. The paint that is there now might seem sticky a year from now. My recommendation is to lightly sand down the shelves with a fairly fine sandpaper such as a 220 grit. If you can match the new paint you are going to use to the existing paint, you may be able to get away with only painting the tops of the shelves.
I would then use a good primer on the shelves, it can be a latex primer. Then I would use an alkyd enamel paint on the shelves. This is an oil based paint so it may take awhile to dry, but once it does you shouldn't have a problem with anything sticking to it. Alkyd paint dries to a very hard surface. You may need to place a second coat on after the first coat of enamel has dried.
It is my understanding that there are now some water based enamels available that work just like the alkyd paint. If you prefer working with a water based paint, you might want to stop at a local paint store there in Newark, New Jersey and ask if they have any water based enamel paint. Tell them what you plan on using it for, and that it is taking the place of alkyd enamel.