Capree K

1032 posts

Capree Kimball is a design nerd and a dog-loving optimist with a penchant for collecting tin robots and gobbling up gravy-smothered biscuits. You… read more

Comments - How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets: A Step-by-Step Guide to DIY Bliss!

Carolyn on Jan 15, 2016:

Hi! So, it's important to read the instructions on all the products you use, because different products can really require different applications. Some primers, like mine, require one coat only and if you prime twice it will have that bubbly look. I didn't realize that and I stopped priming twice part way through. The cabinets I primed once look absolutely professional!! But not so much with the other cabinets... :( It's still a bit wet, so maybe it'll just take a little longer to cure. I do think it's important to use paint made specifically for cabinets. Benjamin Moore has one, Advance, and Sherwin Williams offers a line of cabinet paint too. Thanks for your post!! :)

Anonymous on Jan 02, 2015:

Yes, Edwin, its doable, but first you must remove all of the wax.  Nothing will stick to wax.  Best to ask a knowledgeable person what to use.  I am not sure.  You should use a wood sealer before primer to insure wood grain does not bleed through, because you should lightly sand after wax removal.  Use a good adhering and high hide primer.  Oil based will be necessary in your case. The grooves are coverable - I've done it.  Drywall compound sands the smoothest and feathers out easily, but examine carefully (tangential lighting) to insure you can't see the outlines.  Double prime those areas to increase durability of those filled areas.  At 62 I'm beyond being able to work on or near a floor so things have to be fetched and brought to me to work on them on a table.  Let someone else do the faces of the base cabinets - you just supervise. And, remember:  Oil base paint is best.  No gloss or semigloss because it will show every defect (not for DIY'ers), AND hardware is 70% of the final appearance!  Choose carefully, don't scrimp on cost, and align carefully; everything else fades into the background.

Edwin F. Gibbs on Jan 02, 2015:

My cabinettes are a dark stain with about 20 years of wax build up.  They have are a solid plywood.  They are an old style with a patterned groove all around the face of the door and drawers.  Can i fill this in with (what?), then sand it down flush to make a flat face and will the filler accept the paint without showing thru?  The next question is do you think this is a projectd a 77 year old man should tackle or would you reccommend calling in an expert?

Sue on Oct 05, 2014:

If you are going to go through all the work, use OIL BASE! 13years ago, we did all the prep work and painted with very high quality white latex. White begs to be washed. Within 5 years, the paint was washing off. It took on a rustic look that was OK for a few years, but now we are doing it all over again. We really did not want to renovate again so soon!

lizzy on Sep 09, 2014:

I with Kerry on this one. I am afraid if I paint my cabinets it will look like a DIY. That would be sad after doing all the prep work.  

Katie on Jun 05, 2014:

Do I need to sand everything down if my cabinets are already painted? Just bought my first house and wow the kitchen is ugly.

mina on Oct 27, 2013:

What prep steps are recommended if the cabinets have already been painted before? Appreciate any advice.

Anonymous on Oct 26, 2013:

Hello EMH you can get those tiles at Bunnings

Nancy on Sep 05, 2013:

I love the true white color. I see it was by Benjamin Moore. What was the actual name?

Tony on Aug 11, 2013:

2 much hard work lol I will just by a whole new kitchen make it easier haha

E. Solis on Jul 25, 2013:

I was wondering if you do the sides of the cabinet drawers as well or just the outer doors???

melissaknits on Jul 22, 2013:

THANK YOU! We just started our cabinet re-painting project and my first thought was "Those young whippersnappers who get this done in a weekend must have some magic skills that we old farts lack...proper prep alone is going to take a weekend!". Glad to see we're not the only ones who will need more than a couple of days!

emh on Jul 17, 2013:

I love the tile in the backsplash in the picture. Anyone know where I could find something similar?

Anonymous on Jun 03, 2013:

Chipboard laminate  is certainly paintable.  Depending on what kind of a surface it has, it should be sanded - just enough to "etch" the surface; cleaned well, and a good adhesive type primer applied.  I think RustOleum has a good primer that adheres very well to just about any surface.  Don't use Kilz.   It's adherence is poor.

Tina on Jun 01, 2013:

My cabinets are awful chipboard laminate, do you think that they can be sanded and painted. Has anyone ever tried it successfully? Many people have told me that the paint would chip.

Tina on Jun 01, 2013:

Hey there! I have cabinets that are chipboard laminate type, awful, do you think they can be painted as well. People have told me that I can't paint them because the paint will chip and come off. Does anyone even know if I can sand down chopboard laminate??

Lea on May 01, 2013:

Hi where can you buy the materials needed.

Anonymous on Feb 21, 2013:

One gallon of paint or primer will go a long way because there is no absorption of paint like you have on walls and ceilings or plain wood.  Your biggest investment (besides your undiverted attenion to the detail of perfoming the job) is brushes.  You must use fine haired brushes of high quality, recommended for the paint you are using - they run more than $10 a piece - so clean them carefully after each use. A thinning agent such as Floetrol (for latex) is useful to avoid streaking.  Mineral spirits is used for oil - based paint.  This is referred to as a "leveler." and affords a professional look by minimizing the streaks you get with brush strokes.  Practice on a board to test how much thinning is optimal. 

Brittany K on Feb 21, 2013:

How many gallons of paint and primer did you end up needing? We want to do this SOON! Thanks!

Anonymous on Jan 31, 2013:

Don't use standard quality latex paint and never ever the paint plus primer in one - you'll wind up with a streaky gummy mess that you'll have trouble sanding between coats and it will not stick to the cabinet like it needs to.  It is best to use an "oil based enamel" or its more modern counterpart (acrylic?) and in fact, go to a Benjamin Moore or similar specialty paint store with knowledgeable staff and ask what they recommend.  The cost of the paint is not that big an issue because the amount you'll use is amazingly little (one gallon will paint 2 dozen cabinets at least).  Your time and  careful effort will be the biggest investment in this project. 

And to the person who inquired about laminate... it paints up great but you should clean it well, then give it a fine sanding and prime it first.  There are some really great primers out by Rustoleum, for example, designed for priming specific surfaces - just inquire if you're not sure what type is best. 

Amanda on Jan 30, 2013:

Do you have to clean with a degreaser?  We pulled our cabinet doors off and just started sanding with an electric sander.  Do we need to go back and degrease?  Didn't we kind of sand all the grease and grime off?

Kerry on Jan 07, 2013:

hiya, thanks for sharing this article. If one looked close up at the end result, does it look like it's been a home job/DIY'd or does it look like white kitchen cabinet's you'd buy in the shop? Please let me know before I ruin my light brown wood kitchen cupboards, as I don't like the homemade look and would rather just buy new ones or leave as is. Thanks for your honesty in advance!

Debbie Villegas on Dec 28, 2012:

I am painting cabinets that are simi gloss white to a white gloss do I still need to sand down my cabinets? Also the paint I am using is a one coat with primer in it...Velspar is that a good paint?

Dan on Dec 23, 2012:


If you have not used it yet I highly advise you DO NOT use the paint and primer in one. I used it to paint a walk in closet and found when painted shelves made contact with one another then were pulled apart to be readjusted, it would literally pull the paint off of both services like string cheese! I had to use a heat gun to clean EVERY painted surface off and then paint again with REAL paint. I found Benjamin Moore to work well. If you have already used it I hope it worked out for you, but for your sake I hope you haven't sailed directly into the disaster I had to endure.

DidThis B-4 on Dec 15, 2012:

What they say about the prep is the gospel truth; but the train gets off the tracks after that....

Much better results if you use leveler or paint containing a leveler.  (These are NOT available at the big box stores). Getting a smooth finish is not easy as described in this article.  Leveler (a paint additive)  makes paint more forgiving when it comes to brush marks and eliminates the need to spray paint if you are careful. Also pay attention to the level of glossiness - more shiny is NOT better unless you are going for a porcelain look.  More gloss = more conspicuous defects.  Stick to satin or eggshell grades.

Finally, it has been commented elsewhere, and is my experience that Kilz is NOT what it use to be, dries too fast leaving brush marks, dries too gummy to sand; and does not have the adhesive properties it used fact many painters consider it useless.  Best to use Bin or some solvent based primer....cleanup may be more of a hassle, and you may not like the smell, but you're only gonna do this once, so do it right.

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