How to paint kitchen cabinets

If you’re renovating the kitchen, the most significant financial decision you’ll have to make will be regarding the kitchen cabinets. A full cabinet replacement can be expensive. Instead, consider cabinet refinishing. Cabinet refinishing is when you paint your cabinet doors, drawer fronts and any exposed part of the cabinetry, instead of replacing it.

With new technology and techniques, Calgary cabinet painters can make your tired, and dated kitchen cabinets look modern and fresh again. Painting cabinets is a job best left for the pros. Their experience, knowledge, and specialized equipment can give your kitchen a perfect finish. If you’d like to attempt DIY cabinet painting, read these step-by-step instructions below.

How to paint kitchen cabinets

Steps for painting kitchen cabinets


Choose paint. 

You have two things to think about when choosing paint for cabinet painting. You much select the colour of the paint, obviously, as well as the type of paint. You can do some research online to find a cabinet colour that you like, and that will match the rest of your home’s design. White has been trending for many years, but so have bright colours like blue, or two-toned kitchen cabinets with one colour on top and another on the bottom. Read more about paint colours for kitchen cabinets.

You should also consider the type of paint. Some suggest paint that contains melamine will give you a more durable finish.

Prepare the kitchen.

When it comes to any painting project, proper prep is key to the best results. The first thing you must do is to prepare the room. Since kitchens and cabinets are generally full of stuff, you’ll have to remove everything from the space that will get in the way. You should also lay and tape down drop cloths around the cabinet boxes on the floor and countertops, so no paint drips on those surfaces.

Remove the cabinet doors, drawers, and hardware. 

Remove all the doors and drawers from the cabinets. Then remove all the hardware. You should mark each door and its corresponding space with masking tape, so you’ll remember what door goes where when it’s time to reassemble. If there are screws, tape them to the hardware they go with, so they don’t get lost.

Clean and the surfaces for painting. 

Wipe down every surface with a grease-removing cleaner like TSP. Lightly sand all the doors, boxes, and drawer fronts using 100-150 grit sandpaper. Sanding will smooth out any rough areas and help the paint properly stick to the surfaces. If there are holes, fill them with wood filler and sand them down once dry.

After you’ve sanded everything, you need to get rid of all the dust! Wipe down all surfaces with TSP cleaner to remove dust and debris and let everything dry thoroughly.

Time to paint – you have some options. 

When it is time to prime and paint the cabinets, you have some options. You can paint with a brush, a paint gun or send them off to a shop and have Calgary cabinet painters do it for you. If you decide to use a brush, make sure to purchase a high-quality brush, and be prepared to have some brush strokes. To avoid this, try to brush first against the grain and then with it.

The best and fastest options are using a paint gun with a compressor or sending it to a professional spray shop. When painted in a spray shop, your cabinet doors will come out with a factory finish, with no drips or brush marks. For many, this is worth the cost.

Before any paint goes on the surfaces, you should apply a primer coat first. It is recommended you let the primer dry for a few days before applying the top paint colour. Depending on the material of your cabinets, multiple coats of primer might be the best idea. Once the primer is dry, give the surface another light sanding. Then wipe it down, let it dry and apply the paint.

Remember, you should always work in a well-ventilated area. Open windows and turn on fans if you have them! When the paint is drying, you can use a fan in the room to keep dust from settling on the surfaces. It can take days and even weeks for cabinet paint to dry completely.

Be careful of these common DIY mistakes!

Not giving yourself enough time. 

DIY cabinet painting is not something you can tackle in one Saturday afternoon. It is an extensive project with many steps that can take several weekends. Skimping out on prep time will diminish your results, so make sure you give yourself the time required to complete this big project.

Skipping out on cleaning the surfaces.

Without proper preparation, any paint job can have bad results. You should wipe down everything with a grease remover, like TSP, before and after sanding your cabinet doors, side panels, and drawer fronts. It might look clean to the naked eye, but even a few drops of grease can harm the paint’s ability to stick to the surface. Put in the time and scrub things down.

Skipping out on sanding. 

The theme with cabinet painting is clear: it’s all about the preparation! Do not skip out on sanding every surface you plan on painting. A quick sanding, enough to take the surface from glossy to matte, will help the paint stick to it. You don’t have to sand it down to bare wood; just a quick buffing should do the trick.

Afterward, make sure to wipe down the surface again to remove all dust. Dust can be your enemy when it comes to interior painting.

Painting with the doors and drawers still on. 

You must remove the doors and drawers for painting. If you paint with everything in place, you will most certainly get amateur results. The paint, especially near the hardware, will show signs of wear very soon and you’ll have to redo them, especially if you’ve decided to paint right over the hinges and knobs. Save yourself the time, money, and the mess by removing everything first.

Forgetting what door goes where. 

They might all look the same, but your cabinet doors will have subtle differences and will only fit in their specific spot. Use a number labeling system or write each door’s exact location on a piece of masking tape stuck to the back. You don’t want to guess where a dozen or more doors must go back after a big paint job.

Choosing the wrong paint. 

Just because it’s on sale, doesn’t mean it’s the best paint for your kitchen cabinets. Ask the paint store what paint will be best for your cabinet’s specific material. They’ll suggest a paint type that will give you a smooth finish, and that will be durable and easy to clean too.

Choosing the wrong colour. 

Choosing the right colour is also very important. You don’t want to do all that work to discover you don’t like the colour of your kitchen cabinets. Consider painting a poster board with your top colour choices and hanging it up in the kitchen. Then you’ll know if it matches the backsplash, flooring and even appliances before investing so much effort and money into a paint colour that doesn’t.

If it seems like too much of a hassle, or if you’re not comfortable taking on this project, you should hire professional Calgary cabinet painters. With their expertise, skills, and spray centre, they can guarantee professional, seamless results. They’ll have it done in a fraction of the time, and you can rest assured knowing your kitchen renovation will increase the value of your property.

Hiring a professional cabinet painter.

If this all seems like too much of an undertaking, you can save yourself the time and headache by hiring a professional cabinet painter. New Look Cabinets specializes in cabinet painting. Calgary homeowners can trust that their kitchen renovation will be done professionally and at a fraction of the time compared to a time-consuming DIY job.

Contact New Look Cabinets & Interiors!  

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