If you feel like your kitchen is looking a little tired but you’re not ready to commit to a full renovation, painting cabinetry is an affordable and easy way to freshen the space. Although painting kitchen cabinets can take some time, even a brand-new DIYer can get the job done right with a little planning. Here, the experts at Jaeger Lumber share some tips and tricks to help you achieve a flawless final product.

Kitchen Cabinet Painting Supplies

Before you get started, it’s important to make sure you have all the supplies you need. Getting everything together ahead of time will save you time and help avoid any headaches when you’re further into the project. The supplies you should collect ahead of time include:

  • Trisodium phosphate (TSP) or another degreasing cleaner
  • Sanding block or sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Screwdriver
  • Painter’s tape
  • Quality primer
  • Good quality latex or hybrid enamel paint
  • Cabinet foam roller
  • Quality 3- to 4-inch square brush and angled 2.5- or 3-inch brush
  • Paint tray and liners
  • Drop cloth
  • Baggies for removed hardware
  • Masking tape to label hardware
  • Permanent marker to label baggies

Using a paint sprayer is also an option. However, you’ll have to rent if you don’t have one, which will increase costs. It’s also important to note that there’s a learning curve when it comes to using a sprayer. So, if you’re inexperienced, it’s better to stick to brushes and rollers.

Remove Hardware and Doors

Remove all hardware, including hinges, and place them in separate baggies, marked by the coordinating cabinet doors and drawers. This way, you’ll know which knobs and pulls, hinges, and screws go with each cabinet door. If you fail to do this, it can be a nightmare when it’s time to put your cabinets back together, so it’s well worth being organized at the beginning of the project. Removing the doors can help avoid drip marks, plus working on a flat surface makes painting them much easier.

Clean and Sand

Empty your cabinets and thoroughly clean all exterior surfaces you plan to paint with a TSP-type degreasing cleaner. Since you already removed everything, you might as well clean the insides with mild soap and water. A thorough cleaning and light sanding should do the trick to prepare cabinet surfaces for painting. Make sure to thoroughly wipe down the cabinets with a tack cloth to remove all sanding dust. Then apply painter’s tape to areas that need protection. Keep in mind that you’ll be sanding again between coats of paint. This is an essential step to get a smooth, professional-looking finish on your kitchen cabinets.

Prime the Cabinets

Once your cabinets are prepped and ready to go, it’s time to apply a stain-blocking primer. This is another crucial step to get the best results possible. Lay down a drop cloth and put your doors on an elevated surface. Putting books or something else under them to raise them a little makes it easier to paint the edges. A small 4-inch foam roller is best for painting cabinets since it’s easy to control and the foam nap provides a smoother look. You can also use brushes for those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies. While the cabinet doors dry, paint the cabinet frames. Painting the longest/largest surfaces first can help you avoid crossed brush strokes.

Apply Paint

Letting the primer dry completely is a must before applying the paint. Although a lot of pros like to use oil paint for the best finish, it has a strong odor and makes brushes and rollers harder to clean. Latex or hybrid enamel paint is durable and looks great. If you’re undecided about which type of paint to use, it’s always a good idea to consult building professionals about which type they recommend.

 It’s best to let the paint dry for at least 4 hours between coats. Remember to also lightly sand with fine sandpaper and gently wipe with a tack cloth between coats. Applying at least three coats will give you the best results. Once you’re satisfied with the way the cabinets look, wait at least 48 hours to let the paint cure before reattaching hardware and doors. Latex paint can take a couple of weeks to fully cure, so be careful not to scrape or slam doors.

Painting Tips from the Pros

In addition to the methods and tips above, here are some additional tips from the professionals:

Give Yourself Plenty of Time

Painting kitchen cabinets isn’t a rush job and may take about four to seven days including prep time.

Use Quality Tools and Paint

Buying good paintbrushes is well worth the cost when it comes to painting your kitchen cabinets. It’s also important to use foam rollers for a smooth finish. The nap of traditional rollers typically used on walls will create too much texture in your finish. Your cabinets and drawers are opened and closed thousands of times each year, so it’s vital to select a paint that will stand up to a lot of use.

Clean Cabinets Thoroughly

Kitchen cabinets not only get splattered with grease from cooking, natural oils on your fingers and hands get on the finish as well. If you don’t remove grease and grime completely, the paint may not stick in those areas.

Label Doors and Parts

Labeling each door with a sticky note or masking tape on the back can ensure you put them back in the right place. Placing hardware in small plastic bags labeled with a permanent marker will save you tons of time and headaches as well.

Start Your Kitchen Makeover Today

Jaeger Lumber is a full-service provider of building products, kitchen and bath design, and garage doors. If you’re painting your kitchen cabinets, our experienced professionals are happy to answer any questions and help you choose the right supplies for your project. We offer friendly service from any of our eight convenient locationsContact us today to get started on your kitchen makeover.

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