Is it time for a kitchen cabinet makeover?

Wanting a new look for your kitchen?  Has a new appliance made your cabinets look dated or worn?  Wood or wood laminate cabinets can usually be repainted with wonderful results and a much lower price than new ones.  The biggest challenge is simply in anticipating all the steps involved.    Because your kitchen is the nucleus of your home, a timely renovation is a necessity.  In these articles we will help you think through all the steps involved in recoating your cabinets so that whether you do the work yourself or contract someone else to do the labor, you can be an informed participant.

Step One:  Planning the Job

If you aren’t sure about how or what paint will bond to your existing cabinets, email us a picture of the cabinets you are going to be painting and an idea you want the finished product to look like. Newer higher resolution cameras make looking at your job much easier.

Paint for cabinet doors can be applied with sprayers, rollers, or brushes.  All applicators have pros and cons when it comes to using them.  Spraying cabinets takes the most preparation time and involves the most equipment and clean up.  Depending on the number of cabinets to coat, a pro will usually just elect to brush the material.  The best applicator depends on the paint and finish you choose.

Decide where your work space is going to be.  Cover off a section of your kitchen with plastic or make a work space in your garage or patio.  Sanding and dust are usually easier to clean up outside the house.

Step Two:   Breaking down the job.

All door or drawer pulls and hinges should be removed.  Use a screwdriver or a small cordless drill for speed.  Place all loose hardware in zip lock bags and mark them with tape by number or name.    Labeling blue tape insures that each piece can be replaced to its original location.  Blue tape can more easily be removed than masking or yellow tape.  Place all your materials on a drop cloth to protect it and mask off any surfaces that may catch drips like floors and counter tops.

Step Three:  Cleaning and Sanding

Check all areas for grease, oil or food particles.  If you can see or feel them, use a cleaner like TSP to remove them.  TSP is usually mixed with one part to 4 parts of water.  Rinse and allow the surfaces to dry completely.

Sanding is best done with a sanding block or electric orbital sander.   Sand lightly as there is no need to remove all paint or finish.  You just want a clean smooth surface for the new paint to adhere to.  Sand paper is rated by how course or fine it is.  Use a finer medium sand paper to scuff up the surface and then use a very fine sand paper to finish and insure no blemishes can be detected.

If there are imperfections in the wood, sand to remove these and then prime the area.  Feather or blend in the primer so that no paint edges will be visible.  If after a coat of paint, you discover lines, you must lightly sand these areas and recoat.

Lastly, brush or vacuum all dust from every surface.  Then wipe all surfaces with a tack cloth to pick up any residue or sanding particles.

Step Four:  Painting

Apply a coat or primer to all areas.  Primer provides a better base coat for semi-gloss and/or water based paints.  A pro will usually prefer an enamel paint because it is easier to guarantee a polished finished product.  But there are lots of options with today’s durable water-borne finishes.  Water-based paints are easier to thin and clean up.

Begin with inside edges and work to the outside faces.  Work quickly to enable you to see and correct for any drips or areas where paint has built up.  If you start painting on less visible surface, you can develop a feel for the material.  Apply paint in thin coats.  This will usually mean less brush strokes and a faster drying time.  Overworking paint can cause air bubbles or pits when it dries.  Make sure all areas are covered and wait until the paint is completely dry before recoating .  A light resanding before the final coat will ensure a clean, blemish free surface.

Step Five:  Install hardware and replace all doors and fronts.

Still have questions?  Give us a call at 435.655.9706.