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Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Painting kitchen cabinets can be a great way to update the look of your kitchen quickly and at a low cost. However, there are many factors to take into consideration when determining if painting is the right choice for your cabinets. Be sure to recognize what the job entails before beginning on a cabinet painting project.

Pros and Cons

There are many positives to kitchen cabinet painting. First, painting the cabinets is a quick way to update the look of a kitchen without the mess and expense of a full remodel. Paint, even high-quality cabinet paint, is fairly inexpensive. One to two gallons of paint will cover the cabinets in a standard size kitchen. Painting a single coat is a fairly quick process that can be done in two days. If you need two or more coats, the job may take a week or more, because the paint needs to dry completely between coats.

But while the financial outlay may be lower than new cabinets, the time and attention required to do a quality painting job is high. To paint kitchen cabinets with a professional look requires preparation, care and attention to detail. The preparation time can take weeks. Additionally, many cabinets require several primer coats and at least two paint coats, making the time outlay high. A poor paint job can make a kitchen look shabby and cheap, and some oil-based paints yellow over time. Additionally, paint finishes may chip, especially water-based paints.

Costs of Painted Kitchen Cabinets

If you are going to paint kitchen cabinets yourself, plan to pay about $50 a gallon for quality cabinet paint. However, the paint is just the beginning of the expense. Remember that cabinets need to be thoroughly prepared for painting, or the paint will chip and peel within months. In addition to paint, you'll need to buy painter's tape, drop cloths or rosin paper, liquid deglosser, 100, 220 and 280 grit silicon carbide sandpaper, paint scraper, putty knife, gloves, sanding sponges, primer, siliconized acrylic-latex caulk, and paint brushes. Many cabinet paints require a new brush for each coat, including primer coats, which can extend the painting time to a week or more.

How to Prepare to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Before painting kitchen cabinets, clean each cabinet thoroughly with grease-cutting, mild soap and water. Remove everything from the cabinets and store it in boxes, one box for each cabinet. You won't be able to use your kitchen cabinets for several weeks, so keep items organized will make it easier for you to continue using the kitchen. Remove all doors from the cabinets, keeping track of hardware if you plan to reuse it. Use a liquid deglosser if the cabinets have a high-gloss finish. If not, simply sand with a 100 grit sandpaper, vacuuming frequently to remove sawdust. Begin the paint job with a primer. If you have tight-grained wood on your cabinets, like cherry or maple, then a slow-drying, oil-based primer works well. For open-grained wood, use a brushing putty in several coats. Use a new brush for each coat, and sand between coats.

Kitchen Cabinet Paint

When choosing a paint for kitchen cabinets, don't cut corners. Cost is not the most important factor, quality and durability is. Look for a paint that is manufactured specifically for cabinets, such as Cabinet Coat by Insl-x, for example. Benjamin Moore also has a water based paint that works well for cabinets, particularly the darker colors, called Satin Impervo. Sherwin William's Pro Classic Satin Waterborne is another proven latex paint. Where state regulations allow it, oil-based enamel provides a durable cabinet finish. The key is using a slow-drying paint that allows brush marks to disappear as it dries, leaving a professional finish.

Paint Colors for Kitchen Cabinets

Many homeowners today are painting kitchen cabinets white. White paint is a great choice, but there are many other kitchen cabinet paint colors that will provide an attractive, updated look for a kitchen. Sky blue, antiqued or grey-blue are popular paint colors for kitchen cabinets. For a striking, modern look you can try a glossy or matte black. Be sure the paint is a true black, not chocolate brown. That said, mocha is a popular color for painted kitchen cabinets. With dark walls in a sage or gray, beige painted cabinets glow. Consider white cabinets around the walls and a center island in a deep or bright hue such as black, blue, red or green for an update to the classic kitchen. For a truly kid-friendly view, consider using chalkboard paint on lower cabinets. They'll have an artist's canvas on which to create while the parents cook dinner. Another creative design uses one color of paint on the top and another complementary color on the bottom. Consult with an artist or designer when looking for painting kitchen cabinets color ideas.

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