How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets

If your cabinets are looking kind of weary, but they’re still structurally sound, there’s no reason to spring for a full kitchen remodeling. You can either paint the entire cabinets or reface them with new doors and drawer fronts and paint the boxes. While painting kitchen cabinets isn’t that hard, there are a number of steps that need to be included in the process. Leave any of these steps out and your results could be lacking – and if you’re going to go to this trouble, you may as well get good looking cabinets. So below we present our list of tips on how to paint kitchen cabinets.

The first thing you want to do is remove the cabinet doors and drawers, even if you’re just painting and not refacing. This will make the job much easier and allow for a much cleaner looking finish. Of course, you’ll need to remove all the food, dishes, and other items in storage in the cabinets. Being that the kitchen is a place where there is a lot of moisture and grease, the next thing you want to do is completely clean the cabinets. Omitting or not taking this step seriously enough is where many people’s cabinet painting jobs go awry. The paint will not stick to greasy dirt (and no matter how meticulous a housekeeper you are, your cabinets will have some greasy dirt on them), so you have to get the cabinets as clean as possible before moving on to the next step.

Next, you need to sand the cabinetry down. This will remove the gloss of the previous finish and provide what’s called “tooth” for the new paint to adhere to. Use fine sandpaper – 150 grit or higher, and be sure to get all the areas that will be painted. When done, be sure to remove all the sawdust with a wet rag or a tack cloth.

Now you need to apply primer. You might be tempted to go directly to the paint here, but resist. If you skip the primer, it’s likely that the painted cabinets will, over time, begin to peel or chip from contact with the doors or dishes, etc. Also, if you’re going from a darker to a lighter color the primer will allow you to use fewer finish coats because the primer seals the darker color in. The type of wood and finish you’re covering and the type of paint you’ll be using for the final coat will affect your choice of primer, so speak to the paint guy when buying.

Finally, you can apply the paint. Two or three thin coats are vastly superior to one thick one. If you have the equipment, go ahead and spray the cabinets, but a brush will work just fine. Remember – multiple thin coats! Sanding lightly with the finest sandpaper you can find between coats will help make the final finish smoother, but this step is not required. If you do it, be sure to remove the sanding residue before applying the next coat, however.

That’s it for our little tutorial 🙂 Put your repainted or brand new doors back on and enjoy your reinvigorated kitchen. If it sounds like too much trouble you can always hire a painter. You’ll still be saving big bucks over the cost of a new kitchen.

Richard