Painting Cabinets: A Brief How-To

The process of painting your cabinets sounds simple. Pick a color, grab a paintbrush, and get going. However, there is more to painting your cabinets than assumed. It is a procedure that needs to be done correctly with the right tools. When you have made the decision to paint your cabinets, make sure you set aside a reasonable amount of time so you are not rushed and have the time to do it right. Also, be prepared to not have full access to the kitchen, laundry room, bathroom, or the room where the project will take place. To inform you on the potential time and effort painting your cabinets may take, here is an example of a step-by-step procedure list to follow.

1. Color/Design

The first step of this process might be the most important. Picking the color or design of your new cabinets could take multiple opinions, and possibly a couple of days or weeks to finalize. Do not rush yourself during the decision process of picking the new color or the new design of your cabinets. Also, it is advised that you test out the color or design you have decided on. Often times, the paint color will go on differently depending on the current color and condition of your cabinets. It is suggested that you trial a couple different colors or designs you are considering and compare them before you make a final decision. As a tip, it is smart to test the color or design on the inside of your old cabinet style. After you have finally decided on the perfect color and design, buy the necessary amount of paint for your project. Remember- it is recommended to buy more than less. It is always better to be safe than sorry, especially when buying paint where matching the exact shade can be tricky.

2. Preparation

The preparation it takes to paint cabinets is arguably the most time consuming and possibly the most frustrating step during this process. The necessary steps to prepare you to paint your cabinets are the following:

a. Remove cabinets and doors- Do this as carefully as possible. The last thing you want is a broken, cracked, or severely scratched cabinet. A great tip to consider is to number or label the cabinets and drawers as you remove them. This will make the procedure of putting them back much faster, less of a hassle, and save you from confusion.

b. Sand and clean- Sanding and cleaning your cabinets will vary depending on the current condition of your cabinets and what you are planning to do to them. There are many different products available to clean your cabinets. Ask a professional before buying a product so you will get the best solution for your cabinets. Be sure to thoroughly clean off any access dust after sanding.

c. Tape- Make sure to tape off any countertops, appliances, floors, part of the ceiling, and the inside of the cabinet frames. Sometimes, people try to skip this step out thinking it is not necessary. However, you will not regret it! Just do it!

3. Practice

Before you start painting, it is smart to practice. If you are using a paint sprayer, get familiar with the sprayer and it’s settings. All paint sprayers differ and the intensity, amount of paint it releases, and the speed vary. It is a good idea to practice using the paint gun on cardboard if possible. If you are painting your cabinets by hand, practice the design and technique on the inside of the cabinets first. Make sure you are using a paintbrush you like and is consistent in its’ strokes. Practice makes perfect!

4. Prime

Priming your cabinets can be an easy step to skip, however, it is not a smart step to skip. Priming your cabinets is crucial and will highly benefit you in the long run, leaving your cabinets with a longer lasting, smoother, and more quality paint job. Ask an expert when picking the brand and type of paint prime for best results. It is suggested to wait up to 24 hours in-between priming and painting.

5. Paint

The time has finally come to paint your cabinets! Depending on your method of painting, the amount of time painting will take will depend. Apply the appropriate amount of coats and be sure to allow a decent amount of time in-between coats to avoid potential disaster. Take your time and be precise! If you are using a spray gun on the frames of your cabinets, it is suggested to use a fine spray to avoid dripping as much as possible.

6. Dry

Allow a decent amount of time for your cabinets to dry. Again, it is better to be safe than sorry! The more time you give them to fully and completely dry, the better! Be patient. A good way to gauge if paint is dry enough to be worked is feeling for any level of stickiness. If the paint feels wet, soft, moldable, or absorbs even part of a fingerprint, it is not ready yet.

7. Apply hinges and handles

There is always new technology and the latest and greatest when it comes to hinges and handles. If you are considering new handles or hinges, now is the perfect time to replace the old with the new. Hidden hinges are a particularly classy yet inexpensive upgrade that distinguishes old cabinets from new.

8. Putting it all together

You may be getting anxious at this point, but take your time while putting your room back together. Remove plastic and tape and start re-installing all cabinets, drawers, and doors. If you used a numbering or labeling method while taking down your cabinets, this is where you will highly benefit from that step.

9. Enjoy!

Step back and admire your hard work! Give yourself the credit you deserve. The completion of this process is worth celebrating! Take pictures and invite guests over to see your new room! Painting your cabinets is a rewarding process and the final results will be admired for years to come!

Written by Jason, a freelance writer for Cabinet Coatings of America in the greater Phoenix area.



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