Painting Kitchen Cabinets: Adding Value to Your Kitchen

Having new cabinetry installed is certainly an expensive undertaking most of the time. But sometimes all those old cabinets need is a change of hardware and a fresh coat of paint to bring them back to life. Many wood, laminate or even metal cabinets are great candidates for a coat of paint if prepped correctly.

Basic cabinetry, such as flat doors and simple styling can be repainted relatively quickly and easily. More intricate doors and more detailed cabinets may require additional prep and paint time.

The actual painting process itself can include rolling, spraying or brushing. Personally if you have the tools, the time and/or the space spraying is your best option. Not only will you get the smoothest finish but if done correctly a much more even coating. Of course all have their advantages and disadvantages. 

Remove the Cabinet Doors and Hardware

Obviously the first thing you’re going to need to do is remove the doors and hardware, this makes the job a thousand times easier. These door usually are held in place with 2-6 small screws depending on design. These can be loosened with a normal flat head or phillips head screwdriver but I highly recommend a small power drill to make the job quicker and easier. Keep hinges and doors labeled and together to avoid misalignment and confusion when it comes time to reinstall. Once the doors and hardware are removed it is time for the next step.  

Clean the Surfaces to be Repainted

Let’s face it, kitchens get dirty and quick. Before you even think about sanding, priming or painting make sure all your surfacing are completely clean of food splatters or grease. I personally like using Simple Green and a bit of Pine Sol. Rinse well without soaking the cabinets and allow to dry.

Sand the Surfaces to be repainted

Prepping before painting is the most important step in this whole process. A good prep job is key to making sure that paint or stain adheres correctly to the wood’s surface. If staining the cabinets it is important to lightly sand to a smooth finish, it is also important to remember that going from a light stain to a darker stain is possible but going from a darker stain to a lighter stain can be a bit trickier. Painting is a little easier I always recommend lightly sanding old paint to remove any paint that is either loose or poorly adhered to the wood itself. Keep an eye out for “shiny areas of wood, this would be a lacquer or glaze that will need to be sanded before paint or stain application. Wipe down and vacuum away any remaining dust from sanding before preceding to paint. 

Apply the Primer-Sealer

Now that all the cabinets are cleaned, sanded and prepped it is time to apply a primer, while this adds an extra step to the process it will help provide a good base and help the paint bond better. Once the primer has dried fully it’s time to paint. I tend to find working from the cabinets edges and frame to be the easiest. Think of it as working from more precise area of the cabinets and doors to a broader area in the middle of the cabinets face. Work in thin layers to avoid dripping and over pronounced brush strokes…remember you can always add another coat if needed. Give the layers at least four hours to set and dry between coats. I’ve always has success with Behr paints and these usually only take two coats to get complete coverage. Lesser quality paints may take an extra coat or two. This project can certainly take the better part of two to three days, but the end result is a huge update and refresh to your kitchen and cabinets! 

If you have any additional questions or comments let me know in the comments down below, or Follow me on Twitter @DiaryofaDIYer