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Painting Your Kitchen Cabinets? [Read this first!]

With a completely new kitchen out of the budget, many look to resurfacing or painting cabinets as a way to makeover a kitchen. However, is it really more cost-effective to go this route?

Today we'll be exploring what it takes to prepare your kitchen cabinets for a painting makeover.

Questions to ask before you get started:

How much time do you have to invest in this project?

As you'll be removing all the doors and drawers, cleaning, sanding, priming, painting, then re-installing, this is a labor intensive and time consuming project. On average, this takes most home-owners 2 to 4 weeks to complete.

Which products will you be using?

Make sure to do extensive research on the type of paint and equipment you'll need for this project. You want good and durable results that will last the test of time, so make sure to go for quality tools!

Recommended paint: Benjamin Moore Advance or Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane

Which technique will you be using?

Will you be spraying or brushing and rolling? Regardless of which method you choose, make sure to practice before you start, so you can get the even finish you want!

Recommended finish: Graco TrueCoat Paint Sprayer

Now that you've done the research, it's time for kitchen teardown and prep! Below are the tools you'll need to make sure this process goes smoothly.

Tear Down and Prep Supplies

  • Ladder

  • Portable trash can

  • Large trash bags

  • Moving blankets

  • Blue scotch tape for numbering openings

  • Black sharpies

  • Storage bin for hardware

  • Drill and drill batteries

  • Small screwdriver

  • Degreasing cleanser

  • Two buckets

  • Scotchbright sponges

  • Microfiber cloths

  • Wood filler

  • Medium 1/2" Sanding Pads

  • 180 grit film

  • Denatured alcohol

  • Green Frog tape

  • White scotch tape

  • Floor covering

  • 3M masker

  • Masking film

  • Flexible painter's caulk

  • Dust extractor and sander

Know Your Surface

As you're preparing to prepare and clean your surfaces for primer and paint, make sure to know what your cabinets are made of.

If you're working with solid wood cabinets, you can be generous in terms of scrubbing with water. If you're dealing with MDF of other engineered wood, you'll want to minimize the amount of cleaner and water used, to avoid water damage and warping.


Make sure to thoroughly clean all surfaces with a degreasing cleanser, green scotch bright sponge and a cleaning brush and get really into all the crevices of the door surface.

Recommended cleaners: Krud Kutter, Spray 9, Denatured alcohol, ammonia and water

Cleaners to avoid: Dawn and TSP

Remember: all dirt and grease must be removed for optimal primer and paint adhesion! Or you'll end up with something like this very soon.

Then, rinse all the cleaner off with a 50/50 ratio of denatured alcohol and water.

Let your cabinets completely dry.

Then, using your 150-180 grit sand paper, scuff and de-gloss your cabinets. After scuffing, vacuum and lightly wipe the surface to clean any remaining debris.

Now you're finally ready to prime and paint!

Whew, that's it folks! If you're feeling overwhelmed, you're not alone!

This is a huge DIY undertaking and you want to make sure that your new cabinet colors will endure the test of time through all the wear and tear kitchens go through.

If this isn't your cup of tea, make sure to reach out to us!

While we don't resurface cabinets at Wholewood, our new cabinets are often the same price quoted for customers who want a professional to resurface their cabinets.

Get an estimate today to get started on a quick hassle-free kitchen makeover!

Houston: 832-784-8880

Seattle: 425-747-4085

Want more information on painting cabinets? Check out this Facebook Group where community members and professionals share tips and tricks to painting and resurfacing kitchen cabinets!

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