Painting kitchen cabinets don’t have to be a thing you only dream about or a scary painting project that you have been scared to do or either your husband or wife claims all the paint may fall off or chip off.
Under normal circumstances, this is like any other painting project assuming you take the time to prepare them correctly. There are many different types of cabinet doors so there are variables. In my painting life, we have only had one paint failure, it was due to a cleaner that wasn’t able to be removed from the doors that the homeowner didn’t tell anyone they were using before painting started. So a contamination of the surface, even with that we were able to fix them better than before.
Step 1 Preparing The Surface
When getting ready to prepare the surface your goal is to create an acceptable surface for paint to adhere, this is the most important step and one not to take lightly.
We will assume we are doing a standard kitchen cabinet painting job.
We would wash the surface first using an all-purpose cleaner, one without oils, tsp is a good cleaner to use here. we do not want to introduce other contaminants.
We also want to wash first rather than sand because if we sand first we may sand any dirt or oils directly into the cabinet which would not be good for adhesion. Once cleaned we let dry and use a very fine sandpaper to lightly scuff the surface. We hear a lot from clients that it doesn’t look like anything was done. Remember we are scuffing not stripping the surface. We are not being aggressive here. A light scuff will create a surface that is ready to accept an adhesion primer.
Step 2 Primer
This is where you will get differences in opinions and where you may need a professional to do this project for you. We prefer an oil based primer for this task. An oil based primer will seal, bond and accept the top coats the best. Sealing out contaminants that may be left, stains, tannins from wood.
Now we may not use this on each situation, sometimes we prefer an water based or shellac based primer.
Step 3 To Spray Or Roll
We have done a lot of cabinets and one question we get all the time is do we spray or roll and the answer is yes.
We go by a case by case basis on our cabinet painting and it depends on the time frame, budget, types of paints we are using and expectations of the client.
In our experience the differences are slight and brushing and rolling can accomplish a close finish as compared to spraying vs all the masking, covering and mess associated with spraying.
You will see very minor brush marks with some products, they are minimal and almost nonexistent
Step 4 The Paint
Here is another professional choice and you may get different answers. There are so many great products out right now. What we want is something that dries hard, doesn’t yellow, holds color and sheen, can be fully scrubbed and is durable.
Typically we will go to a pre-catalyzed epoxy or two great products, one from Benjamin Moore and one from PPG. Your doing a very important project, don’t skimp out on a cheap paint
Step 5 The Process
Ok we’re ready to paint after the prep is done we are primed were ready to apply two coats to the cabinets. So once done you will have three total coats protecting the cabinets.
We remove the door handles and doors, the doors will be painted in another location such as the garage, a shop to make more room for the other work inside.
Typically one coat a day will be done depending on temperature, conditions, humidity. It is possible some days to do multiple coats. On most jobs, there will be one master painter applying the finishes, sometimes two. The other painters are helping assist. Most of the jobs this is a two painter job. Putting more manpower on a cabinet job is not recommended. You want one or two hands touching your cabinets to make sure the finish remains constant
What To Expect
You can expect a great job with an even finish if it is something you take on yourself keep in mind you may see brush marks, look for runs, lap marks or misses.
Once done you will have a very durable finish but not one you may never have to touch up or that cannot be chipped if someone bangs into it just like your current cabinets can be scratched paint is simply a coating.