Painting your kitchen cabinets can be a wonderful alternative to having brand new cabinets installed. It can save you time and a whole lot of money if you choose to hire a professional! Cabinet painting can also be taken on as a DIY project. Follow this process and you can turn your old, outdated cabinets into something that can truly transform your kitchen!
Step one: Remove all cabinet doors, drawers and hardware from the cabinets. This will save you time and will prevent you from getting paint where you don't want it.
Step two: thoroughly clean and degrease your cabinet doors, drawers and frames. This can be done using dawn dish soap, or any other cleaning product that can cut through grease. Removing grease and cleaning will ensure that your primer and paint will adhere properly.
Step three: Sand and prep! Cabinets often have a glossy finish that will create problems because paint won't adhere properly. If a surface is too smooth and slick, the paint will have nothing to "bite" to. This is why it is recommended to use sandpaper to scuff the surfaces. This will allow better adhesion.
Step four: Prime! Even though you used sandpaper to scuff the surface, it is still a good idea to use a bonding primer as your first coat. Bonding primers are specially formulated to bond to surfaces that are hard for paint to stick to. The bonding primer as a base coat will give your cabinets the best chance to hold up long term. Bonding primer can be applied using a brush, roller, or paint sprayer. Whichever you prefer! Give the bonding primer 24 hours to dry before moving on to the next step. Pro tip: have your primer tinted to a base color that will help your finish coats cover better.
Step five: Apply your finish coats. Now it is time to really bring your cabinets to life by applying the finish coats. We recommend using a high quality urethane enamel in satin or semi gloss. It is not a good idea skimp on your finish paint! use a high quality product, and it will be well worth the investment. When it comes to color selection, you can truly use any color you like! This is one of the best parts about kitchen cabinet painting; you can pick any color to put your own personal touch on you kitchen, where as with new cabinets, you will be limited on the color options available to you. Depending on the color you select, you will likely have to apply 2-4 finish coats. Darker colors will typically cover in two coats, while lighter colors may take an extra coat or two. This is also dependent on the existing color of your cabinets. Make sure to give adequate dry time between finish coats. 24 hours is best, but try to give at lease 8 hours to make sure the paint has plenty of time to set up. It is also a good idea to lightly sand before applying each additional coat. This will help with adherence and giving your cabinets as smooth of a finish as possible. The finish paint can be applied the same way you put on the primer; with a brush, roller, or paint sprayer.
Step Six: Put hardware back on and hang cabinets back up. After giving the final finish coat 24 hours to dry, now you can put it all back together. Make sure you do this with care, as the paint will not be fully cured yet and will not have optimal durability. If you do happen to scuff a door or frame, you can always use the finish paint for touch-ups as necessary. After everything is put back together, you need to be gentle with the cabinets for about two weeks. This is the typical cure time for the paint. The paint will harden over time and eventually reach its max durability.
And that's it! Now you will have a transformed kitchen, with cabinets that should maintain a great appearance for a long time.