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Is fridge worth price of new paint job? If so, hire a pro

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QuestionWe would like to change the color of our side-by-side refrigerator from off-white/bone to black. What do you think of having it professionally painted using some kind of electrostatic process vs. doing it ourselves? If we do it ourselves, we would like your advice on what kind of paint and process to use.

AnswerWhat do I think? I think this is definitely not a do-it-yourself project. It ranks right up there with painting a bathtub and I'm not a firm believer in the process unless you hire a pro to do it.

Begin by considering the age of the refrigerator, its condition, and if it is worth the investment to hire a pro. To determine the refrigerator's age, contact any appliance service center and supply them with the model number.

The biggest difficulty in doing the work yourselves is achieving the proper coverage with the finish coat. An aerosol spray cannot deliver the volume of paint needed for uniform coverage, and you'll end up with burn marks, high-low effects that happen with overspray and inadequate coverage. It will be terrible looking.

Your choices boil down to either purchasing a new unit or hiring a pro with experience in appliance refinishing, and there are only couple of qualified appliance refinishers out there. I agree with you that an electrostatic finish is the only way to go and that a two-component (part A & part B) polyurethane product should be used. The finished process is comparable to the original factory finish in quality and durability.

If you hire professionals to do this work, it's important that they use a system that is 98 percent efficient with only a 2-percent overspray.

The electrostatic equipment produces a positively charged atomized paint spray that is drawn to a negatively charged metal surface. There is no overspray because 98 percent of the paint is transferred to the surface in an extremely uniform paint film. It's an incredible process to watch. I know firsthand because I hired a firm a few years ago to turn our custom galvanized fence to black. The finished effect is better than the factory finish.

The process can be done at your residence but it needs to be done under a carport or in a garage. The painters need a lot of working room around the appliance. If this is not feasible, then you'll need to convey the appliance to the appliance refinisher's shop. The cost runs about $175 in their shop or $275 at your place.

Doing it yourself is definitely not a wise choice, so I suggest you evaluate the specifics of your situation. Is the bottom line worth the overall cost? Do you have adequate space to make this happen? Do you have the means to transfer the appliance if you don't have the space? Is it time to purchase a new refrigerator in the color you want?

If you purchase a new appliance, you'll get a factory warranty and it will be delivered; with any luck they will haul off your old side-by-side. You could run an ad and sell the old refrigerator and the purchaser can haul it away, or you can donate it to charity and they will haul it off.

Good luck on the decision-making process!

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Question answered by Leon A. Frechette.

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