How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets - Ultimate DIY Guide

How to paint kitchen cabinets ultimate DIY guideAre you looking for great new ways to renovate your home? You should also be looking at ways to raise the resale value of your property. One of the very best things you can do in this regard will be to learn how to paint kitchen cabinets. This is a move that will add style as well as a good deal of value to your home.



How Much Will Repainting Kitchen Cabinets Cost You?

The first thing you will need to be aware of is the amount of money that painting kitchen cabinets will cost you. There is no need to fear a nightmare scenario that will end with your finances drained. If you play your cards right, you can have stylishly painted kitchen cabinets for a price that you can afford.

It is true that renovating your kitchen area is one of the most cost intensive projects that you can undertake. Replacing or painting cabinets will tend to account for roughly 40 percent of the total cost. There are a number of factors to consider when you are considering this project and cost is definitely one.

The cost of cabinets for a standard 10 to 12 foot kitchen may rise to a total price of $5,000. To make things worse, the new cabinets that you install may actually be lesser in quality than the ones you have removed. This is due to the quality of the wood itself and how long it has been a staple part of the house,

However, once you have done so, it is also true that a new coat of paint can raise the value of your cabinets by a very considerable margin. The total cost of kitchen cabinet paint will normally be no more than about $200. This, plus the amount of time you spend on the job, can be considered a good investment.



Do You Need to Paint Kitchen Cabinets in Your Home?

The first thing you will need to do is come to a decision as to whether or not you will need to paint cabinets in your home. Even the act of learning how to paint cabinets, although useful in itself, can be wasted effort if the cabinets themselves are in poor shape. Examine them carefully to ascertain their state.

If the veneers are peeling or the particleboard is cracked and coming off, it may be time to replace your cabinets entirely. They may have been neglected for too long by the previous owner. In many cases, time may simply have taken its toll. If this is the case, you should first replace, then paint, your cabinets.



What Kind of Paint for Kitchen Cabinets Do You Need?

When it comes to cabinet painting, you will need a specific type of kitchen cabinets paint. However, you should also note that the best way to paint kitchen cabinets depends on the type of cabinets you have. It will also depend on the age and condition of your cabinets. Here are some of the best paints to use.



Should You Use Oil or Latex Paint?

Latex paints have become very popular in recent years. This is because they clean up fast with water and also dry quickly. The best type of latex paint to use will be 100 percent acrylic formulation. This is a type of latex that offers more durability and a higher scale of adhesion than most vinyl acrylic paints.

However, it should also be noted that many experts and home owners still prefer to use oil paints. This is due to the fact that oil paints will give you a harder, longer lasting paint film as well as a more smoothly finished surface. It is also true that oil paint dries a great deal faster than most latex paints.



Should You Use Brush or Spray Paint?

The next question to consider when learning how to repaint cabinets will be whether you use a brush to apply your paint or speed up the job using modern spray paint. This is another question whose answer will depend primarily on the age and general condition of your kitchen cabinets. A learning curve does apply.

To use spray paint, you will first need to rent the equipment. This will add to the total cost of the job. You will then need to tape off all of the areas that you don't want to get sprayed through accidental contact. This is a process that, while completely necessary, will also consume lots of time and energy.

In the end, it may be better to use an old fashioned paint brush to do the job. It will ultimately take longer to finish but will be more cost effective. It's not expensive to buy a paint brush. You also won't have to worry about spraying down a bunch of stuff by accident. If you are on a budget, it's best to brush.

The best brush to use will be a 3 to 4 inch wide square brush. This will work well on large and flat panels. However, you also need to invest in a 2 1/2 to 3 inch angled brush. This will be the best brush to use when painting the angles and corners of doors. The two of these brushes together will complete the job.



Should You Strip Cabinets or Paint Over Them?

When it comes to painting wood cabinets, should you strip them first or simply paint over them? Likewise, when you are redoing this area, is painting stained cabinets an absolute necessity? These are questions that you will need to answer on a case by case basis. The age and condition of the cabinets will be relevant.

If your current finish is clear coat, your course of action will likewise be clear. Strip it all the down to the bare wood before you start to paint. This will take care of all of the issues regarding adhesion between the old finish and your new coat of paint. Get rid of it entirely and then start from scratch.

Stripping is ideal in most situations. However, it isn't always needed. On some occasions, it may be better to give the area a complete top to bottom cleaning. Follow it up with a light sanding. If the finish gives way easily, this should be all that you need to get the surface ready for a brand new coat of paint.



Should You Use a Regular or Faux Finish?

One of the crucial steps in learning how to repaint kitchen cabinets will be making the call to use either a regular or modern faux finish. This will be the move that determines the ultimate style of your cabinets. Do you want them to be ultra modern, classic traditional, or somewhere in between? The choice is yours.

You can use crackling glaze to give your cabinets a classic distressed look. There are many different styles of brushing that you can use to give your cabinets all kinds of different finish styles. A bit of research on the world wide web will reveal a whole range of possibilities that you can easily pursue.

On the other hand, a regular finish is probably the easiest and least time and energy consuming path to pursue. This can be achieved simply by using the tried and true conventional brush painting technique. Once you finish, let it dry in a few hours. Your cabinets will now be fully updated and ready to add home value.



What Are the Materials You Will Need?

The task of kitchen cabinet painting will require a special set of brushes and other tools. These will include the following:


Look for enamel paint. The higher the sheen that is listed on the label, the longer lasting the finish will be. In most cases, high gloss enamel will hold up over time much better than satin finish.

Paint Roller

You can make use of a 4 or 6 inch standard foam roller. This will usually be enough to fully cover the sides of cabinets as well as their frames.

Square Paint Brush

Use the straight end of a 3 to 4 inch wide brush makes on all of the square and flat panels of your cabinets.

Angled Paint Brush

You can make use of a 2 1/2 inch to 3 inch angled brush in order to safely paint the corners of doors as well as door frames.

HVLP Spray Unit

If you prefer to use a sprayer, an HVLP model is your best bet. This will give you a smooth factory finish. You can also use the sprayer you have invested in on your fence or exterior house panels.



How Do You Get the Room Ready?

The answer to the question of how do you paint kitchen cabinets in the correct manner is to first get the room ready for the job. The best way to do so will be to follow a series of quick and handy steps. These can be listed below as follows:

  • Empty all of the cabinets
  • Clear off all of the counters
  • Remove all portable appliances to another part of the house
  • Take out all of the tables and other bits of furniture
  • Tape rosin paper over the counter tops and flooring
  • Tape plastic sheeting over the backsplash, windows, fixed appliances, and interior doorways.
  • Tape mask the walls around the cabinets
  • Set up a work table to help you paint the drawers, doors, and shelves


How Can You Set Up a DIY Paint Station?

One of the best things you can do in this situation to make the job easier will be to set up a special paint station. You can do so by following these steps:

  • Set up a pair of 2 x 4 planks at a completely level distance between two ladders
  • Screw a pair of eye hooks into one end of a 2 x 4 where the doors will be painted
  • At the other end, screw eye hooks into both 2 x 4's where the freshly painted doors will be hung from
  • Add extra hooks to the top edges of cabinet doors
  • Do the same to the bottoms of lower drawers and doors. Make sure to do so in places where the holes you leave can't be seen


Remove All of Your Drawers, Doors, and Shelves

remove kitchen cabinet drawers shelvesThe process of painting kitchen cabinets should begin in earnest once you have removed all of the drawers, doors, and shelves from the area. Once this is done, you can get started. The process for doing so can be outlined as follows:

  • Take out the hinge screws from the cabinet frame
  • Remove the doors
  • Label each one with a numbered piece of tape. The process should go from left to right, top to bottom
  • You should also be sure to number the bottoms of each drawer and the edges of each cabinet shelf
  • Put all of your shelf hanging hardware to one side
  • Remove all the pulls and hinges
  • Set them aside at your work table and sort through them to save the ones that will be reused
  • Transfer the number from each tape on the doors to the exposed wood under one hinge
  • Cover it up with a fresh layer of tape


Make Sure to Clean Up All of the Surfaces

Your next step should be to make sure all of the surface areas are clean. You can do so by following these easy steps:

  • Use conventional cleaners to get the dirt off of your face frames, doors, drawer fronts, and shelving
  • If these do not suffice, you can use a heavier strength cleaner such astrisodium phosphate (TSP)
  • Once you get the cabinets clean, rinse them off with water and let them dry


Prepare Your Boxes for Repainting

The next step in learning how to paint kitchen cabinets will be to prepare your boxes for the new coat of paint. This can be done by following these easy steps:

  • Put on the appropriate safety gear to help you avoid breathing paint fumes
  • Make sure all of your windows are open to ensure the proper level of ventilation
  • Scrub down all of the surfaces using an abrasive pad that has been dipped in a liquid deglosser
  • Keep a rag handy underneath the surface in order to catch up any excess dripping
  • Before the deglosser evaporates, wipe up the residue with a clean rag that is also dipped in deglosser
  • If you decide to relocate your hardware, you should start by filling the existing holes for screws with 2 part polyester wood or autobody filler
  • The mix will set in about 5 minutes. It will shrink slightly, so overfill it by a small amount
  • After the mix sets, smooth it with a sharp paint scraper. If it's too hard, you may need to lightly sand it
  • Vacuum your cabinets inside and out to remove all dust that can ruin your finish
  • Afterward, rub them down with a tamping cloth to make extra sure no dust is left


Properly Prime All of Your Cabinet Boxes

Your next move for painting cabinets will be to prime all of your cabinet boxes in the correct fashion. If the cabinets are already heavily stained, you can use a stain blocking primer. Once applied, it will dry very quickly. Its purpose will be to seal up knot holes and smooth over over defects that damage the top.

Start at the very top of the cabinet. Spread the primer across the grain and then pass it lightly over the wet finish. This should be done in the exact direction the grain is going in, never against it. Use a motion that involves making one stroke from the left to the right side. This will smooth it over.

Follow the structure of the cabinet and door with your brush. In places where a rail runs into a stile, you should paint the rail first. Use a motion that overlaps into the stile. You can then paint the stile itself before the overlap dries. This will ensure a smooth drying transition from one area to the next.



Sand, Caulk, and Fill Up the Surfaces

The next steps of the process can be outlined as follows:

  • Let the primer dry, then sand the surface with 220 grit sandpaper
  • If any surfaces seem to be profiled, sand them down with a medium grit sanding sponge. The result should be a glassy smooth surface
  • If any seams are open, be sure to squeeze a thin bead of latex caulk into them.
  • Make sure that the hole in your caulk tube's tip is no bigger than the point of a sharpened pencil
  • As you go, pull the tip. Use a dampened finger to smooth out the caulk
  • Fill up all of the various dents and dings with a smattering of vinyl spackle
  • Smooth the spackle flat using a putty knife
  • Allow an hour for the spackle to dry
  • Sand over the surface again with 220 grit sandpaper
  • Vacuum the surface and wipe it down with a tamping cloth
  • Touch up the spackle using a spray can of oil-based primer. This should dry very quickly
  • After an hour has passed, sand it down with 280 grit sandpaper
  • Vacuum the surfaces once again and wipe them down with a tack cloth


It's Finally Time for Cabinet Painting

The time for your kitchen cabinet paint project has finally arrived. The first thing you will need to determine for repainting kitchen cabinets is whether or not you want to use more or less the same shade as the existing paint. If this is the case, you'll most likely need to make use of only 1 or 2 coats of paint.

If you want to paint over a darker finish with a lighter one, this will involve using probably 3 coats of paint. You should use a new brush for each new coat of paint. This is all the more true when painting stained cabinets since you have to be sure that a lighter shade of paint will totally cover the old darker one.

Start by working from top to bottom. The idea here will be to apply the paint to the exterior of each cabinet. Make sure to tip it off in a motion that is consistent with the direction of the grain, never against it.

From there, you will want to apply a cost of paint to the interior of the cabinet. Do so by using a mini roller with a smooth surface. This will leave a texture that is a bit like an orange peel with a few noticeable bumps.

Lightly sand the surface between applications of each coat. This will help to clean up any debris that may be left behind.



Prime and Paint Your Drawers, Doors, and Shelves

The next stage of learning how to paint cabinets will involve prepping, priming, and painting each door, drawer, and shelf. By this point, you will find yourself on the home stretch. You should do all of this on your work table in order to reduce the instance of dripping and spilling.

The process should be conducted in the following steps:

  • Start with the area around the panel of the door
  • Paint the main area of the panel
  • Finish by painting the stiles and edge rails
  • Wipe up all of the paint that falls on dry surfaces

If you want to speed up the drying time for the doors, drill some holes in an inconspicuous part of the edge. Then twist a pair of screw hooks into the holes. Paint the outside of the face of the door. Let it rest completely flat. It will take about an hour to dry out completely.

Once the door has dried, tilt it up onto the hooks. Put a drywall screw into one of the existing holes. Keep it tilted as you hold it up by the screw. This will allow you to paint the back side of the door.

After you are done painting, pick the door back up by the screw and one hook. You can then hang both of the hooks on a clothes hanger. You can then suspend the door from a shower curtain or strong clothes rod until it dries off.



Put Everything Back in its Proper Place

The last thing you will need to do after painting wood cabinets will be to make sure everything gets put back in its place. You can take care of this by following these quick and easy steps:

  • After the final coat of paint has dried, put back all of the shelves
  • Remove the tape over the number of each door
  • Reinstall the various hinges and knobs
  • Hang the hinges and knobs back in their original places
  • Replace the drawer pulls or add new ones
  • Put all of your drawers back in their proper place


What Tools Will You Need for the Job?

The very best way to paint kitchen cabinet is to make sure that you have all of the tools that you will need for the job. These will generally include the following:

  • Putty knife
  • Drill
  • Flat paint brush
  • Angled paint brush
  • Paint sprayer
  • Screwdriver

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