Prep and Paint Kitchen Cabinets
Want to give your dated kitchen a new look but don’t have $20,000 to put into it? Instead of replacing those old kitchen cabinets consider painting them as an easier and more budget-friendly solution. Below are instructions for painting wood or laminate cabinets.
Preparing Your Kitchen Cabinets For Paint
Determine what condition your cabinets are currently in. Cabinets that have already been painted can easily be painted again if the existing paint is not peeling and flaking. If this case, the old paint will need to be removed and there are several paint strippers available that will make the process easy. Carefully follow the directions on the product you choose but as a general rule, you will simply apply the paint stripper with a brush and give it time to react with the old paint, then using a plastic scraper, peel the existing paint away. Once the surface has dried, use sandpaper to remove the last of the paint.
To make the process go smoothly you should empty the cabinets you will be working on then remove the doors, drawer, and hardware. Use painter’s tape to label each door and drawer as you remove them so you will know where they go when it is time to reinstall them. Remove all the hardware and place them in a plastic bag with a label as above.
Use Tri Sodium Phosphate, TSP, cleaner to clean all surfaces and remove any grease and dirt that is present. Repair damaged areas by filling dents and holes with a wood filler. Using a putty knife, press the wood filler in and smooth it out then let it dry according to the manufacturer’s directions.
You won’t need to fill the existing hardware holes if you’re planning on reusing the same hardware. If you’re going to be replacing your hardware, it may be necessary to use wood filler for those holes that don’t match with the new hardware.
Use a plastic drop cloth to cover your countertops, appliances and other items you want to protect from dripping paint. It is also helpful to place painter’s tape on the wall along the cabinet edges. Use medium-grit sandpaper to sand all the surfaces so that the paint will bond properly. Folding the sandpaper is helpful to get into the small detailed areas on cabinet doors and drawers and in the corners of the frames.
Use a vacuum and a tack cloth to clean all surfaces. Everything needs to be dust free before applying your paint.
Prime Kitchen Cabinets Before Painting
It’s best to work from the inside out on the cabinet frames. If you’re planning on painting the inside of the cabinets, start at the back and work toward the front. Start by using a brush to get into corners and detailed areas first then move on to the rest of the cabinet. Paint using long, even strokes and finish back into the wet primer.
The purpose of your primer is to cover the surface and provide a better bond for the finish paint. You can use a mini roller for large flat areas since you will be applying a top coat it doesn’t have to look perfect. Work on one area at a time.
When you’ve covered the surface, remove any extra primer that may have built up by taking your dry roller or brush and lightly go over the surface one more time.
Next, it’s time to prime the cabinet doors and drawers. Remove the tape labels but keep them handy. Use sawhorses to lift the doors and drawers up so that it is easy to paint the edges. Starting with the backs apply a smooth, even coat. Once this is dry, turn the door over and continue to paint the front. Start with any detailed areas and make sure that the primer doesn’t pool in the corners the feather out the edges. Work on the larger, flat surfaces with a foam roller.
For your cabinet drawers, it’s recommended to paint just the drawer face instead of the entire drawer. Painting the sides and bottom is liable to cause the drawers to stick in the frames.
Allow the primer enough time to dry according to the manufacturer’s directions. It usually takes a few hours.
Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets
DIYers will usually want to apply the paint can be applied with a brush and roller but a sprayer can be used by more advanced users.
As with the priming, begin with the cabinet frames. For best results, use a high-quality brush for smaller areas and a foam roller for larger surfaces. Use smooth, even brush strokes and finish the stroke back into the wet paint and feather out the edges. Also, remember to remove any excess paint by going over the area with a dry brush right after the surface has been painted.
For the cabinet doors and drawer fronts, paint the backs first, allow them to dry, then paint the fronts. Follow the paint manufacturer’s directions for the correct dry time. Take your time and let the paint have a chance to completely cure.
Apply a second coat of paint using the same method as before. This will be your finish coat. Give the paint enough time to dry thoroughly. Avoid putting everything back together before the paint has completely cured to get the best results possible.
Finish: Reassemble Kitchen Cabinets
Consider adding shelf liners before putting the doors back on. There are plenty of types to choose from and some shelf liners are decorative and stick to the surface while others are padded and will help protect the surface.
Reassemble the cabinets and hardware. Make sure all the parts go back in the right spots by using the labels that you made at the beginning of the process.
That’s it, you are done. Now that the cabinet refinishing project is over it may be a good time to consider adding new countertops or even some under counter lighting….new appliances?