It seems like there are more and more shows that highlight DIY kitchen remodels involving little more than applying paint to dull and dated wooden cabinets. This approach is an exciting project to revitalize your space, but it’s good to have a working knowledge of the topic. As many homeowners have learned the hard way, there are tried and true ways of painting cabinets. Others? Well, they were not quite as successful. Let’s dig into the right way to paint your kitchen cabinets (by the way, you can view kitchen cabinets here if you need inspiration).
Wood is the ideal cabinet surface for painting
Painted, unfinished (natural), and stained wood are great surfaces for painting, as well as MDF, and compressed/faux wood. In reality, any surface that you can scuff up with sandpaper so that paint sticks is doable. Laminates, therefore, are not a good option because of their slick texture. Unfortunately, the paint will not look good for long at all. If you do go with stained wood or glossy finishes, you need to first de-gloss the layer with a liquid sander, to get it ready to be painted.
Preparation is critical
Just like in construction, with the old saying, “Measure twice, cut once,” the same principles apply in painting. You will need to prepare thoroughly before painting those kitchen cabinets. Start by clearing the cabinets and then cleaning methodically, making sure all grease and grime is removed. Take off knobs and pulls and check hinges. Take out the drawers and label them, so you know where to return each one.
Be careful to tape off parts like hinges, countertops, and appliances you don’t want to paint on. Use a wood filler to fix holes and flaws. Lastly, sand the cabinets, using a rotary sander for flat sections and hand-sanding the problematic areas. If your cabinets are stained, use 220-grit sandpaper. If they’re painted but have a rough simple to them, use 120 sandpaper, leading into finer grit as you go through the process. For stubborn, thick paint, you may have to use a stripper to get started.
Don’t forget the primer
Once you are all prepped, priming is essential. Try to avoid all-in-one primers, as they are not as effective as other products. Oil primer and paint offer superior adhesion and longest-lasting results for cabinets but are illegal in some states around the country. A suitable substitute is water-soluble waterborne paint, which can be described as a latex-oil combination primer. Heads up: waterborne paints and primers dry quickly, so move fast or get an extender that allows you to buy some time to get your painting done.
If you transform your kitchen cabinets from a darker hue to a lighter shade, you may want to think about tinting the primer to equal the final color. Suppose you are crossing the entire spectrum of colors from one extreme to another. If that’s the case, you may opt to alternatively layer a coat of underbody, a thicker, more opaque primer that covers more discoloration. And color mismatches. Paint stores will tint primers and have (literally) gotten it down to a science.
Don’t forget to re-sand your cabinets after the first layer of paint and primer are applied – a fine, touch-up sanding should suffice.
Whatever you do, don’t settle on low-grade, cheap paint
During your kitchen renovation, paint is not an area to take shortcuts. You’ll get improved coverage and durability with high-quality paint like Nuvo Cabinet Paint. You will need two coats of paint, and this is critical for kitchen cabinets, as you are creating a surface.
Pro tip: to obtain an optimal finish, use a 2- to 2 1/2-inch fine-bristle brush for best results.
No matter which cabinet paint you ultimately decide on, ensure that you have proper ventilation for the room. They make painting masks and sell them at stores for good reason! Use fans, aiming them out the window to carry those fumes out of your workspace. Make sure you use tarps or towels to keep your room clean and mess-free.
Why put so much effort into painting your kitchen cabinets?
Your kitchen can – not to be too dramatic – make or break your home. The resale value of the room and its importance as a social gathering space makes it a critical area of focus. In turn, your cabinets are a significant influencer in the kitchen, and you’ll want them to look stylish, clean, and fresh.
Painting your cabinets and painting your countertops can help immensely. If you are looking for kitchen cabinets or you want to bounce ideas around on how to improve your kitchen on a budget, find a well-reviewed seller like Walcraft Cabinetry.