10 Big Mistakes You Make When Painting Your Kitchen Cabinets

10 Big Mistakes You Make When Painting Your Kitchen Cabinets

Posted by Jackline Mukami | December 16, 2019 | Blog

Painted cabinets are ruling Pinterest these days since intrepid DIYers love the idea of updating their kitchens with only a few coats of a new color.

It seems like a no-brainer project, but this undertaking actually has many potential pitfalls. Avoid these blunders to end up with cabinets you can’t wait to show off:

  1. You have unrealistic expectations.

Painted cabinets look lovely, but they aren’t going to look totally smooth. If the cabinets have a visible open grain, the grooves are going to show through the paint.

Even if it wasn’t super obvious when the wood was just stained, it is going to be more evident once the paint dries. You can fill the grain with putty, but that can be time-intensive and challenging to get just right.

  1. You don’t allow yourself enough time.

This isn’t a lazy Sunday project. People often think it is a weekend job, but it takes at least four to seven days when you build in the proper prep time (and snack breaks, of course).

  1. You don’t clean the wood.

No matter how clean you think your kitchen is, you need to wipe everything down with a grease remover. Otherwise, when you add a water-based paint to an oil-covered door, the paint won’t stick.

Related article: When is the Right Time to Replace your Kitchen Suite?

  1. You don’t remove the doors off and drawers.

This is a crucial first step: Take all the doors off, pull the drawers out and remove the hardware knobs and hinges. Some people try to save time by painting everything — hinges and all — while they are still in place, but experts warn that it’s not a long-term fix.

Your cabinets and hardware will start to chip and show signs of wear within a month — or even immediately. Once the paint on the hinges starts to crack, all you can do is sand everything down and soak the hardware to remove the paint, so save yourself the aggravation.

  1. You skip labeling where your doors, drawers, and hardware go.

Because what once was hung up will need to go back in the same place, it is worth using numbered labels to help you remember where everything goes. A piece of masking tape stuck to the back of each piece will do just fine.

  1. You skip sanding.

Even if your cabinets are in near perfect condition, you still have to sand them so the paint will stick. Use sandpaper in the middle of the spectrum (150 or 200 grit is good) and just give all of the surfaces a quick buffing.

You are not trying to get down to the bare wood – you just want to take the surface from glossy to matte.

  1. Your surface isn’t dust-free before you paint.

Vacuum up any debris before you even think of dipping that brush in paint. Just a few pieces of dust can ruin the look: You’ll get a gritty finish and it’ll look like you painted over-sand. To fix it, you will have to sand it and repaint it all over again.

  1. You don’t prime.

It is tempting to skip this step, but consider this: Your finished kitchen could look amazing then, three weeks or three months later, knots in the wood can start to bleed through your paint.

Use a stain-blocking primer, and you won’t get surprise blotches as the paint cures.

  1. You pick the wrong color.

Of course, there is no right or wrong color for your own kitchen. But for cabinets, it is important you get it right the first time: “This project is easy but it is not the kind of job you are going to want to redo any time soon if you don’t like the color.

Paint a big poster board with a tester can in the color you’re considering. Hang it up next to your backsplash and your appliances and make sure that’s really the color you want.

  1. You rush to put cabinets back.

Yes, it’s super annoying to wait days for paint to cure. But if you accidentally smudge the paint, you have to sand the door and repaint it (a hard truth any woman who’s rushed to leave the nail salon surely understands).

As much as it kills to stare at the doors on the floor drying, you’d much rather wait than jump the gun.



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