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How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets Yourself

Paint your kitchen cabinets is one of the best ways to makeover your kitchen, and if you do it yourself, it could cost you less than $500.

A kitchen cabinet makeover is more challenging than painting a room, and it will take a lot more of your time. But, most homeowners can paint kitchen cabinets and obtain a quality finish.

3 Standard Painting Methods for Cabinets

There are three standard techniques you can use to apply the finish, and each will reach method will provide a different quality of finish.

Brush and Roller – You can use a brush and paint roller to get a quality finish.  You can use the brush to push the paint into tight corners, and the paint roller to produce a flat smooth finish on the flat surfaces.  Using a proper brush and roll technique can provide a near-paint sprayer-like finish.

The benefit of using a brush and roller for your kitchen cabinet painting project is that you don’t have to worry about overspray as you do with a paint sprayer; therefore, you won’t have to take considerable time masking off your kitchen.

Paint Sprayer – Using a paint sprayer, you can get a smooth glass-like finish on your kitchen cabinets.  Since you are using a paint sprayer to apply the paint, you avoid brush strokes and roller marks.

The drawback to using a paint sprayer is that there is a bit of a learning curve to become proficient, so you may need to practice using a sprayer before you start painting your cabinets.  Another drawback to using a paint sprayer is that you will need to protect your home from overspray by masking off walls, counters, and floors. Furthermore, a paint sprayer can cost anywhere from $300 – $3,000.

Paint Sprayer, Brush, and Roller Combination – You may not want to use a sprayer in your house you might consider using a combination of brush and roller and paint sprayer.  You can use the brush and roller to paint the boxes inside your home, then use the paint sprayer to paint the cabinet doors in your garage or outdoors.  The fact is the cabinet doors mostly hide the cabinet boxes, so brush and roller marks are seldom seen.

Preparing Your Cabinets for Paint

Remove the Doors and Drawers – Remove all the cabinet doors and drawers.  Label the back of the doors and drawers to that you know precisely where they go. Make sure you put all the hardware and screws that you remove into a labeled plastic bag.  Remove the doors from the kitchen area to where they are going to be painted, like a garage.

Clean the Cabinet Surfaces – Kitchen cabinets get spattered with their fair share of oil and dirt, especially if you like to cook. That is why it is essential to clean your cabinets thoroughly to remove all dirt, grime, and grease.  Use a strong degreaser like TSP to clean your kitchen cabinets.  Cleaning the kitchen cabinets is the most crucial step in the cabinet prepping process.

Learn more about how to clean your kitchen cabinets before painting.

Scuff Sand the Cabinet Surfaces – The idea here is not altogether to remove the existing finish but to de-gloss and to provide rough up the surface so that the ponding primer (more on that on the next step) has “tooth” to grab hold.  I typically use 180 or 220 grit sandpaper to scuff sand—scuff sand all the doors, drawers, and cabinet boxes.  Be sure to clean off all of the dust with a vacuum and wet tack cloth before moving onto the next step.

Preparing Your Cabinets for Paint

Prime Before You Paint – You need to prime your cabinets before your painting.  A coat of bonding primer does what it says, bonds.  You need that layer of primer to stick to cabinets and the paint to stick to primer.

Using a bonding primer will ensure that your finish lasts long and reduce the amount of paint that you will need.

Allow the primer time to dry per the manufacture’s recommendation.  Once dry, lightly sand the primed surface to remove any bumps or ridges.  Then vacuum and tack cloth off all of the dust.  Now you are ready for the first coat to paint.

Painting Your Cabinets – Congratulations if you have made it this far.  You have completed the most time-consuming tasks, and now it’s time to reap your rewards and start painting your cabinets.

You should apply an even thin coat of paint using every painting technique you have chosen. Applying the paint using multiple thin and even coats of paint will provide better results than applying a couple of thick layers.  Don’t put it on thick because you might get drips or heavy stipple or brush marks, which are difficult to fix.  Allow the painted surface to dry and then apply a second coat according to the manufacture’s recommendation.

It is rare or near impossible to get a quality finish with a single coat of paint.  The fact is that a second coat will provide a better finish and a more durable one too.

Allow the second coat to dry for at least 24 hours.

Install Your Newly Painted Doors onto Your Newly Painted Boxes – Put the doors and drawers back on, and you are all set.

Preparing Your Cabinets for Paint

What Paint Do You Recommend for Kitchen Cabinets?

What paint is best for kitchen cabinets is a question that is up for massive debate in the professional cabinet refinishing community. If you ask 50 different experts what paint they recommend for painting kitchen cabinets, you will likely get 50 different answers. The truth is that it DEPENDS and there isn’t any one correct answer. But since this is a DIY type article, I am going to recommend paint to you that is easy to apply, looks great, and is durable.

Benjamin Moore Advance Paint

Inslx Cabinet Coat Paint

From my experience, I recommend Insl-x Cabinet Coat paint. It is an excellent paint that levels out nicely, dries fast, and provides a quality lustrous finish. Cabinet Coat is a water-based urethane acrylic, so it is easy to clean up, and it dries very hard.

A close runner-up for DIY cabinet painting is Benjamin Moore Advance. Advance is also a water-based enamel paint that looks amazing. I think it looks better than Cabinet Coat, but it’s the only drawback is that it takes a long time to dry.

I hope you enjoyed this article on How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets Like a Pro. For more information about kitchen cabinet painting, visit my blog, well-written blog articles on kitchen cabinet painting.

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