Best Way To Paint Cabinets

Watch Out For Side Drips

The Best Way to Paint Kitchen Cabinets ~ Kitchen Cabinets Makeover ~ Painting Kitchen Cabinets

When you roll the paint on the side of a cabinet, the paint can often drip around the other edge of the cabinet. After applying paint near an edge, always look to the other side to be sure the paint didnt drip. If it did, you can easily fix it by brushing or rolling it away while its still wet. But if you wait too long, you wont be able to brush it away and youll have to wait until it completely dries when you can sand it smooth and repaint.

Painting Cabinets With A Smooth Finish

If youre looking for a start-to-finish tutorial for painting cabinets, Ive got a full tutorial for painting oak cabinets as well as a tutorial for painting bathroom cabinets using General Finishes paint.

In this post, Im not going to rehash all the details of how to prep your cabinets, Im just going to focus on getting that perfectly smooth paint finish. But keep in mind that you cant get a super smooth paint finish unless you start with a clean, smooth surface to paint.

Painting Tools And Techniques: The Basics

Paint with a mini roller: A good painter can work wonders with a brush, but for most of us a mini roller is a great alternative when painting kitchen cabinets. Youll find mini roller frames and sleeves at home centers and paint stores.

Type of mini roller: There are many roller sleeves available, but when learning how to paint cabinets, mohair, microfiber or foam sleeves are good choices. Foam sleeves will leave the smoothest finish, but they dont hold much paint, so youll be reloading frequently. Experiment on the inside of doors to see which sleeve works best with your paint.

Follow the wood grain: If youre painting frame-and-panel cabinet doors, follow the direction of the wood grain with your finishing brushstrokes. The vertical stiles should receive the last brush strokes running from top to bottom.

Roll, then brush: If youre old-school and still like to paint with a brush, you can speed things up by first applying the paint with a mini roller. Roll on the paint. Then drag paintbrush bristles lightly over the surface to even out the coat and eliminate roller marks.

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The Best Finish For Kitchen Cabinets

Choosing the right paint finish for kitchen cabinets is essential since it affects the durability of your cabinets in the long run. Cabinet doors and drawers are subject to touching, pulling, and slamming, while shelves routinely have objects being slid in and out. These factors can make painted cabinets subject to scratching and chips, but you can lessen this risk by choosing the right paint finish for kitchen cabinets.

To Poly Or Not To Poly

Best Way to Paint Kitchen Cabinets: A Step by Step Guide #cabinet # ...

Many of you may be wondering if I used any sort of top coat or poly to protect the paint and the answer as of now is NO! As an experiment, I am waiting to see if the milk paint is durable enough to forego any sort of protection. It has been three weeks so far, and I have yet to inflict any sort of damage to the milk paint.

UPDATE: After observing how incredibly rough my small children are on the cabinets, I decided to be proactive and apply this topcoat to them. Want to know how the milk paint is holding up after 6 months? to read the follow-up post. You can also watch the video below

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What Is The Paint To Use On Kitchen Cabinets Without Sanding

When refinishing kitchen cabinets without sanding, you can use a liquid deglosser, which is a specialized paint remover that is designed for use on tubs, tiles, and kitchen cabinets. It is available at most hardware stores and is non-toxic, biodegradable, and safe to use.

After applying the deglosser, you can then use a latex primer to prepare the surface and a water- or oil-based paint to finish the project. When applying paint, be sure to use a brush or roller, and use even and consistent strokes.

Depending on the type of paint being used, multiple layers may be necessary. For additional durability, you may want to consider applying a clear sealer to protect the paint finish.

Clean And Prep Cabinets

Prepare the cabinets as you would any other surface, cleaning mildewed spots and washing the entire surface to remove dirt and grease. Repair or replace damaged wood and cover any surface you want protected.

Before painting, clean the faces of the cabinet boxes and drawers and both sides of doors and shelves with a product that removes dirt, grease, and glossy finishes. A liquid deglosser should do the trick for this step. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the packaging, wearing protective goggles and rubber gloves. Apply the deglosser in sections small enough that you can paint them within an hour.

Alternatively, you can scuff-sand cabinets with 150-grit sandpaper. To get your sandpaper into all the contours of paneled doors, use a contoured sander, a small sponge wrapped with sandpaper, or a commercial sanding sponge.

On extra-glossy surfaces, sand the cabinet with 120- to 220-grit sandpaper to dull and smooth the surface. A contoured sander works best for reaching the contours of paneled doors, but if you don’t have that, again, a small sponge wrapped with sandpaper or a commercial sanding sponge will work. Use a tack cloth or damp rag to remove the dust after sanding.

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Paint Edges Of Cabinet Doors

While youre working on your frames and waiting through drying times, you can paint around the edges of your cabinet doors.

You want to make sure the paint is good and dry on both the frame and the doors so they dont stick to each other once you attach the doors again, so leave plenty of time for this step.

This is also the time that youll want to pull out your drawers and paint their edges too.

At this point, you remember why you cant have open shelving in your kitchen.

Clean All The Surfaces

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets – DIY Network
  • Clean the cabinet by spraying it with a degreaser solution and wiping it down with a rag. This removes all the oils and grease that could prevent a perfect finish. If ordinary cleaners arent effective, consider using a stronger cleaner like trisodium phosphate , which is sold at hardware and paint stores. Just make sure you follow the safety precautions on the container.
  • Once all the cabinet pieces are clean, rinse them thoroughly with water and let them dry.

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  • Greg HJuly 21, 2018

    Can you spray poly of some type over the paint to increase the durability?

  • Dan PerryJuly 23, 2018

    If youre going to do that, you should probably just use a harder paint which wont be water-based. Id recommend talking to paint pros and benjamin moore or Kelly Moore.


  • ChassidyNovember 19, 2019

    If you dont have chipping and have low gloss paint on your cabinets do you need to prime? Also, great advice on BM paint! Love their paints not just pigment and chemical smell is a huge problem and BM lines often dont smell at all once dried. After 1 bad paint experience BM all we use.

  • Joan RogersJuly 26, 2020

    I am contemplating spray painting kitchen cabinets flat black. I watched your video. Any other tips for me? I should use Benjamin Moore aura flat black enamel? Thanks.

  • Dan PerryJuly 27, 2020

    I actually prefer Sherwin Williams Emerald paint for cabinets. It goes on much smoother. Even if you apply it with a brush it will still have a flat, smooth finish.

  • Dan PerryAugust 31, 2020

    Sherwin Williams Emerald is my latest preference for cabinet paint. As far as wall paint goes, I honestly dont think it matters much as long as you choose the right color.

  • Apply The Final Coat Of Paint

    Apply a second layer or topcoat of paint, and pay special attention to any brush or roller markings that may remain. This is the simplest step, but it’s also the most crucial for achieving a perfect, professional finish with no visible brush traces, so take your time and try to be meticulous with the painting. Lastly, hang or lay your doors out to dry completely, replace the hardware, hang them up, and admire your perfect paint job.

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    Painting Cabinets Is A Pretty Tempting Diy Project How Do The Pros Do It

    I remember looking at my hideous pickled-oak cabinets and thinking, I should just paint those! Ive got time, how hard can it be? I used to be pretty handy back in the day, and Id try household projects all the time . . . no plumbing or electrical, of course, but certainly painting or a little carpentry. With plenty of time and limited funds, I was the classic DIY candidate!

    If youre thinking about painting your cabinets, youve probably read every how-to article you can find. Most give you some basic pointers geared to the non-professional, the homeowner on a budget. Maybe youve heard tips like these: Wash your cabinets first. Protect your floors. Get a 6 roller for the big flat surfaces, and an angled sash brush for the corners and edges. Sand between coats.

    But none of these posts or articles shows you what the professionals do when they paint cabinets! And the process is very different. If youre curious to see how the pros do it, we show you here. Well show your our professional process for painting cabinets step-by-step. Check out our video to see the process in action, and read below to see what we do behind-the-scenes!

    Use A Drying Rack Or A Painter’s Pyramid

    What Is The Best Paint For Wood Kitchen Cabinets

    The best way to paint cabinet doors is with a sprayer and a good system for faster production, but you’ll also need a way to store the freshly painted doors as they dry. Most people use buckets, or lay them out on boards, but the problem with that is it takes up too much room having doors and drawer fronts scattered all over the place. Buckets and boards can also mark up the freshly dried paint, or cause them to stick from the weight and pressure, because there’s too much contact with the door.

    The best way to store painted doors is with a drying rack. I own and use three sets of the Door Rack Painter drying racks, along with the rotating spray rack. I use them for all of my cabinet projects. The curved bars minimize contact with the fresh paint to prevent leaving marks in the finish. The design of these racks also allows you to spray one side of the door and then flip the door over to spray the other side using special holding pads. The way I use the racks is I spray two coats of primer first on the back sides and two coats on the front sides the next day. I repeat the same process with the top coats.

    This content is accurate and true to the best of the authorâs knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

    © 2021 Matt G.

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    Remove Doors And Hardware

    Remove all of the hinges, hardware, doors, screws and drawers from your cabinets. Use masking tape to label each door with a number and its corresponding location as you remove them so you’ll remember which one goes where. Do not mix them up or the hinges may not line up properly when you reinstall. If you are painting only the drawer fronts, you wont have to remove the attached slides. If you do need to remove the slides, mark them and their locations as well. Place the hardware and screws in plastic bags inside the cabinets where they will be easy to locate when you’re ready to reassemble everything.

    Buff And Apply The 2nd Coat Of Paint

    Before you add the 2nd coat of paint, do a super light buffing the doors using 600 grit sand paper. You will need to do this by hand Then, use the tack cloth to remove the fine dust particles. Then paint. Paint the back first. Then, if you are using the brush method, youll want to wait 24 hrs before flipping the door to paint the front. (Note: the paint can may tell you that it will dry faster, but its safer to wait 24 hours.

    If you are using the spray method with lacquer, you can flip the doors sooner often in a few minutes to 30 minutes per side.

    Note: You do NOT need a sealer after this. Chalk paint requires a sealer, but this is high durability paint and you do not use a sealer with this . Generally, these paints take 7 to 10 days to fully dry and cure, but generally after 24 hours, they are good to reinstall and use in your kitchen. .

    This curing process for paint is very similar to the polyurethane curing process for hardwood floors . You can read more about the curing time for hardwood floors here to better understand the difference between drying and curing).


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    Mistake : You Didn’t Sand The Cabinets

    Even if your hardwood cabinets are in near-perfect condition, you still have to sand them down to the bare wood finish so the paint sticks,Gibbons says. She recommends sanding them lightly with 120-grit sandpaper or a sanding sponge. “But if your doors are engineered wood or MDF , you just want to sand lightly enough to rough up the surface for priming,” she says.

    Latex Paint For Kitchen Cabinets

    How To Paint Cabinets with a Paint Sprayer

    Because latex paints are the most popular on the market, chances are you’re already pretty familiar with their application. Latex is a very forgiving water-based paint, meaning application and cleanup is a breeze . They’ll dry quicker and keep their true color for longer than oil-based paints will, though they do take longer to cure, which can leave them susceptible to nicks and dents for a few weeks. Prep work is super important when working with latex paint, especially if you’re coating your color directly onto a bare wood surface. You’ll need to make sure to sand, prep, and carefully seal the wood before applying your latex paint, or you could find your project chipping and swelling in a few short weeks.

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    Reattach Doors And Drawers

    Once the finish has dried completely, it’s time to reattach drawer pulls, screw the hinges onto the doors, and hang the doors on the cabinetry boxes. This is easy if you’ve labeled everything accurately. If you spray-paint the hardware, let it dry before reattaching. Be sure to clean the hardware before you begin painting. To get all the sides and angles of the hardware painted, elevate each piece off your work surface. Protect the hardware with a clear sealer and let everything dry. When this has been completed, slide each drawer back in place.

    How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets Step By Step

    If you’re looking for DIY kitchen ideas on a budget, giving your kitchen cupboards a new lease of life with a fresh lick of paint is a great option. Pick a formula designed for the job like Rust-Oleum’s Kitchen Cupboard Paint. The result is a chalky finish that’s hardwearing enough to handle knocks and frequent wipe-downs.

    There’s no need for a primer or topcoat for wooden or melamine cupboards. However, glossy cupboards will need a quick sand down with a fine grit sandpaper.

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    Strip The Current Paint Off Of The Cabinets

    To strip the cabinets, you will need to use a paint stripper. Follow the manufacturers instructions on how to use the paint stripper. You may need to apply it multiple times to get all of the paint off.

    Be sure to wear gloves and protective clothing while you are working with the stripper, as it can be harmful if it comes into contact with your skin.

    Once you have stripped off all of the old paint, you can move on to priming the cabinets and drawers.

    *At Tribble Painting, 95% of the kitchen cabinet projects we get are cabinets that are stained, therefore this step is unnecessary. We will assess the condition of the paint, but typically we will recommend new cabinets due to this process being time-consuming and cost-prohibitive.

    Sand Caulk And Seal The Cabinets

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    Sanding is an essential step in the painting process, as it helps to create a smooth surface for the paint to adhere to. Use fine-grit sandpaper to sand the entire surface of the cabinets, being sure to pay close attention to any areas that are particularly rough or bumpy.

    Once the sanding is complete, use a caulk gun to apply a bead of caulk along all the seams and joints in the cabinets. This will help to create a smooth, finished look.

    Finally, use a brush or roller to apply a thin layer of sealer to the cabinets. This will help to protect the paint job and keep the cabinets looking like new.

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