What You Need to Know Before Painting Kitchen Cabinets

It’s no wonder that renovating a kitchen is one of the most costly remodeling ventures, given the expense of new appliances, countertops, and kitchen cabinets. Although few homeowners find ways to improve the appearance of a dated refrigerator or worn granite, changing the look of a kitchen by refreshing the kitchen cabinets that take up the majority of the visual space is entirely possible. However, the work entails more than just purchasing a gallon of your favorite color.


How Much Does Painting Kitchen Cabinets Cost?


It’s no wonder that kitchen remodeling is quite expensive, and removing the kitchen cabinets can account for nearly 40% of the total cost.

Cabinets for a 10-by-12-foot kitchen will cost upwards of $5,000, and your replacement kitchen cabinets might be of poorer quality than the ones you’re replacing. A few fresh coats of paint, on the other hand, can have a big impact on transforming your kitchen cabinets for a fraction of the cost. In reality, painting should cost you no more than $200, plus a weekend or two of your time.

May I Refinish My Kitchen Cabinets?


Examine your kitchen cabinets before going to the paint store to see if they can be resurrected in the first place. Even the best painting in the world won’t save cheap kitchen cabinets that have become brittle with age. Particleboard cabinet bottoms or shelves sag or split, and hanging rails fall loose. Thin veneers peel or delaminate. If these are the problems you’re having, it’s probably time to replace your kitchen cabinets.

Assuming everything is in good working order, let’s look at some of the questions you’ll need to answer before you start repainting your kitchen cabinets.

  • What Kind of Cabinet Paint Do I Need?
  • Is it better to use oil or latex?

Latex paints have increasingly improved, prompting some professionals to abandon oil-based paints entirely. Latex paints are more friendly to use than oil-based paints because they dry easily and clean up with water. Many professionals, however, do prefer oil-based topcoats because they shape a tougher, more stable paint film and finish out with a smoother surface. Latex paints also take longer to completely cure (up to three weeks) than oil-based paints. They’re vulnerable to harm in the meantime.

Bottom line: A decent finish can be achieved with either oil or latex. In case you do use latex paint, make sure it’s a 100 percent acrylic formulation, which is more durable and adheres to surfaces better than vinyl acrylic paints.

Should you use a brush or a can of spray paint?


The smoothest alternative is a sprayed-on finish, but there is a learning curve to getting it correct. You’ll probably have to hire spray equipment, which adds to the expense, and you’ll have to mask off all of the places in the kitchen that might be sprayed unintentionally, such as cabinet interiors, countertops, and appliances, which is a time-consuming operation.

As a result, we strongly advise you to use high-quality brushes instead. Invest in a good 3 or 4 inch-wide square brush with straight ends to make quick work of big, flat panels, as well as an angled brush in the 212- to the 3-inch-wide range to get paint into the corners of doors with molding and coat door frames in one move. Latex paint should be applied with a water-resistant synthetic bristle brush, while oil-based paint should be applied with a natural-bristle brush.

Is it better to just paint over cabinets or should they be stripped?


Where the current surface is a clear coat, stripping the finish down to the bare wood until the painting is the best option. This removes the possibility of a problem of adhesion between the old finish and the new color.

However, while stripping is ideal for purists, it isn’t always practical or required. To prepare the surface for new paint, a thorough cleaning and light sanding should suffice.

Is it better to have a regular or a fake finish?


If you desire to spice up the look of your kitchen, adding a faux finish will make it look modern, chic, rustic, or provincial. Cracking glaze will give your cabinets a weathered look with very little effort. You can find it in paint stores. Simply brush the glaze over a dry base coat in a single direction (thick for wide cracks, thin for fine cracks) and allow it to dry. Brush on a flat topcoat of the base color perpendicular to the glaze to finish. When the paint dries, it will begin to crack, which will take about an hour.

The distressed look is another rustic style that doesn’t need any special paint. This look is made up of layered paints and dark paint that has been spattered. When the paint is finished, distress the finish by hitting it with a chain and gently sanding in the areas where the cabinets get the most use to expose the colors underneath.

Similarly, some paint magic can be used to create an antiqued, slowly aged look. Simply rub the excess paint from the tip of a paintbrush onto a cloth until it is almost dry, then gently graze the surface of the detail trim, corners, and seams.

A high-gloss finish, on the other hand, will turn your kitchen into a polished, contemporary space. Over your final coat, apply a high-gloss transparent acrylic varnish to make your cabinets shine. This technique will give your kitchen a glassy sheen while still adding depth to the paint.

The cost of repainting will be less than $200. It costs about $1,300 to add new drawers and doors, and about $1,630 to upgrade to ready-to-assemble kitchen cabinets.

What You Should Do Before You Begin


Consider getting a new kitchen on a budget: The cost of repainting will be less than $200. It costs about $1,300 to add new drawers and doors, and about $1,630 to upgrade to ready-to-assemble cabinets.

Create a Makeshift Kitchen: Painting your cabinets necessitates shutting down a critical space.

Prepare ahead of time: Set up a kitchen in a nearby room with a hot plate, a toaster oven, and a cooler that can be used as a refrigerator for the duration of the project. Oh, and don’t forget to use paper plates.