Transform the look of your cupboards with the right prep, primer, and cabinet paint—on a budget.
If you’ve noticed the cost of new appliances, countertops, and cabinets, it’s no surprise that renovating a kitchen is one of the most expensive remodeling projects. While few homeowners find ways to boost the look of a dated refrigerator or tired granite, transforming a kitchen by freshening the cabinets that make up most of the room’s visual space is entirely within reach. But there’s more to the job than buying a gallon of your favorite color.
Painting Kitchen Cabinets Can Freshen Up Your Cookspace
The saying that a successful paint job relies on diligent prep work is fitting when finishing previously coated cabinets. Unlike drywall, cabinets are made out of a variety of materials—from wood to metal—that are then covered with a range of finishes, from oil-based paint to plastics. But armed with the right primer, quality paint, the patience not to rush the process, and a long weekend, a DIYer can overhaul a kitchen without going over budget.
What To Do Before You Start
Consider The Cost and Get a New Kitchen on a Dime
Cabinets can account for nearly 40 percent of a kitchen’s cost. Here’s how three common cabinet upgrades stack up in an average 10-by-10-foot the 1 last update 2020/06/03 kitchen. Cabinets can account for nearly 40 percent of a kitchen’s cost. Here’s how three common cabinet upgrades stack up in an average 10-by-10-foot kitchen.
Repainting would cost less than $200. Adding new the 1 last update 2020/06/03 drawers and doors runs about $1,300, while upgrading to ready-to-assemble cabinets starts at about $1,630.Repainting would cost less than $200. Adding new drawers and doors runs about $1,300, while upgrading to ready-to-assemble cabinets starts at about $1,630.
Set up a Temporary Kitchen
Painting your cabinets means taking a vital room completely off-line.
Plan ahead: Set up a kitchen in a nearby the 1 last update 2020/06/03 room with a hot plate, a toaster oven, and a cooler to serve as a fridge during the project. Oh, and use paper plates.Plan ahead: Set up a kitchen in a nearby room with a hot plate, a toaster oven, and a cooler to serve as a fridge during the project. Oh, and use paper plates.
Spray a degreaser, such as Spray Nine, onto a cloth or abrasive kitchen scrub sponge and wipe all the cabinet surfaces to remove any oil—critical for the primer to stick.
Clean all six surfaces of each drawer or cabinet door as well as the face frames and exposed sides of the boxes.
Pay particular attention to the cabinets around the cooktop and hood, which are often coated with grease.
Use a palm sander fitted with 100-grit sandpaper to remove the finish from cabinet doors, drawers, and boxes.
Next, hand-sand the molding contours and the areas where those details meet the panel. You know you’ve removed the finish once the sheen is gone.
Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Then use a dry paintbrush or a wet/dry vac to remove the dust before wiping the surfaces with a tack cloth.
Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Prime
Use a 2½- or 3-inch-wide angled sash brush to apply primer to the cabinet door.
Start in the seam where the panel meets the molding along all four sides. Then move to cover the rest of the panel before focusing on the stiles and rails that make up the door’s frame.
Check out the jig below (“Set Up a DIY Paint Station”); it will make the painting-and-drying process easier.
Set Up a DIY Paint Station
Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for This makeshift jig provides access to all sides of a cabinet door for 1 last update 2020/06/03 to reduce downtime during drying. Here’s how to set it up: This makeshift jig provides access to all sides of a cabinet door to reduce downtime during drying. Here’s how to set it up:
- Span a pair of 2x4s at eye level between two ladders.
- Screw eye hooks into one end of a 2x4, where doors will be painted, and at the other end, screw hooks into both 2x4s to hang painted doors from.
- Add corresponding hooks to the top edges of upper cabinet doors and the bottoms of lower doors and drawers, where the holes left behind won’t be visible.
Paint, Materials, and Tools
The Multisurface Primer
A top coat of paint will probably flake free without a good primer beneath it. And while most DIYers are familiar with the primer used on walls, that’s not the best option on cabinets. “Wall primer is designed to fill the pores in drywall, allowing the paint to form a mechanical bond,” says Rich O’Neil, president of Masterwork Painting in Woburn, MA. “Cabinets won’t have pores, so use a primer that grips chemically.”
These special coatings, called bonding primers, hold like glue to nearly any cabinet finish, from the varnishes that cover many painted and stained cabinets to the vinyl on Thermofoil and plastic-covered melamine.
Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Toughen Up Latex Paint
Latex paint is easy to work with and clean up, but on abuse-prone cabinets it could use some added muscle. Mix this additive with water-based paint (32 ounces treats 2 gallons of paint), and the ceramic beads inside bind to the resins in the paint. The result is a water-based paint that protects like an oil-based coating, with improved hardness that resists dings, scratches, and chips.
- Paint - Look for a paint designed for trim, often labeled enamel. The higher the sheen, the more durable the finish—high gloss will stand up better than satin.
- Roller - Use a 4- or 6-inch foam roller to cover the sides of cabinets and their face frames.
- Square Brush - The straight end of a 3- to 4-inch-wide brush makes short work of large, flat panels.
- Angled Brush - A synthetic angled brush in the 2½- or 3-inch-wide range helps you get paint into corners of doors with molding, and can coat door frames in one pass.
- HVLP Sprayer - Not into the hand-brushed look? Spraying on a top coat is the easiest way to get a smooth, factory-like finish. High volume/low pressure sprayers are versatile enough to spray cabinets, fence panels, or exterior trim.
Cabinet Paint Color Ideas
Set against white countertops and a backsplash, these blue-green cabinets have an aged, hand-brushed look. The color is a calm background note to the shiny brass cabinet hardware.
Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Short on time? You can make a dramatic impact by changing the color on a few doors and drawer fronts. Choose cabinets that are grouped together, as seen here, to avoid a polka-dot effect.
Kitchens in older homes, evolving over time, often have mixed hues. Evoke that vintage feel by introducing a contrasting color, like the gray-blue seen on this island, which also has feet that give it the look of furniture.
Top to Bottom
An easy way to unify the look of a kitchen is to use one color for cabinets and trim. Here, the same cheery yellow on the base cabinets extends up the wall to the casings and crown, contrasting with darker windows.
Cabinet Knobs and Handles
Drawer pull with octagonal trim in brass, $7; Restoration
Ringed cabinet knob in polished nickel, $9; Rejuvenation
Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Horizontal pull and backplate in black, $7; Liberty Hardware
Antique-brass cabinet latch, $15; House of Antique Hardware
Door pull with black powder-coated finish, $33; House of Antique Hardware
Thanks to: Rich O’Neil, Masterwork Painting & Restoration, Inc., Woburn, MA; 781-275-3050
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