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Kitchen Cabinet Painting 101

Kitchen Cabinet Painting 101

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February 24, 2010

It's not easy to love your circa. 1925 kitchen cabinets. Installing new cabinets and counter-tops is a pricey proposition. Painting your kitchen cabinets is a cheaper alternative. Hiring professional home painters for this task costs at least $1,000. If the painter needs to strip all of the cabinets and drawers first, this will cost more. Kitchen cabinet painting can be a do-it-yourself job.

Refreshing your kitchen cabinets involves seven steps. Read on to see if this is something you can take on yourself, or if calling on professional home painters is the best idea for you.

Kitchen Cabinet Painting Steps

  1. Envision a new look: Tack up paint swatches so you can pick an interior painting color palette.
  2. Deconstruction: Unhinge the cabinet doors and pull out the drawers. Place these cabinets and drawers on a drop cloth in a well-ventilated room or your garage floor. If you live in an older home, check your kitchen cabinet painting with a home-lead test.
  3. Surface clean: Your kitchen is the busiest room in the house, and these surfaces have collected years of dirty fingerprints. Use everyday household cleaners for this task. If the grime doesn't fade away, clean with trisodium phosphate (TSP); follow this strong cleaner's recommended safety precautions.
  4. Prep and Sand: Glossy or shiny cabinets that feel like a laminated surface will need to be sanded. Use 150- or 180-grit sandpaper. If your cabinets are dinged and nicked, fill those character flaws with nonshrinking putty, and sand these areas after the putty dries.
  5. Prime: Heavily stained cabinets and drawers need to be primed with a stain-blocking primer. Otherwise, prime your surfaces with an alkyd or 100 percent acrylic latex primer. Any imperfections can be sanded away.
  6. Apply two coats of paint: Wait a few hours for the primer to dry, then apply two coats of either oil-based or latex paint with a brush. A semi-gloss or gloss paint will offer good kitchen-cleaning capabilities. For optimal results, kitchen cabinets can be spray-finished; this is when it pays to hire professional home painters.
  7. Dry for an entire work week: After waiting five days, put your new kitchen cabinets back together.

If you have enough elbow grease, time, and painting know-how, you can complete these seven steps yourself. Otherwise, professional home painters can tackle your kitchen cabinet painting, adding new luster to your home kitchen.


About the author: Nancy Schatz Alton writes and edits in Seattle, Washington. She is co-author of The Healthy Back Book and The Healthy Knees Book. Previously, she has worked as managing editor for Healthy Answers magazine, and as an editor and writer for several in-flight publications. Her work has appeared in PCC Natural Market?s Sound Consumer, Seattle Woman, and online at culinate.com and aplaceformom.com. Nancy has a degree in history with a concentration in women's studies.
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