Of all home-improvement projects, updating a kitchen is one of the most expensive, yet most rewarding, projects. If you have laminated kitchen cabinets in good shape, you can save the expense of replacing them by painting them instead. While it takes a bit of time to get the job done right, painting kitchen cabinets is a simple process that can save hundreds or thousands of dollars on a kitchen remodel.
The first step to painting kitchen cabinets is to label each drawer and door with a number and place the corresponding number somewhere on the inside of the wall or base cabinet. This will make reinstalling the doors and drawers easier once the painting is finished. With labels in place, remove all doors and drawers from their base cabinet.
Next, remove all hardware, hinges, drawer pulls, and handles from your cabinet doors and drawers. If you are adding hardware where none previously existed, drill the holes before you paint. Once all the hardware is removed, thoroughly clean the wall and base cabinets along with the door and drawer fronts. A clean surface to begin painting is fundamental to the overall process. Be sure you use a cleaner that does not leave behind oily residues and that you do not allow excess water to seep into any particle board or plywood in your cabinets.
Prepare the wall and base cabinets for painting by masking off adjoining walls, ceiling, and floor with painter’s tape. Apply a coat of oil-based primer to all surfaces that are to be painted. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for application and drying times. Once the primer coat is dry, sand the surfaces with #220 sand paper. Sand in a light, circular motion to create a surface the paint can adhere to well. When you have completed sanding, go over all surfaces with a tack cloth to remove any possible excess debris.
Finally, apply the first coat of your chosen oil-based paint. Use a small 4 inch (10.2 cm) roller with rounded ends for painting. Apply in even strokes paying close attention to run-off at the edges while painting. You may need to use a small brush for corner areas. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s directions for drying time between coats if two are needed. Apply a final coat of oil-based clear coat for extra protection and durability.
Once the painting is finished and the cabinets and door fronts are completely dry, you can reinstall them on their proper base or wall cabinet. Reinstall the hinges to the doors, then the doors to the cabinet, and finally add the hardware. In the end, you will have freshly painted cabinets with a new look and more money to invest in countertops, flooring or appliances.