Painting Kitchen Cabinets - The Mystery Revealed

It is possible to get a professional finish when painting your wood cabinets yourself. Here are the steps you should take to ensure that you have a smooth transition. 



Be sure to scrub the surface of your cabinets to ensure that they are free of grease debris caused by the day to day use of your kitchen cabinets. Use a mild soap such as dish soap and a natural bristled scrub brush to get the best results with the least effort. Then wipe them down with a clean rag that is free of any lint or dirt. Oh, and don’t forget to remove your hardware! Now you are ready for the next step in the process. 


Patch and Fill

Use Wood glue to fill any nicks or holes that are prominent enough to pool your paint. If you are going to change your hardware, fill the holes drilled from your previous hardware installation. 



Lightly sand doors on all sides. You do not have necessarily have to sand off all of the current paint. But you will want to make sure that your surface will be corse enough to absorb the primer and smooth enough not to cause problems with lumps later. You will also want to be careful when sanding the edges as you do not want to smooth out your edge detailing. 


Apply Primer/Sealer

A good primer will eliminate the need to deglaze the remaining paint and will help your finish coat to go on smoothly and adhere to the surface. It will also even out any color variation from previous finishes. 


Apply the Paint


There are several tools that work well for applying paint to cabinet doors. A small round roller will be vital in getting enough paint on the surface but still giving you a good amount of control over where it lands. You can use this in conjunction with a brush to even out any drips and drops that occur. Your first coat should be an even thin layer of paint. The second can be a bit thicker but be sure that you wait several hours in between coats to avoid pulling the paint from the surface. And wipe away any dust with a tack cloth. You should be able to get away with two coats provided you have used a good quality paint and the correct type for the application. Ask the hardware or paint store resident paint expert, if you are lucky enough to have one and they will most likely be able to walk you through the process of choosing the correct formula and color for your kitchen. 



You are almost done! Now you want to apply a clear seal over the top of the last coat of paint. There are several options to choose from. You can either choose a Polyurethane which is oil based or a Polyacrylic which is water based. There are also sprays and glazes available. You will need to do some research to find out what works best for your project.  Apply the first coat, a very thin layer. You will want to wait at least two hours in between coats. Apply the second, then lightly sand any bubbles or imperfections. Make sure to wipe away any dust left over from sanding before adding your third and final coat of sealer.  



Your last step is to reattach your hardware and reattach your doors to the cabinet boxes. You will need to wait at least 24 hours after applying your final coat of sealer. You may need to drill extra holes if you are changing your hardware.

Now you should have a beautiful professional looking finish and an updated look for your kitchen!


By: Lori Williams