painting kitchen cabinets

August 13, 2019

Need to paint kitchen cabinets

Comments (9)

  • PRO

    And your question is?

  • Kristina

    I lightly sanded, then tried to put on a primer coat for varnished cabinets. ..What a mess! It started to dry before I was finished smoothing it...then got lumpy...then I didn't know what to do!

  • Kristina

    I'm still trying to figure out this site. I can't edit my initial commen

  • chloe00s

    In the search box on Houzz, put in “how to paint kitchen cabinets” and click on “Stories”. There is an excellent article “From the pros: how to paint kitchen cabinets” with lots and lots of user comments and advice. Do go through the comments carefully. My advice contribution was to use wet sanding between the coats of paint - MUCH easier and more reliably smooth and consistent results than trying to sand with regular dry sandpaper.

  • chloe00s

    Then put your additional info and questions in a new comment.

  • PRO

    You need lots more sanding. Start now.

    Here is how I would expect a pro to spray paint kitchen cabinets. An amateur job should follow the same path. A brush painted job would differ slightly in that you wouldn't hang the doors to paint. You'd place them on a work table or easel instead. It's time intensive work, and should take 7-14 days for a Pro to accomplish completely and cost between 8--10K depending on kitchen size and amount of detail in cabinets.

    Remove doors and drawer fronts.

    Remove hinges and hardware.

    Clean with Spic and Span

    Rinse and let dry.

    Scrape any loose finish.

    Fill any damaged spots or hardware holes that won't be reused.

    Sand fill smooth.

    Scuff sand the rest.

    Tack off dust.

    Hang in dust free paint booth with wires through hardware points to spray both sides. Or lay on a spinner, and do one side at a time.

    Tack off dust again.

    Spray with shellac based primer.

    Scuff sand again.

    Tack off dust.

    Spray with second coat of primer.

    Spray with first finish coat of a polyurethane enamel (DIY) Or conversion varnish, (Pro product) . NOT house paint. Never house paint.

    Spray with second coat.

    If glazing is to occur, that is next.

    Spray with clear over glaze that is compatible with base coat and glaze.

    Add more molding or decorative details to boxes, filling nail holes and sanding smooth.

    Repeat prep process with face frames and exposed cabinet sides using plastic to create a spray booth on site. If interiors are to be done, they are done before face frames and sides. Interiors are difficult, and add both time and expense to the job. Most interiors are laminate and don't accept paint well.

    Allow everything to fully cure. That's 7-14 days.

    Clean hinges and hardware and clear coat if you're keeping the old hardware.

    Install new (or old) hinges and hardware.

    Re-install doors and drawers and adjust for proper clearances.

    If you are receiving or doing a job without this amount of effort, then you are not getting a quality job.

  • chloe00s

    Sorry Kristina, I didn’t realize it was your own comment about the primer problem. If the primer dried too fast and is uneven, you need to sand. What are you using to apply the primer? Spraying is the best, but if not spraying, I would not use a regular brush, but a very small roller - foam or a smooth, not too textured roller, or else a foam brush. Do a small section at a time. To fix the “lumpy” issue you describe: go buy a wet sanding block and use the wet sanding technique I described further in my (2018) comments attached to the “From the Pros: How to paint kitchen cabinets” article on Houzz. For the primer coat, maybe use a 100 or 150 grit sanding block/sponge to smooth out the unevenness. Then use a finer grit wet sanding block - maybe up to 200 or 220 grit on final coats.

  • nosoccermom

    Try to sand to make the surface even. Then head to general Finishes and get their milk paint. It is not regular milk paint but rather suitable for indoor/outdoor use.

    I have used it on dressers and nightstands, and it dries to a beautiful hard finish. No sanding required.

    Link to instructions and pictures, plus follow-up here (not by me):


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