Sunday, January 29, 2017


Painting kitchen cabinets can be a relative easy and straight forward job provided that you follow the basic steps as discussed below. These are general guidelines but kitchens are manufactured in different materials such as MDF (medium density fibre) board, laminated particle board and hard wood and each can present different problems when paint is applied. The finishing on cabinets can also be of a wide variety such as varnish, furniture oil or wax and other clear finishes such as lacquer. Each of these also need to be treated differently before applying paint. It makes sense to do a bit of research before you jump in and start painting. I have been painting all kinds of kitchens as part of my business and published a book “PaintingKitchen Cabinets – a do it yourself guide” in which you will find everything you need to know to paint your kitchen cabinets.

Painted kitchen cabinets
1. Stripping and cleaning
This is the first step and all doors and drawers should first be labelled before disassembled. Also remove all hardware and hinges before cleaning. Cleaning is vital because kitchen cabinets collect a lot of dirt and grease over time that must be removed before you start painting. I use or All Surface Prep.

2. Fixing and Repairing.
If you have cabinets that are damaged or have dents or scratches, you should now do repairs. Dents, holes and scratches can be filled with wood filler and sanded to a smooth finish before proceeding.

3. Sanding
I list this as a separate step because of its importance. No matter what type of existing finish you are dealing with, sanding is absolutely essential to get a smooth finish or when paining smooth finishes such as melamine, to roughen up the surface to provide a key for the paint to stick to. Start off with a 220 grit sand paper and finish with a 360 grit paper. Also always sand between coats with a 220 grit sand paper. If you have a lot of cabinets to paint you should invest in an electric orbital sander.

4. Priming
If you are painting a new surface, it is best to apply a wood primer. On previously painted surfaces you can use an under coat. The general rule is that a under coat is always a primer but a primer is not always an under coat. Different surfaces may require different under coats but in general it is best to use  a multi surface undercoat such as  Rust – Oleum Bulls Eye Multi Surface Primer. This is a water based product that is easy to apply and brushes and paint equipment is cleaned with water and soap.

5.Best paint for kitchen cabinets
You are now ready to start painting. The question is what type of paint will be best for kitchen cabinets? In the past most kitchen cabinets were painted with oil based paints but in recent years there was a shift to more eco-friendly water based paints. I would suggest a water borne Alkyd paint such as Benjamin Moore’s Advance range of paints. Other manufacturers such as Dulux also have a specialized kitchen paint.

To find out more about painting your kitchen cabinets get my e-book  "Painting Kitchen Cabinets - a do it yourself guide"

Kitchen cabinets refinished in white distressed

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