Common Mistakes to Avoid When Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Painting your cabinets? We have tips. These ideas will result in perfectly painted cabinets

Use these tips for great results when painting cabinets

It’s a Friday after work and you are finally going to paint your kitchen cabinets over the weekend. After all, nothing is more transformative to a kitchen than newly painted cabinets. And it’s just a matter of picking up paint and brushes after work and by Monday your kitchen will have a great new look, right? Wrong!

Many people make the mistake of thinking that painting the kitchen cabinets is a quick, weekend job. Cabinets aren’t even as big as a wall, right? We can just brush on a coat of paint and our kitchen is transformed.

Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. Though it’s true that painting your kitchen cabinets will give your kitchen a fresh new look with a relatively low cost, and without the disruption of a complete renovation, painting kitchen cabinets involves several important steps, and if these steps are skipped over, your simple weekend project may end up a disaster.

When you’ve decided to paint your cabinets, here are some important steps to NOT avoid:

Take Your Cabinets Apart

The first most common mistake that do-it-yourself cabinet painters make, is to try to paint cabinets without disassembling them first. If you attempt to paint over attached hardware, it will begin to flake and chip in a matter of weeks. Even if you tape off your knobs and hinges, swiping paint on attached, unprepared cabinets will end up being more work in the long run. Your paint job will look sloppy and not have lasting results.

Your cabinets and drawers should be removed and carefully numbered and labeled so they are easy to put back together. You may even want to make a quick diagram, to make reassembling them mistake-proof. With the cabinet doors removed, you can easily paint the insides of the cabinets as well as the outside. Start with the insides of your cabinets and work your way outward.

Surface Preparation is Key

While it might be tempting to quickly slap fresh paint over the old and be done with it, your paint will not apply cleanly or be long-lasting if the surface isn’t prepared properly. Kitchen cabinets are especially important to clean first because kitchen grease sticks to cabinet surfaces and then traps dust and dirt. Before painting, cabinets should be thoroughly cleaned with a degreaser and allowed to dry. Then remove any cracked or peeling paint, and lightly sand the surfaces of your cabinets. Sanding them will roughen the surface enough to allow your paint to easily adhere.

Clean Your Kitchen After Sanding and Before Painting

Sanding your cabinets will result in dust flying around your kitchen. If you don’t clean all the dust out of your kitchen and off your newly sanded cabinets, dust particles will end up stuck in your paint and leaving a gritty surface. Painting over this will result in your cabinet surfaces not looking smooth and clean, and paint will not attach properly.

Primer First

Again, you may think it’s okay to skip this step, especially if you aren’t drastically changing your cabinet color, but in the end you will regret it when your paint does not properly adhere to your cabinet surfaces and begins to peel and chip. Then one quick paint job ends up requiring a second paint job much sooner than it would have if you’d primed first.

A good tip is to add a tiny amount of your chosen paint to the primer to very lightly tint it. This can help to reduce the number of paint coats necessary for good coverage. Be sure to apply primer to all surfaces you plan to paint and then allow adequate drying time before applying paint.

Don’t Rush

No matter how tempting it might be, don’t rush to apply second or third coats of paint if needed. It’s important to allow each coat to completely dry before applying the next coat.

Also, do not rush to replace your kitchen cabinets and drawers before they are completely dry. It’s best to wait a couple of days for complete drying. If you try to replace them too soon, you will end up with smudges that need to be sanded out and repainted. It’s worth the wait!

While it’s true that not skipping these steps will mean that painting your kitchen cabinets is a bigger project than a simple weekend job, if you carefully follow each step in the process your paint job will be beautiful and long-lasting.

Resources — Good Housekeeping, Kitchn, Homm