How to paint your cabinets
1. Prep the cabinets
- Clean the cabinets using TSP (trisodium phosphate) to remove as much grease and dirt as possible.
- Remove as much gloss from the cabinets using Liquid Sander Deglosser.
- Optional: lightly sand the cabinets to remove more gloss and rough up the surface more to give the primer a good surface to stick to. Use a damp cloth to remove dust from sanding.
- Use a wood filler or putty to fix any holes or imperfections you want to fix.
2. Remove doors and hardware
- Unscrew the knobs and/or pulls from the cabinet doors
- Remove the doors from the cabinets and take off the hinge hardware
- Make sure to save all the hardware and screws in a safe place
3. Tape off areas you want to protect
- Tape the floor under the cabinet toe kick, on the underside of the counter, and anywhere the cabinets meet a wall (unless you are painting the wall the same color as the cabinets), and any trim that comes in contact with the cabinets.
- You’ll also want to tape off any appliances that are close enough to the cabinets that might get paint on them-- microwave, hood vent, range, fridge, dishwasher, etc.
4. Prime the cabinets and doors
- Use a dense foam roller or a paint sprayer to achieve a smooth finish
- If rolling, use a brush to paint in the recessed or detailed areas of any door panels, such as with shaker style doors. Go back over with the roller as close to the recesses as possible to ensure the finish is uniform.
- I recommend using a roller/brush on the cabinets (so you don’t have to mask off your entire kitchen to protect from overspray) and a sprayer on the doors.
- One coat of primer should be sufficient.
- Once the primer coat has dried 24 hrs, lightly sand using a fine grit sandpaper, then remove any dust from sanding using a damp cloth.
- Use a high quality primer, such as Sherwin Williams Extreme Bond Primer.
- If using a roller and brush, do the same method as with priming.
- If spraying, create a “paint booth” area with drop cloths or plastic sheeting to prevent overspray from getting all over your area. If you have space, creating this indoors in a garage or shop is ideal, so wind doesn’t blow any dust or debris onto your freshly painted doors.
- Spray according to the directions with your paint sprayer, using even, overlapping strokes.
- Start the spray for each stroke off the surface you’re painting, and then end the spray for that stroke off the surface too. This ensures you’re painting evenly across the door and moving your sprayer the whole time you’re painting, preventing spots where the paint is heavier.
- Use a high quality paint like Sherwin Williams Urethane Trim Enamel which creates a hard durable finish, which works nicely for the high traffic surfaces of cabinets.
- Let the first coat dry 24 hours, and repeat with a second coat.
6. Reattach doors and hardware
- After the second coat has dried 24 hours, either put back your old knobs/pulls or install new ones (if you have pulls, make sure your new ones match the hole spacing-- so if your old holes are 3 inches apart, you’ll need to purchase pulls that are 3 inches center to center (this means that the center of the holes are 3 inches apart). We used the same hardware, but spray painted it with a gold/brass spray paint to update the look of the existing door pulls.
- Reinstall the door hinges and put the doors back on the cabinets.
7. Remove any tape and plastic sheet/drop-cloths and enjoy your brand new kitchen!