Painting Kitchen Cabinets: What's Involved For a Professional Finish?

A kitchen remodel with new cabinetry costs big bucks. Instead of taking out a loan for a new look, consider painting your cabinets to refresh your kitchen. Let's talk about what such a DIY project would involve and whether or not you might need to hire help for best results.

Photo credit by yugenro on Flickr

Removing Cabinet Doors and Drawers
Your first step will be to remove every cabinet door and drawer in your kitchen, while keeping track of both the hardware attaching the doors to the base, as well as the hardware you must remove from the doors and drawers, such as knobs and/or pulls. If your hardware is not the same for all doors and for all drawers, you will also want to organize it in such a way that you can easily know what to reattach where.

Sanding and Cleaning Cabinet Doors and Drawers
You will then want to sand any rough areas you find before thoroughly cleaning each door, drawer and surface with a sponge soaked with denatured alcohol, then wrung out. Denatured alcohol will remove any dirt and grease, but it also will emit stinky fumes so be sure to open windows in your kitchen and use floor fans.

Photo credit by yugenro on Flickr

Sealing and Painting All Surfaces
Once all surfaces are dry, which takes about an hour, apply your chosen paint. You will need to apply at least two thin coats for the best finish, with three recommended. Each coat takes about four hours to dry.

DIY vs. Hire
Whether you DIY this project or hire professional painters depends on your skill level and available free time. If you do not have painting experience, you might want to assign this to-do task out, as if you don't get good results, you will be faced with them every time you enter the kitchen.

Also keep in mind the time it will take to do this project yourself. Many online DIY time estimators say to devote a weekend to this project, but that can vary greatly depending on how many cabinets you have. With the push toward greater storage in homes, you could have more than two dozen cabinets and drawers combined. Consider that you will need to remove, clean, prep, paint and reattach every single one. With drying time, it seems unlikely that you could accomplish all of that in a weekend, no matter how small the kitchen.

That said, a professional painter could get the job done in just a couple of days, as he or she will have the skill and help to accomplish this task on your timeline. You also will be more satisfied with the results because of that skill level.

As with all DIY vs. Hire situations, factor in how much your time is worth when comparing costs. If you have precious free time with your family, it might make more sense to leave this and other jobs such as these to the professionals.

This post is a part of our series on Interior Painting Tips.

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