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How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Part 2

If your cabinets are ceiling height, be very careful as you sand the front face that touches the ceiling as the sander may damage the surface of the ceiling.

Sanding the cabinet frame that abuts the ceiling without the use of a power sander may be wise, even though it may take a little longer, it will avoid the time necessary to repair the ceiling. The same scenario applies to the cabinet stiles where they meet the walls. Use a vacuum and tack cloths to pick-up all the sanding dust.

Note: You can use paint stripper - follow the manufacturer's instructions for usage, clean-up and chemical removal prior to painting.

  1. Using the palm sander, sand (paint stripper may be used) any side areas that house the range or refrigerator. Use a vacuum and a tack cloth to pick-up all the sanding dust.
  2. Apply the paint primer or undercoat to the cabinets, inside and out. It is best to work from the inside of the cabinets out and from the top wall cabinets down to the base cabinets.
  3. If you paint in this manner, you will avoid getting covered in wet paint and you will not end up with drops or splatters of paint on surfaces that you have already painted.

    Note: If you have forced air heating or cooling it is wise to turn the system off while sanding and painting to avoid having sanding dust in the air, which will land on and adhere to wet paint.

    The quality of the finished project is relative to the quality of the paint applicators, brushes, paint sprayers and primers and undercoats used (always use a matching primer, undercoat and finishing paint). Do not skimp on the quality of these items and always purchase the appropriate brushes, in size and bristle material.

  4. Once the primer or undercoat has dried, inspect the finish. If there are rough areas or if the paint ran anywhere, sand the spot and reapply the primer or undercoat. The finishing coat of paint will not hide imperfections in the primers or undercoats!
  5. This is an area, where it is not uncommon that the diy home handyman does not complete properly. Do not proceed to the finished coat of paint until you are completely satisfied with the finish of the primer or undercoat.

  6. Apply the finish coat of paint, in the same manner as the primer or undercoat, inside out and top down. If necessary apply a second coat of finish paint. Follow the manufacturer's instructions that pertain to drying times and second coat applications.
  7. Note: It is not necessary to use the same paint finish for the face of the cabinets on the insides of the cabinets. The stiles and other frame work should have the inside edges painted the same color as the outside of the stiles and frames.

    Different colors, such as white on the inside of the cabinets and a color on the outside is not uncommon. As well, many homeowners prefer a high gloss enamel paint on the inside and a semi-gloss or matt finish on the outside of the cabinets. The high gloss interior makes cleaning a little easier. Two colors and/or different finishes does dramatically increase the time necessary to complete the painting.

    I prefer the use of a paint spray gun for the application of finishing paint. However, this may not be logistically convenient, as spray guns are notorious for splattering paint on surfaces that are not meant to be painted!

    Painting The Kitchen Cabinet Doors & Drawers:

    The doors and drawer fronts are the focal point of the kitchen cabinets and because of that extra time and care should be taken in finishing them.

  8. Remove all the cabinet hardware from the doors and drawers. This includes, hinges, catches, latches, cup hooks, knobs, pulls and back plates. If you have drawer slides and you are painting the sides of the drawers, it is easier to paint the drawers if you remove the slides (do not fill the screw holes if you are reinstalling the old drawer slides), otherwise the drawer slides can remain in place.
  9. You should have chosen your new cabinet hardware before starting to finish the cabinet doors and drawers.

    All screw holes and holes for knobs and pulls should be filled with a quality wood fill and sanded, unless the new knobs and/or pulls match the required hole locations currently in the cabinet doors and drawers.

    Additional information on cabinet hardware.

  10. In many cases the drawers have independent drawer fronts which can easily be removed from the drawers themselves.
  11. If the drawer fronts can be removed, remove them. Make sure that you identify which specific drawer front mates to which specific drawer - a number on the front of the drawer and on the back of the door front will accomplish this task and is in a position that will not be visible once painting is completed.


Part 1

Part 2