How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets for Lasting Results | Before & After | 10 Years Later
Painting your cabinets is an excellent way to refresh your kitchen for a fraction of the cost of a complete kitchen remodel. In this article I will discuss how I painted our cabinets and how the finish has lasted 10 years with very minimal touch ups needed! Continue reading for my time tested method you should use to paint your kitchen cabinets.
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This project is rated EASY. The only thing it takes is time and lots of patience. This is not a project that can be done in one day. Our kitchen has 42 cabinet doors and 19 drawers! It took me about 7-10 days to complete it. Much of this time was waiting for the primer or paint to dry between coats. Keep reading for step by step instructions on how to paint kitchen cabinets.
Step 1: Gather supplies and number your cabinets
First step is to gather your materials and tools. For this project you will need:
- Super Sticky Post-It Notes
- Graph Paper
- Krud Kutter De-glosser
- Sanding Blocks
- Painters Tape
- Paint Brushes
- Stix Primer
- Benjamin Moore Advance Paint
Next step is to number your cabinets before taking anything apart. I suggest sketching the layout of your cabinets on graph paper and numbering the layout. Then use extra sticky post-it notes to number all the cabinet doors and drawers. Double check and make sure all your post-it notes match your numbered sketch. This could turn into a nightmare if you don’t remember where things go! (PS. Please don’t use anything other than post-it notes to number your cabinets doors and drawers. You will find out why in step 2)
Now you can start disassembling your cabinets. You will need to remove all the hinges, knobs, pulls. Organize these accordingly if you plan to re-use them. My advice is to try and use the same hinges or at least the same style of hinge. I switched from overlay hinges to overlay soft close hinges. This meant filling holes, drilling holes and extra time. I don’t recommend this unless you have a lot of carpentry knowledge.
Step 2: Prep, prep, prep!
Prep is the most important step in how to paint kitchen cabinets. Lay all the doors and drawers in your garage or basement. Keep in mind how long this project takes and choose a place where they won’t be in the way too much. If you have any trim boards or other scrap wood around that you can use to prop the doors on that will make drying much easier. See my pics below.
Before you can paint you will need to lightly sand and de-gloss. Use the sanding blocks on both sides of the cabinet doors and the fronts of the drawers. Then use a rag and start to de-gloss. The de-glosser will take the finish off the cabinets and will clean and prep the surface for primer.
**Don’t forget to also sand and de-gloss the frames of the cabinets back in the kitchen. It will work best of you get 100% of each step complete on the doors, drawers, frames before moving on to the next step. I suggest using painters tape inside the cabinet frames for a nice clean edge.
Step 3: Prime and Paint
Finally! You’re ready to start painting. You should begin by priming your doors, drawers, and frames. I can’t tell you how much I love Stix Primer! This is the reason the finish on my kitchen cabinets has lasted so long. Many will skip this step but it’s imperative that you don’t! Once you have primed everything let it dry for 24 hours at least. This primer will still be tacky when dry. Unlike paint it will never feel complete dry. This is why it’s so great! You first coat of paint will stick to it and create and long lasting bond that won’t easily chip.
**As you paint the doors — move the post-it note to the opposite side you are painting! Since the doors need paint on both sides it’s easy to misplace the number. This method works great and will make re-assembling a breeze!
Next step is the paint! Benjamin Moore makes the best cabinet paint around. It’s called Benjamin Moore Advance. It’s an acrylic paint but dries rock hard similar to an oil based paint. So you get the easy clean up of acrylic paint with the performance of oil paint — win, win!
Using a high quality paint brush works best for this step. Benjamin Moore Advance paint goes on extremely smooth. As you paint you will see the brush strokes melt away and leave a nice flat surface. I just love this paint. Once you get all the doors, drawers, frames painted let the first coat dry for at least 24-48 hours. You will need to apply a second coat and let dry for another 24-48 hours.
Step 4: Re-assemble your kitchen
Get out the sketch you made in step 1 and start re-assembling your kitchen. Add new hardware as you go. Take your time and enjoy the new look of your kitchen. You did it!
10 Years Later
I’m so happy with how long this has lasted. When I tackled this project 10 years ago I never thought it would still look this good. With kids, dogs, lots of parties the cabinets still look like the day I painted them. It’s really unbelievable. The only maintenance I have done is wipe the cabinets and pulls with mild spray cleaner once a month and once a year touch up any paint that needs it. For these amazing results, I recommend using the exact products I listed above. It’s a time tested method, it works and it lasts!
I also used this method to paint our staircase railing. See the post here: Black Staircase Railing, DIY
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