Thinking about painting your Kitchen Cabinets?
Updated: Nov 6
Tired of the dull cabinets you've had for so long, and thinking about giving your kitchen a face lift by painting your cabinets?
There are so many beautiful colors that can enhance any kitchen, making you feel like you have a brand-new space to prepare meals and gather with friends.
However, painting kitchen cabinets may seem simple enough, but the truth is, there are some very important steps necessary to consider to be sure to produce
the very best results. Let's take a look!
Prepping, prepping, and more prepping! Did I mention prepping? In other words, this cannot be stressed enough.
Unfortunately, many do-it-your-self folks often end up cutting corners where prep work is concerned because, let's face it....it is no fun, and it can take a long time. This is where the virtue of patience is needed more than ever!
A project like this can't be done in one day or even in one weekend if you expect it to turn out like the pictures of those freshly painted cabinets you see online. Realistically, the time frame for a project like this is about 1-2 weeks, depending on how busy life is and the amount of time you have to commit to working on the cabinets. Cabinets need about a week to cure well enough to withstand opening and closing them on a regular basis.
Before you do anything else, make sure you have a traffic-free, enclosed space big enough to lay out all the doors and drawers, such as a garage or some type of large shed. Let me repeat...enclosed and traffic free! You don't want your kids, your spouse, or your dogs constantly walking past your hard-working paint job, do you?
You might also want to think twice before you try to paint a project like this in your backyard, because one minute you're loving the smooth finish you just applied, and before you know it you come back out to check on things and there are at least five gnats stuck to each cabinet door!
The inside of your home should be off limits due to the dust and paint fumes that will get all over everything! That pretty much leaves you with one option...traffic-free and enclosed area.
Next, remove the cabinet doors all the hardware (handles, knobs, hinges, etc.) Then...
The first thing that must be done before you even think about painting is to clean the surfaces with a special cleaner designed to remove years of build-up such as grease, grime, dirty hands opening and closing cabinet doors and drawers, etc. Most paint stores can recommend the best product for the job. One product we like is called TSP (trisodium phosphate).
Also, it may be necessary to dull the previously painted surface, and there are special products available to dull the gloss on the surface finish to ensure the paint bonds properly. However, it is also suitable to lightly sand the surface and that's fine, too. One disadvantage to this is the dust it creates.
Lot's of times people decide its time to purchase new and updated hardware to complement their new cabinet color! Make sure to keep track of how many door and drawer handles you have to make sure you buy the right amount.
Another important thing to remember is this...and believe me it will save you a lot of time in the end!! Pay attention to where the doors once hung because after the painting is completed they have to go back in the same place. You might try labeling the doors, which might be hard since the paint will cover up the label. Perhaps you can use an index card to write the label and keep it with each cabinet door. Just use your creative ideas to come up with what works best for you!
Priming! Now that the prep work is complete, move on to the next phase; priming the surface. How nice it would be if the paint could just be applied at this point and be done, but this is a crucial step that will make the life of the cabinet color last for the life of the cabinets if it is done correctly.
If this step is skipped, the cabinets may appear to look great for a few months before the wood grain, knots, and other discrepancies in the original wood begin to show through and the surface will begin to look blotchy. Therefore, it is important to use a stain-blocking primer because most cabinets are originally painted with a rich stain. Wait at least a day between the primer and the paint.
Color Choice! This is super important because it needs to be a color you can live with for many years and be happy about it! This will be a personal preference in terms of deciding what color to go with, and it will depend a lot on the color of the walls and appliances. There are thousands of resources available online or at the local home improvement stores for ideas to help make this decision. Get your friends and relatives involved in this decision-making progress if you need to. Well, everyone except your mother-in-law.
Choose the right Paint! The most important thing to remember is…don’t buy cheap paint! I repeat...Don't buy cheap off-brand paint. Cheap paint will make your cabinets look...well...cheap. It is our opinion that Benjamin Moore is the very best quality of paint on the market today!
Next, make sure you understand the finish you want the end result to be. Sheens range anywhere from flat to high gloss. This is a personal preference.
Use the correct applicator! How do you know which brush is the best to use?? What about using a roller? There are many different types available. There is no easy answer to this for the DIY person because learning the difference between brushes and the different bristles needed for varied surfaces can be a matter of trial and error.
This part can be frustrating for DIY folks because brush strokes are often visible and unless they are perfectly straight and feathered out just right, the finish may not always be what was expected. However, if done correctly, a foam roller can be used to smooth out the brush strokes. We usually use a paint sprayer for the smoothest finish, but not everyone has a paint sprayer.
Putting everything back together. Patience must be practiced at this point because placing the doors and drawers back too soon can smudge, chip, or scratch the paint. Waiting at least a week is a safe time frame, and in the long run the cabinets will have long-lasting beauty for years.