Monday, January 23, 2017

Painting Kitchen Cabinets - Plan Before You Paint

Do not believe people who say that you can paint kitchen cabinets without preparation. Preparation is the key to getting a professional looking end product. Time spent on preparation will be time well spent.
Before you jump into painting make time to plan the job and resolve issues such as:

Choosing a paint color. This is a personal preference but as a general guide pastel colors go well with differe kitchen styles. Bold colors such as red, blue etc. can be more difficult but it remains your choice. If you are unsure of the color, get a sample from your paint dealer and test it before you decide.

Painted kitchen cabinets
Where to paint. Get a convenient space (such as a garage or basement) to do the preparation and painting. Remember it is going to take you the best part of a week or two to get the job done and you don’t want to move all your stuff after each painting session.

What paint to use. This issue will be discussed in more depth in chapter 4. Not all paints are the same. My advice is to stick to well known brands and do not buy the cheapest you can get. Your best choice will be a water based acrylic paint that is suitable for kitchen cabinets.

How much paint to use. To determine the volume of paint required, you will have to calculate the square footage/meters to be painted. The best way is to measure the total visible area and multiply by 2 (Length x width x 2) to cover the inside of doors and drawers. The steps are as follows:

Step 1: Measure the length of the top cabinets (in inches) and multiply by the height and by two (for both sides).

Step 2: Measure the length of the bottom cabinets and multiply times the height times 2.

Step 3: Ad the two totals and divide by 144 to get the square feet that needs to be covered.

The directions on the paint can usually indicate the area that can be covered by a liter of paint. Try and buy enough paint from the same batch to ensure color consistency. Keep surplus paint for future touch ups.

Numbering the doors and drawers to be painted. By numbering the doors and the corresponding cabinet boxes, the re-assembling of the doors will be easy.

Getting tools and equipment together. Apart from brushes, rollers, masking tape etc. You will also need floor covering such as plastic sheeting or a drop sheet from your paint dealer.

Before you can start painting the following should be done:

Disassemble doors and remove hardware

All the doors and drawers must be removed. Make sure that you have numbered the doors so that they can be replaced in the same positions. Remove all handles, hinges and other hardware. Put these in plastic bags and number each plastic bag the same as the door so that they don’t get mixed up.

Clean up

This can be a messy job but it is essential to clean doors, boxes etc. It is amazing how much grease and dirt collect on kitchen cabinets over time. Use a strong detergent such as TSP or sugar soap. Wash with a firm brush or scrubber. Rinse with clean water and let it dry completely before the next step. Remove as much as you can from the kitchen boxes and also clean the insides. Most boxes are white on the inside and do not necessarily have to be re-painted. Cleaning the insides will be more than enough.


To protect areas such as floors, walls, countertops, appliances etc. proper masking is vital. Make sure that adequate floor covering is put down. A drop sheet or a plastic sheet is ideal.

Repair cracks, dents and scratches

Since you are painting the cabinets, watermarks will be covered by the paint but other blemishes can now be fixed. Use wood filler to fill dents and scratches and when dry, sand to a smooth finish with 220 grit sand paper. Re-glue wobbly door frames if necessary.

Pianting kitchen cabinets can be a major project and making the wrong decisions may cost you dearly. In my e-book  "Painting Kitchen Cabinets - a DIY guide" you will find all the information ypu will need to avoid costly mistakes.

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