Written By : Zee Kay

The step-by-step idea to painting over kitchen cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets is not an easy task if you start it without proper planning, this article gives you the step-by-step idea to paint over kitchen cabinets but finally, that needs your free time to manage your task well and easily. You have to choose the appropriate paint for your type of cabinets, laminate, solid wood, or metal.  I like wood cabinets, that are ideal for painting, but it does not mean that we can not paint other surfaces. Laminate cabinets need a special bonding primer, but for any type of cabinet I recommend using high-quality paint, different companies sell special paint for kitchen cabinets, easily available in the markets. Acrylic paint is better than vinyl.

refinished kitchen cabinets

Materials you need

  • Microfiber roller and tray
  • Paintbrush
  • Painter’s tape
  • Primer
  • High-quality paint
  • Sugar soap wipes
  • Dust mask
  • Eye protection
  • Paint cloth
  • Rubber gloves
  • Screwdriver
  • Plain cloth

Remove the cabinet doors and hardware

1The first thing you have to use safety gear and keep the windows and doors open for ventilation. Unscrewing and take all the cabinets doors, drawers fronts, and their handles off the kitchen and grab a packet of stickers or painter’s tape to label the number behind the drawers and doors before taking them off so you would remember where you will reinstall them back. Remember to have a handy cup to put all the screws in, so you do not lose them when it is time to put your cabinets back on.

If your old paint is in good condition and you are going to repaint with the existing color that is fine but if not, the old should be removed with a paint remover strip, stripping products are available in the market. Just give a brush of paint remover and wait for the remover to react, and peel it away with a plastic scraper. Use sandpaper for the final finish.

Clean the surface and repair the damages

2The next step is cleaning your cabinets with sugar soap wipes for a nice squeaky clean finish to paint over, TSP cleaner is another option for cleaning greasy surfaces but in some countries, TSP is banned. Just wipe down your cabinets with your cleaner and some water but it must be patted dry straight away to reduce the risk of water marks. If you are concerned about gritty sugar soap, I will suggest trying it on a test area first because gritty sugar soap may cause damage to delicate surfaces.

If your drawers or cabinets have any deep gouges, cracks, or dents fill that with wood filler to make the surface even before sanding. Keep in mind that slick surfaces are not ideal for painting, your paint will peel off and you will have to start over again, so this is better to lightly sand the surface for 5 minutes that primer and paint will stick properly. It is up to you if you want sandpaper or an electric sander but for the detailed areas on doors and drawers, you should use folded sandpaper. Once you finish cleaning and making smooth the surface, you should cover all the areas you want to protect by placing painter’s tape on the wall along the edges of the cabinet.

Apply primer

3Primer is a necessary part of the painting process that provides an ideal surface for the paint to stick to. You can find different brands of a primer such as Dulux, Zinsser, Sherwin Williams, KILZ, etc in the market. It is also your choice to choose oil-based primer or latex one, latex primer is fine if you are going to repaint your kitchen cabinets and oil primer is fine if you are painting stained cabinets, that also dries harder than latex and it seals the surface, but remember that in some countries or states oil-based paint or primer is illegal to use.

Whatever brand you choose, you have to apply primer with long smooth strokes for even distribution. For frames and inside areas of the cabinets, you should use a small brush while for large and flat areas mini roller is fine. Don’t worry if that does not look perfect its work is only to provide a good base for the finish paint.  Once you finish applying primer, ran an empty roller over the top to give it a nice layoff.

Most primers take 1 to 3 hours to dry but better to read the manufacturer’s label on the primer you are using to be sure. Humidity level may increase the time to dry the primer.

First coat of paint

4Once your primer has dried, the next step is to give your first coat of paint to your cabinets, same as above you can use any specific painting brand for your kitchen renovation. Apply your paint in the same way you applied your primer using long, smooth, sweeping strokes and let it dry. If you are using latex paint, you have to wait for 2 to 4 hours to dry but oil paint takes up to 24 hours to dry after the first coat.

Second coat of paint

5Once your first coat has dried just move ahead for the second coat on your cabinets. The second coat will make them better, you may use fine-grit sandpaper or an extra-fine sanding sponge before the second coat for the smoothest result, but if you are not concerned about sanding on the first coat you should ignore that and give the second coat without sanding.

Two coats are enough for cabinets. And make sure to leave the cabinets for the same time mentioned above after the second coat.

You have done

6You have done, and finally this the time to put your cabinets back into the kitchen after your second coat has dried. Remove the tape but keep in mind that pulling the tape away from the paint area will peel the color off if the painting surface is still gummy, so wait at least you feel the paint is a dry well. re-attach handles and hang your cabinets back.

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