From start to finish, everything you need to know.

Remodeling a kitchen is certainly expensive, though it’s no secret that a change in color can instantly rejuvenate a room and bring it new life. If you want to freshen up a kitchen at little cost, consider painting your cabinets! There’s also no need to hire a painter when you can do it yourself, further saving you money. 

Painting your kitchen cabinets can seem daunting, but the process isn’t complicated. With proper preparation and a good amount of time–we recommend you set aside a good week for this project–you can enjoy a whole new look in your kitchen. Here’s how!

Preparing the Space

Start by establishing a painting and prep station where you can do the majority of your work. The most important thing when painting cabinets is to stay organized, and keeping all activity in a central, dedicated spot will make your job all the more easier!

Second, get rid of everything in your kitchen. Since you’ll be dealing with some overspray, take out all your pots, pans, glasses, and more–anything that might get paint on it. Store these in boxes, and label them. If you have a garage or storage room, put all the kitchen tools and utensils that you just purged and put them in there for the next few days.

Disassembling the Cabinets

Disassemble the cabinets, removing all drawers, doors and shelves. It’s important that you do not throw hinges and screws together when disassembling! For each cabinet, place hinges, screws and other hardware in a baggie and label it for each cabinet (“Cabinet 1, Cabinet 2,” etc), then tape the baggies to the applicable cabinets. The reason you will want to have everything labeled is because you will have to remove the bags once you actually begin painting. You can peel off shelving paper now, if there is any.

Don’t skip dis-assembly. Painting over hardware can make your cabinets unusable. A cabinet door hinge won’t work so easily if it’s painted over.

Will you be replacing the handles of your cabinets after painting them? Now is a good time to make sure you have the proper number of handles, hinges or whatever else you might be replacing.

You won’t need to paint your cabinet interior, so you can put things like inner shelves wherever you put your boxed-up kitchen tools. You will paint the exterior cabinet walls and doors, so inspect them for any dings or divots and cover those with wood putty.

Preparing to Paint

Take a de-greaser and clean your cabinet frames and doors. You’ll be getting rid of years of grime, making your cabinet surfaces better equipped for new paint–which might peel off otherwise. If you peeled off shelving paper then you may notice some adhesive grime. Use a simple adhesive remover to wash it off. When using these removers, and when painting, use a respirator so you don’t become sick from fumes. Let your cabinets dry before moving on.

After everything is de-greased and dry, take a 100-grit sandpaper sponge and sand all out-facing surfaces of your cabinets. This will prepare it for your first coat of primer.

Be sure to lay rosin paper and tape on floors and countertops. As stated earlier, there will be overspray; cover any surface that might get in the way of paint!

Painting Your Cabinets

After careful preparation, we’ve reached the fun (and easy!) part: painting! Ditch the brush and go for an HVLP spray gun for a smooth, flawless finish. As for choice of paint, go with something glossy. 

But first, spray a coat of primer on your cabinet, then let it dry. You’ll now sand it down with soft 220-grit sandpaper. You’re now ready for a second coat, which you will also sand after drying.

Now add the color! Spray three or four coats on your cabinets, drying and sanding in between as you did with the primer. You can imagine that this process is slow and meticulous, but patient painters will find themselves with a high-quality, professional and beautiful painted finish!

 
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