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Painting kitchen cabinets

March 3, 2019
last modified: March 3, 2019

Hi all - so I have a great kitchen! But....I hate the color of the kitchen cabinets. I am not in the market for new ones and would happily paint the ones I have but the painter said he would t recommend it. Someone once mentioned to me that you could have them painted by a car body shop. Anyone ever do this? I called one place and they said no due to the fact that my cabinets are the builder grade Home Depot materials and maybe an old school body shop would be better. I do t want to over think this - I really just want it done. So my question is - 1 should we just paint and hope for the best? Or does anyone have a source for used cabinets that is reliable. Thanks all!!

Comments (20)

  • Matt
    Search more painting companies. Proper prep is the key for adhesion. Should be cleaned first. Degreased then rinsed, not a soaking rinse. Then sanded. And always a good idea to use a product like wilbond to soften the finish.
    hevs thanked Matt
  • Holly Stockley

    The underlying message is that you are unlikely to be happy with any paint job on THESE cabinets, because they aren't very high quality to start with. So, what is your goal? If you want to just not look at this color for about 5 years, while you save to replace, go ahead and paint them. If you're looking at this AS a kitchen remodel and expect that paint job to look good for more than 5 years... you may need a new strategy.

    hevs thanked Holly Stockley
  • cat_ky

    If you have the cabinets done by an auto body shop, they would have to be removed, which will more than likely damage your counters and a lot of other things. Not a minor job, and an auto body place, may not even how the correct procedure for painting cabinets, since it is different than autos. They look like they are nicked in a lot of places, you might be able to find the right color stain, and touch them up a bit yourself, or decide to paint them yourself. Warning! thats a whole lot of work. They would need to be cleaned really well. Then, they need to be sanded well, and wiped down again, and you need to use a very good bonding/sealing primer on them, and then at least 2 coats of cabinet paint. (not regular interior paint). They take a while to cure, but, then the finish does turn pretty hard. If you have a painter come in to do it, make sure he also does the proper prep, uses proper primer, and proper cabinet type paint. Also make sure he leaves some behind for you, to use for touch ups that may happen.

  • rantontoo

    Research proper prep and types of cabinet paint. A cabinet painter can spray the doors/drawers at the shop and paint the frames in place. It is important to understand the best methods even if you do not DIY so you avoid shoddy work and poor-result chipping/peeling paint.

  • PRO
    Creative Design Cabinetry

    How much do you want to spend? A quality finish is not cheap. The cabinets appear to be in decent shape but a builder grade. My opinion not worth the cost except for a DIY.

  • sloyder

    save your money for the cabinets you really want, rather than spending money and time on a stop gap measure.

  • tpliska

    Just finished painting my sons golden oak cabinets with BM ADVANCE. Turned out better than expected. Was well worth it, but do not underestimate the prep work needed, and the amount of time it will take. All doors and drawer fronts removed. Everything cleaned well, then thoroughly sanded - time consuming and a mess. Thankfully we had a shed to do that in. Primed. Then three coats of paint. Lightly sanding in between each coat. Yes 4 coats total. And the plan is to replace them within 3-5 years.

  • suseyb

    Cabinet painting is either expensive or time consuming, if you want to do it right. Many times, new cabinets will cost the same amount as a very good paint job.

  • PRO
    Open House Home Staging & Redesign, LLC

    I've painted several sets of kitchen and bathroom cabinets. It's not rocket science, you just have to be patient, not cut corners, and be realistic.

    Realistic: If you've ever painted a front door, that will give you a good idea of how painted kitchen cabinets will look. Not horrible, not even bad, but not the glossy "lacquered" look of professionally or factory sprayed kitchen cabinets.

    Patient: Doing it right takes time. One of the biggest steps is to let the cabinets "cure" for at least 30 days before shutting doors and drawers all the way, and in general babying them. If you do this, along with proper prep work, your paint job will be very durable.

    Not cut corners: Painting kitchen cabinets requires (1) cleaning well with a TSP substitute/degreaser; (2) lightly sanding; (3) priming with an oil-based primer; and (4) at least two coats of a good quality paint (I've used SW Pro-Classic and Cabinet Coat with good results).

    I've never regretted the time I spent painting cabinets, it was always FAR cheaper than new cabinets, and the result was worth it. But don't fool yourself that it's a quick process!

  • suseyb

    @Open House - I used powdered dirtex to clean our cabinets because it doesn't require rinsing. TSP and it's substitutes need rinsing, and if it's not rinsed well, it can cause adherence issues.

    It's a lot cheaper to DIY, but if won't be a conversion varnish, for sure.

  • paintguy22

    I don't know what builder grade means. They look like maple cabinets to me. As long as the wood is solid and not particle board, they can be painted and the paint should hold up fine as long as you use quality materials and do the job properly.

  • Matt
    Builder grade are just cheap. Solid hardwood face frames, door rails and Stiles. Chipboard boxes with basically a wood image sticker.
  • Matt
    But yes if good prep and product they can be painted.
  • suseyb

    Matt - They can, for sure. They just need to be worth it. We spent the extra $ for Fine Paints of Europe paint and primer for our builder grade cabinets. I love the color, and think they look great, but in retrospect, I may have used Advance or SW's wb alkyd. Well, my husband painted. He used whatever paint I brought home. :)

    The prep is almost more important than the painting. Quality products definitely help. Use good paintbrushes.

  • Faron79

    Another vote for FPE!!!! Cheap? Hell no. Ridiculously good? YES. Some of their Eurogallons are around $100.


  • Jennifer

    I totally agree, paint them. Why throw out perfectly good cabinets, just do the prep work. We had these terrible light tan cabinets in our kitchen when we moved in and had some painters paint them dark blue. I love them! Hands down the best part of my house. Before and after....sorry the after photos not professional and a bit messy.

  • hevs

    Wow!! That’s so pretty! I want to paint mine navy and add brass hardware. I am so he’ll bent on doing it. I haven’t been back in a while to check messages - thanks for all your tips here :)

  • Jennifer
    Hale Navy is the colour we used. I totally recommend it.
  • PRO
    Beautiful. A lot of work but so worth it! Mine are Hale Navy, too!
  • Chris & Donna Barton
    sanding woodwork is a must. use oil based furniture paint, 3 coats. ventilation recommended! will be beautiful.

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