Everything You Need to Know About Painting Cabinets

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If you’ve purchased a home with an older kitchen or have been living in your current house for a while, you may be thinking about a serious kitchen makeover. You’d love to paint the walls, install new appliances, and rip out the cabinets.

Wait! If you’ve got nice wooden cabinets in your kitchen, hiring someone to rip them out and replace them may be overkill. You can save time and money by simply replacing the hardware on them and painting them yourself.

Don’t think you can paint cabinets? Don’t know the first thing about painting cabinets? Don’t worry, after reading this article, you’ll know everything you need to know about painting cabinets.

First Step: Get Organized

Before you get started, clear everything off of your kitchen counters to make a workspace. You’ll thank yourself later when you don’t have to-go menus, your son’s science book, a bowl of fruit, and random kitchen utensils getting in the way when you need a convenient place to lay out a big sheet of protective plastic all of your cleaning supplies and brushes.

Make sure to cover the backsplashes, countertops, and anything that shouldn’t get paint on it before you begin. Also, remove all of the cabinet hardware (including hinges — that’s right; you’re going to need to remove the cabinet doors). If you’re going to reuse the hardware, label each piece so you remember where it goes (you’ll thank yourself later).

Next Step: Prep and Prime

After you’re all organized, it’s time to apply some elbow grease and scrub all of the oil and kitchen grime off of your cabinets. If you’re installing new hardware, now is the time to fill in the old screw holes. You should also take time to fill in any other gaps or cracks with caulk; this will make the cabinets look even more beautiful when you’re finished.

Next comes the sanding. You’ll need 100-grit sandpaper to smooth out all of the cabinet surfaces. Once they’re sanded down, wipe away the sanding dust with a clean cloth.

The final step in this part of the process is priming. Do not neglect priming if you want the finished project to look truly professional. A primer will help ensure that the paint you choose will cover the cabinets properly. To determine what type of primer you need, use the SureSwatch Primer Decider before heading to the paint store.

Final Step: Paint Away

After all of the organizing, cleaning, and prepping, you’re finally ready to start painting cabinets! Hopefully, you painted a SureSwatch and used it to make absolutely certain that the color you’ve picked will look beautiful next to your backsplash, appliances, floors, and current wall colors. Because SureSwatches are removable, they make it easy to test new colors in different areas before you commit. Get the color of your choice in a latex satin finish; this is always an excellent choice for kitchen cabinetry.

With your new paint color in hand, use a mini foam roller and an angled brush to go to work. The angled brush is helpful for getting into hard-to-reach corners as you paint. Once you’re all finished and the paint has dried, you’ll be ready to reinstall the cabinet doors and admire your handiwork.

Common Mistakes When Painting Cabinets

Nearly all of the mistakes people make when painting cabinets involve trying to cut corners and rush the process. These include not cleaning properly before you begin, ensuring that the paint won’t stick. Often, people try to paint cabinet doors without taking them off their hinges or removing the hardware. When you do this, you won’t get proper coverage and in a short period of time, the paint will begin to crack and peel. Neglecting to label the hardware is another shortcut that’s guaranteed to create headaches later.

In short, if you devote enough time to the process and make sure to cover all of the necessary steps, painting cabinets can transform your kitchen — and you can use the money you save on that new stove you’ve been eyeing.


Want more tips and tricks on painting cabinets? Check out our blog!

Find SureSwatch at Home Depot, Walmart, and Ace Hardware.

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