The Dos and Don'ts of DIY Cabinet Painting

calander Apr 14 , 2023 user-iconAnderson Painting
Woman painting a cabinet.

Are you thinking of applying a fresh coat of paint on the cabinets you have at home? Not so fast. Tackling this project alone isn’t as simple as it may seem. Hiring professionals for a task like this is always recommended. That said, if you’re committed to painting your cabinets on your own, this article will give tips for a successful DIY cabinet painting project.

Painting cabinets is undoubtedly one of the best ways to breathe new life into a tired and dull space without breaking the bank. If you're starting this project and don’t want to make a mess of your home, schedule, or budget, take note of the following dos and don'ts of painting kitchen cabinets.

Painting Cabinets: Do These Things

Painting cabinets may seem straightforward—you get a brush and paint over the cabinet. But to achieve a smooth and professional finish, you must also pay attention to small details.

Consider Your Cabinet's Condition and Finishing Material

Before heading out to your local hardware store or visiting an online shop to purchase painting materials, determine whether that paint is ideal for refinishing or repainting your cabinet. While it's possible to paint cabinets, there are cases when it is better not to.

For example, if the cabinets have doors falling off their hinges or have a lot of water damage, getting a replacement will be more cost-effective than painting in the long run. Refinishing cabinets yourself is also not ideal if they are covered in rigid thermofoil or plastic laminate. The paint does not stick well to these materials, so plenty of preparation will be needed, such as sanding the glossy surface, which could be time intensive.

Learn About Different Types of Paint

Paints come in different types; not everything will work best for your cabinet. Learning about what kinds of paint are available and the best possible application will help you find the right one for your needs. Some options include oil-based paints, latex paint, and alkyd paint.

Oil-based paints provide good coverage over wood grain and offer a durable finish. On the other hand, latex paint adheres to surfaces with existing latex or oil paint coverage, dries quickly, and often has low VOC formulas. Alkyd paints are water-based and scuff-resistant, offering thicker coverage with just one coat. Each option has disadvantages, so learning about them is crucial.

Set a Realistic Schedule

Depending on the size and number of cabinets, cabinet painting could take weeks. You also need to factor in the layout of your kitchen, as it will determine how fast you can move in the working area. Generally, you cannot expect to see results overnight. So, make sure to set a realistic working schedule.

Prepare Your Cabinets Properly

Proper prep work is vital to achieving a professional-looking finish. Start by removing all hardware and doors from your cabinets. Next, thoroughly clean all surfaces with a grease remover to remove any built-up grime or grease. Sand all surfaces with fine-grit sandpaper to create a rough surface for the paint to adhere to.

Get Help If You Can

DIY cabinet painting is a big job. If things are getting more challenging or you just want to ensure a professional-looking finish, do not hesitate to consider using a painting professional like Anderson Painting. By hiring a professional painting contractor, you can be sure your cabinet will look exactly how you want.

Cabinet Painting: Don’t Do This

It's common to make mistakes when you handle projects like cabinet painting without the help of professionals. Here are some "don'ts" to keep in mind to ensure that your cabinet painting project is a success.

Skipping the Prep Work

One of DIYers' biggest mistakes when painting cabinets is skipping the prep work. Painting over dirty, greasy, or otherwise damaged cabinets will only result in a subpar finish that will quickly chip and peel. To get the best results, start by cleaning your cabinets thoroughly with a grease-cutting cleaner, then sand them down to create a rough surface to which the paint can adhere.

Skipping the Primer

Priming is an essential step in achieving a professional-looking finish. It helps the paint adhere better, helps seal any stains or discoloration that may bleed through the paint, and creates a smooth surface for the paint to go on. Use a high-quality primer specifically designed for cabinets or furniture.

Rushing the Painting Process

When it comes to painting cabinets, patience is vital. Rushing the process will only lead to mistakes and a less-than-perfect finish. Take your time and apply thin, even coats of paint, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next. You must let each coat dry for at least 24 hours before applying another coat to ensure that your cabinets look great and that the paint job will last for years.

Don't Skimp on Quality Materials

Invest in quality materials if you want your DIY-painted kitchen cabinets to look great and last for years. This means choosing high-quality paint, brushes, and rollers designed specifically for use on cabinets. While it may be tempting to cut costs by choosing cheaper materials, doing so will only result in a subpar finish that will require costly touch-ups down the line.

Not Sealing the Cabinets

Finally, once you've finished painting your cabinets, it's essential to seal them to protect the finish and ensure they look great for years to come. There are a variety of sealers available, including polyurethane and wax, so be sure to choose the one best suited for your cabinets.

Painting cabinets in your home is one of the best ways to breathe new life into a tired and dull space on your property. A fresh coat of paint could give a room a fresh and updated look without breaking the bank. Painting cabinets can be a time-consuming and tricky process. To ensure a successful outcome, take these dos and don'ts to heart.

When Is It Best to Hire a Professional?

While DIY cabinet painting can save you money and give you a sense of satisfaction, it's always wise to hire a professional. Here are some situations where hiring a professional for cabinet painting is certainly the way to go.

Large or Intricate Cabinets – The painting process can be overwhelming if you have a large kitchen with many cabinets or intricate details. A professional cabinet painter has the experience and tools necessary to handle these types of cabinets, ensuring a smooth and even finish.

Lack of Experience – You probably want to try new things. But cabinet painting is a big job that involves hours of work and a relatively significant amount of money. If you haven't painted cabinets before, things could go wrong. You may end up with more issues that are costly to fix. So, consider hiring professionals instead.

Time Constraints – Consider hiring a professional cabinet painter if you have a tight deadline or limited time to complete the project. You can talk about the timeframe, and professional painting contractors have the resources to meet your requirements.

Safety Concerns – Cabinet painting requires the use of harsh chemicals, including paint thinners and solvents. If you're uncomfortable working with these chemicals or don't have the proper safety gear, hire a professional to ensure your safety.

Quality Concerns – Experts can guarantee a professional-looking finish and meet specific requirements for the color or finish of your cabinets.

DIY Cabinet Painting: The Takeaway

Painting cabinets isn't as easy as what you might see online. Many things need to be considered to achieve the perfect, long-lasting result. If you're planning to DIY the task, research what you need to know before painting cabinets. If you're not confident and do not want to risk wasting time and money, there's nothing wrong with seeking help from pros.

If you're searching for reliable painters who can paint your cabinets, Anderson Painting can help. Our team has been painting for decades. Get a quote or contact our team for more information.


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