Tips For Painting Kitchen Cabinets to Avoid Certain Problems

Painted kitchen cabinets instantly brighten and modernize an older kitchen, and can compliment countertops, backsplashes, as well as be preferable to new cabinets in some cases! Adding new hardware during this process adds to the effect that much more. The choice to paint existing cabinets will save homeowners thousands of dollars over the cost of new cabinetry, and it takes less time than demolition and replacement for new cabinets and cabinet doors as well, and provide a look that laminate cannot replicate. Paint makes it easy to add color and style, but it can lead to unexpected problems if done incorrectly. When a homeowner takes on a DIY project like kitchen cabinet painting, there can be a vast difference in the results depending on prep, painting technique, how many coats of paint, the quality paint used,  what kind of cabinet surface you start with, and so on.

Beyond the intense prep work, there will be some tools and materials you’ll need from the paint store when you paint kitchen cabinets. Things such as paintbrushes, foam roller, paint sprayer (the most preferred method, though a paint roller can work for some stages), wood filler & putty,  many various grit sandpaper for the critical sanding needed, as well as the materials for the painting itself such as high-gloss clear acrylic, matte or semi-gloss type of paint, enamel paint, materials for priming and more (depending on your desired finish).  Materials for clean up need to be on your list as well.

Sherwin Williams, Behr, Benjamin Moore and others carry a type of paint suitable for wood cabinets, and can be found in local retail stores, Amazon and anywhere painting project materials can be found.

You’ll want to have enough paint for a second coat, and a topcoat in some cases. Don’t forget to take into account the inside of the cabinets when calculating how much paint you’ll need, as well as drawer fronts. When you reinstall the kitchen cabinets, don’t forget to consider changing the hardware to push it over the edge.

Degrease Cabinets

One of the main problems for kitchen cabinets has to do with their tendency to become spattered with cooking grease and other food residues. This problem is virtually impossible to avoid and many people decide to repaint their kitchen cabinets for this reason.

Yet, all of that grease that’s been accumulating on your cabinets for years and years must be properly attended to before painting can get underway. Otherwise, the grease will severely impede the paint’s ability to bond with the surface of the cabinet. Those who fail to de-grease their cabinets often end up suffering from peeling, bubbling, or flaking paint.

A professional painter understands that a paint job simply won’t turn out right unless all the grease is first removed. One of the best substances for accomplishing this task goes by the name of trisodium phosphate, or TSP for short. When diluted in water and applied to the cabinets with a sponge, TSP will cut right through even the oldest of grease, resulting in a surface that fresh paint can easily bond with.

Remove Cabinet Doors

Many people trick themselves into thinking they can successfully repaint their kitchen cabinets without removing the doors. This attitude will only lead to trouble. For one thing, it makes it difficult to get an even coat of paint beneath the hinge side of the door. The end result often involves unpainted patches that can be seen with the door open.

Failing to remove the doors also has another drawback, in that paint will always get onto the hinges. Hinges tend to be too small and awkwardly shaped to cover with painters tape. Those who choose to paint over the hinges completely often end up with doors that struggle to open and close easily.

A true professional understands that the cabinet doors must always be removed. In fact, not only do the cabinets need to be removed but also the hinges and other hardware must be unscrewed from the doors before the painting begins. This undesirable yet highly important chore ensures that you will end up with neat and clean results.

Another easily overlooked task involves labeling the doors prior to removing them. Although it may be hard to tell, the precise size of kitchen cabinets often varies slightly. Those who fail to label their doors often end up spending hours trying to figure out which door goes where.

Eliminate Sanding Dust

Professionals know that cabinets frequently need to be lightly sanded prior to repainting. This helps to roughen up the surface, allowing the new paint to more easily adhere. Of course, the sanding process will ultimately leave a lot of dust behind on the surface of the cabinets, drop cloths and many surfaces. Unless painters thoroughly remove this dust, the sanding may only end up reducing paint adhesion.

Most painters take a two-pronged approach to dust removal. First, they use a heavy-duty vacuum cleaner to remove loose dust with various brushes and soft bristle brushes. Even then, however, some dust will remain stuck to the surface of the cabinets. Wiping down the surfaces with tack cloth – cheesecloth that has been treated with beeswax – will effectively mop up the last bits of dust.

As you can see, the amount of work it takes to repaint cabinets the right way can be staggering. To learn more about hiring an experienced painting company to complete your next cabinet repainting job, please contact the professionals at Elite Painting KC.

Get a Smooth Finish

Many people do not realize how noticeable the wood grain in their cabinets is until the paint highlights the grooves. Paint can transform an interior, but it can also make it easier to see bumps, dips and the grooves on any surface. Address all texture and damage issues before any painting begins to have the smooth and flawless finish you want.

Fill dips and deep scratches with wood putty and sand smooth before adding primer or paint. Fill deep grooves or many large dents by coating the surfaces with spackle. Sand away any other small scratches or other imperfections as well until the entire surface feels smooth and level to the touch.

Keep Paint in Place

Paint that begins to chip or peel after application usually does so because it did not adhere to the surface properly. The oil from human hands and the grease from cooking will settle on the cabinets over time. Perform a thorough cleaning of the entire surface as the first step in a paint project. Always plan on grease removal even when the cabinets look and feel clean.

The peeling paint could be due to the incompatibility between two different types of paint if the cabinets were previously painted. For example, oil-based paints will not adhere properly to latex paint.

With adequate preparation, it is possible to apply latex paint over an earlier coating of oil-based paint. Start the preparation process by cleaning the surface with a degreaser. Trisodium phosphate (TSP) was once the recommended product, but many people use baking soda and vinegar now instead. If not used carefully, TSP can harm human health and the environment.

Sand the cabinets after a thorough cleaning and use a bonding primer. A bonding primer rather than a basic primer will help to ensure better adhesion between the new paint and any old paint that remains after sanding.

Prepare for Cracks

It is virtually impossible to guarantee any painted wood surface will never develop a crack. The cracks occur when the wood swells as it absorbs moisture in the air it strains the painted surface. Control the humidity level in the home with a dehumidifier to avoid as much of this type of movement as possible.

A hygrometer measures moisture in the air. Experts recommend the percentage stay between 30 to 50 percent for a comfortable environment and to reduce wood swelling. Older homes may also develop cracks in painted surfaces due to the foundation shifting.

Damage After Paint

Prevent scratches and dings to the paint surface with the use of a good-quality paint and primer fo the best paint colors. Never use abrasive cleansers or pads on a painted surface. Install cabinet bumper pads on the inner corners of doors and drawers to prevent them from connecting with the painted surface on the cabinet frames.

Wipe down cabinets often to remove grease and oily fingerprints. Any sticky surface will attract more dust and dirt and become harder to clean without scrubbing. Make certain to remove all hardware before painting. If the hardware remains on the cabinets, it makes damage easier as hands and cleaning tools come into contact with the edge of the painted area.

At Elite Painting KC, we can make the worries of cabinet painting disasters disappear. Our expert painters always prepare all surfaces properly and use the best products for every project. 

Your cabinets will come immaculate, and will be completely transformed. We stand behind our work and we know you will be impressed!

Contact us for a free quote.