Empty and thoroughly clean your cabinets, this is the most important step in the process. There should be no sign of dirt, grease, or sticky food left! Remove all knobs and handles, doors and drawers. Any paint-free surfaces (hinges, countertops, appliances, etc) should be taped off, and any holes or imperfections should be filled with a wood filler and sanded smooth. All cracks and crevasses between cabinet boxes/ trim should be filled with caulk for a more finished look
Once your cabinets are clean and free from imperfections, you’re ready to sand. Sanding helps grab the paint for a long-lasting finish. You can use a rotary sander for flat areas and a hand sander for cabinet edges and hard-to-reach spots. For stained cabinets use 220-grit sandpaper, for painted cabinets with stipple use 120-grit sandpaper before moving to a finer paper. Ultimately, you’ll want to finish sanding with a 320-grit to help assure a smooth surface for painting. If your cabinets are really old, they may have what’s known as crocodile skin - a thick, scaly coating. For this surface, you’ll need to strip your cabinets before sanding.
All in one paint-and-primer might be great for walls, but not for painting kitchen cabinets. Using a primer only, paint one side of the cabinet doors, allowing them to completely dry before priming the other side. If transitioning from a dark color to a lighter one, we recommend tinting the primer to match the final color. The paint store can do this for you.
If your new paint is a similar shade to the existing color, you should be able to get by with two coats, possibly even one. If you’re painting over a dark finish, you’ll probably need a third coat. Cabinet boxes should be painted from the top to the bottom, applying paint across the cabinet’s grain and tipping it off with the grain. Lightly sand the surfaces with a 320-grit between coats for a smoother finish. Doors, drawers, and shelves should be painted on a flat surface to prevent drips, runs, and sags.
5. Top Coat
It’s very easy to skip this step but if you want your beautiful new kitchen cabinets to last you will want to lay down 2 to 3 coats of a water repellent top coat. There are multiple top coats available today. Check with the paint manufacturer to see what top coat they recommend with the paint you are using. You will want to consider adding an extra top coat to areas of the kitchen that get more water and cooking exposure.
Put it all together!
Once your top coat has dried and cured, you can put your cabinets back together, sit back, and enjoy your final product.
When you need answers to questions like, “Can you paint kitchen cabinets?” or, “How to get a smooth finish when painting kitchen cabinets,” or simply need the best paintbrush for kitchen cabinets, Zibra is here to help. Shop our great selection of paintbrushes today to get the best results for any DIY project!
Make sure you take time to listen to our podcast interview with Pam Haskins of 44 Marketplace, she is an expert at painting kitchen cabinets and offers great advice!