Pro Tips when Painting those ugly old kitchen cabinets

Pro Tips when Painting those ugly old kitchen cabinets

If you have solid kitchen cabinets but they’re starting to look dated, giving them a lick of paint can make them look brand new without breaking the bank. While you could hire a professional to do the job, it would be cheaper to paint them yourself. There’s no need to spray paint cabinets in order to achieve a smooth finish, and using a brush is just as good as long as you follow the essential steps. While it may be more time consuming, the final result will be a durable finish that looks flawless and has cost you a fraction of the amount.

Preparing The Space

Before you begin, you need to make sure the room is well prepared. Empty all cabinets, clear the counters and remove all appliances. Move furniture into another room and tape rosin paper over all flooring and countertops. Place plastic sheeting over the windows, backsplash, interior doorways and fixed appliances and mask off all of the wall around each cabinet. Last of all, put up a work table on which you can paint the shelves, drawers and doors.

Removing Drawers And Shelves

Take the hinge screws out of the cabinet frame and then remove the door. Label each with a piece of numbered tape. Number each cabinet shelf’s end as well as the bases of each drawer. Place all the hardware to one side and remove all hinges and pulls.

Clean Surfaces

Open all windows to allow better ventilation and wear safety gear. Scrub all of the doors, face frames, shelves and drawer fronts using an abrasive pad that has been dipped in a liquid deglosser then wipe the residue away with a clean damp rag.

Fill The Holes

When relocating hardware, always fill the old holes using an auto body filler or 2 part polyester wood. It will set quickly so make it in small amounts. Overfill each hole to allow for shrinkage. Once it has set, sand it down until it is smooth.

Sanding Down

Use 100 grit sandpaper for sanding down all surfaces with the grain. To ensure there is no dust marring your flawless finish, use a vacuum to clean the cabinets both outside and in and then rub then down using a tack cloth.


If the cabinets are made out of a wood with a tight grain such as maple, cherry or a man-made material you should use a primer with an oil base, however If the cabinets are made from a wood with an open grain such as ash, mahogany, hickory and oak, you should apply an oil based coating first to fill up the grain, starting from top to bottom. Allow to dry for at least a day before applying another coat and leaving again to dry for another 24 hours. Sand the surfaces using a random orbit sander and 220 grit sandpaper.


Fill open seams with a thin bead of latex caulk, smoothing it with your damp finger. Fill all scratches and dents with vinyl spackle and smooth it flat using a putty knife. Leave it to dry for an hour before sanding down, vacuuming and wiping. Spot prime the spackle using a spray of oil based rapid drying primer. Wait 60 minutes then sand, vacuum and wipe once more.

Painting Cabinets

Apply paint from the top to the bottom across the grain and then tip it off. Use a mini roller to paint the inside of cabinets and sand down all surfaces before vacuuming and cleaning once more. Use a new brush for the final coat. Once that has dried, put the shelf hangers back in place.

Painting Drawers, Shelves And Doors

Follow the same sequence that you followed for painting the cabinets but carry out the work on a table so that the chance of any sagging, running or dripping is reduced. Paint one side and leave to dry before painting the other, and always keep the faces flat.

Replace Shelving And Drawers

Once the last coat has dried, put all the shelving back, reinstall the knob and hinges and rehang. Replace all drawer pulls and reinstall drawers into their opening.

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