How to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

Refresh the look and feel of the heart of your home without committing to a large-scale renovation by repainting the kitchen cabinetry. While replacing appliances or installing new countertops can be expensive investments, painting your kitchen cabinets is an easy and affordable way to create a high level of impact on a budget. Since the kitchen cabinetry take up a great deal of kitchen real estate, updating them with a fresh color of paint can truly transform the way your room feels.

The Cost of Painting Your Kitchen Cabinets

Many homeowners choose to renovate their kitchen after years of use. However, the cost of installing new kitchen cabinets–even in a small space–can add up quickly. In most kitchen renovations, it is estimated that a whopping 40% of the overall budget is allotted to replacing cabinetry. In a relatively small 120-square foot kitchen, replacing cabinetry can reach around $5,000, even when opting for lower-end materials.

Fortunately, re-painting the existing cabinets is a more affordable approach to updating the space with many of the same aesthetic benefits. Depending on the amount of cabinetry you intend to cover and the type of paint you choose to use, the cost of repainting an entire kitchen’s worth of cabinetry is usually less than $200. In addition to saving time, painting the kitchen cabinets is a project that can be completed relatively quickly, needing no more than a few days of work.

How to Determine if You Can Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

Before you shop for your favorite paint color, you should double check that your current kitchen cabinets are in good enough condition to work on. While the transformative power of paint is impressive, some age-related degradation cannot be fixed with a fresh coat of paint. For example, laminate cabinets tend to peel over time, an issue that can only be resolved with a full replacement. However, if you find your cabinets are in good shape structurally, chances are they can be updated with a new paint job.

The Best Type of Paint for Your Kitchen Cabinets

Choosing the right paint for your kitchen cabinets will influence the quality of the final outcome. Working with either oil-based or latex-based paint should provide professional results, but there are pros and cons to working with each type.

Oil-based paints and topcoats tend to create harder, durable finishes that dry smoothly. Oil-based paints also dry more quickly than latex-based options. However, in terms of drawbacks, oil-based paints can be difficult to clean up in the event of drips and spills and are often considered less user-friendly than latex-based alternatives.

Latex-based paints also come with their own pros and cons. The pros of latex-based paints include their ability to clean up with water and acrylic formulas provide a high degree of durability. One major con of using latex-based paint is the lengthy curing time–sometimes requiring up to three weeks of drying time–during which the paint job is left vulnerable to damage.

Regardless of which type of paint you choose to use on your kitchen cabinets, it is recommended to apply your color using high-quality paint brushes as opposed to spraying it on. While spray-applied paint creates a beautifully even finish, it is best applied by a professional who has experience wielding the spray equipment. If you are working with oil-based paint, be sure to invest in quality natural-bristle brushes but if you plan to paint with latex-based acrylic paint, be sure to use a synthetic bristle brush.

In addition, make sure your primer is compatible with the type of paint you choose. This will ensure the paint adhere to the cabinets and will be longer lasting. An associate at Grayco can help you with any questions you have about the best primer to use!

How to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

Prepare Your Cabinets

With all your materials prepared, it’s time to clean and lightly sand down the cabinets in preparation for receiving new paint. By cleaning and sanding off any existing finish, you ensure that the cabinets will not experience any issues with adhesion of the new paint color.

Aside from preparing the exterior of the cabinets themselves, remember to remove any supplies you normally store in the cabinets, move free-standing appliances and furniture out of the room, and tape protective plastic sheeting over any exposed backsplash, windows, and appliances that are fixed in place. In addition to this, be sure to drape some rosin paper over the countertops and floors to prevent unwanted spills and drips from occurring.

Remove Cabinet Doors

Next, remove the kitchen cabinet doors by unscrewing the hinges from the cabinet frames. Mark each door in a hidden location, such as the small area behind the hinge, so that it is easy to keep track of its proper placement for later. Create a corresponding mark on the cabinet frames using labeled tape.

Remove Cabinet Hinges and Clean Thoroughly

With each piece carefully labeled, you can remove the hinges and hardware from the cabinet doors and drawer fronts so that it is possible to paint the entirety of these surfaces. You can now clean and sand down the surfaces of the cabinet doors, drawers, and boxes. Using a degreaser, remove any oils or grease that may have collected on the cabinetry over time. This will contribute to a smoother paint finish. Lightly sanding the exterior of the cabinetry components will also encourage the primer to adhere to the rough surface, so it is not necessary to sand the cabinets down to the bare wood.

Apply Primer and Let Dry

Next, apply primer to the cabinetry, allow the coat to dry completely, and then sand the surfaces again with 220-grit sandpaper. At the end, wipe the cabinetry with a tack cloth to remove any dust before proceeding to the next step.

Paint Using Your Favorite Color

Using your paint brushes, you can now apply your selected color to the cabinets. You may need to paint two to three coats in order to fully cover the cabinetry. If you intend to paint the cabinet interiors, be sure to remove shelving when possible and apply paint with a foam roller atop a work table. This will help prevent unwanted dripping and spilling during the paint job.

Reattach the Cabinets and Enjoy Your New Kitchen

Now that you have finished painting the cabinet boxes, doors, and drawers and have allowed the paint to fully cure, you can reattach all the pieces to the cabinet frames. First be sure to reattach any hardware, such as drawer pulls and cabinet handles. Next, matching the doors and drawers to their original position in the kitchen, attach the pieces to the main cabinet boxers by screwing the hinges back in place.

Find What You Need at Grayco

The Paint Center at Grayco Hardware & Home Center has everything you need to paint your kitchen cabinets. Our store representatives will be happy to provide advice and help you find what you’re looking for. Visit us today!

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