Painting kitchen cabinets is often recommended as a quick and inexpensive way to update or improve your kitchen. I’ve seen some kitchens ruined by paint, I have also painted cabinets for customers in the past (though I no longer provide that service) and have had very good results.
So how do you know if you’re going to improve or ruin you cabinets with paint?
The main benefit to painting kitchen cabinets is cost. Especially if you do it yourself. If you’re going to pay a qualified professional to it then the cost becomes less of a benefit. If you are going to paint your cabinets yourself I would offer these tips:
Go to a paint store (we happen to like Benjamin Moore and PPG) and tell them what you are painting. They will ask a few questions and then recommend to you the best product for your application. You will pay more for the paint but only by a few dollars and your will get a much better result
Plan for the project to take 3 to 4 days. This is not a weekend project if you want to do it correctly. Even if you have lots of help paint must dry over night between coats and before your reinstall you hinges and pulls. You can keep using your kitchen to cook dinner etc… but you have to be real careful not spill anything on the new paint.
You’ll need a lot of room to layout your cabinet doors. You can only paint one side of your cabinet doors at time and need to let them dry overnight before you flip them.
Painting your cabinets properly is mostly about setting expectations. Plan for enough time and follow the steps above and you should be OK. Most people though will make a mistake or three that can ruin the whole project. Here are some don’ts:
Paint is soft, goes on thick and is not very durable on hard surfaces like wood. Lacquer goes on in thin coats and is a hard, durable surface.
When most people, even professionals, see a solid color on a cabinet they call it “paint”. What you are usually looking at though is called tinted lacquer. Lacquer is a harder more durable surface than paint and is a superior product for cabinets and furniture. It is however hard to apply, requires proper safety gear and a must be sprayed on for a smooth finish, it’s not really DIY friendly.
Lacquer also smells pretty bad and should not be breathed in as it contains VOCs (volitile organic compounds). That makes it difficult to spray lacquer in an occupied home.
There are water based lacquers with much lower VOC content (all of our finishes are water based) and they are much better but still I wouldn’t spray them in your home unless you hire someone with a lot of experience in work area containment and can control the spray.
That’s why most people recommend paint for DIYers. But paint is soft and not ideally suited for cabinets.
Expect your painted cabinets to have a 5 year lifespan. Then you should consider replacing or refacing your cabinets.
Cabinet refacing is the process of customizing your cabinets by replacing your doors and drawer fronts with new, custom made doors and drawers. Your face frames and end panels are covered in a 1/4 solid core plywood skin that is color matched to your doors and drawers.Click Here to Learn More
Low Cost if DIY
Medium Cost if hire a pro
Can look good
short lifespan – 5 – 7 years
Not highly valued for resale
Door style doesn’t change
hinge style stays the same
Disruptive – can’t use kitchen for several days
Keep using your kitchen
Keep your counter tops
Change door style
Some customization possible
Limited ability to change kitchen layout
Cabinet boxes must be in good shape
All new cabinets
Also looks amazing
Change style, hinges etc…
New Cabinets Cons
Disruptive – can’t use kitchen for 2 weeks or more
Also need new counter tops
I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your options in person click the link below to schedule a call