Kitchen Cabinet Makeover

by J on October 9, 2010

If your kitchen cabinets have seen better days, but you don’t have the money to splurge on new ones, you may want to consider painting your cabinets. Painting can dramatically transform drab, worn cabinets into a polished set of cabinets that most people will think are brand new. And, if you change out the hardware, too, you’ll have a complete fresh look at a fraction of the cost of new ones.

Let’s take a look at what you’ll need to get this home improvement started.

  • Drill
  • 150-grit sandpaper
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Latex bonding primer
  • Tack cloth or rags
  • Flush spackling compound
  • Latex enamel or oil-based paint

To get started, you need to prep the cabinets. Most kitchen cabinets are sealed. In order for paint to penetrate this seal, the surface of the cabinet needs to be roughed up so that it will accept a coat of paint. If you don’t feel competent to do this work, just contact you local home improvement expert, and they’ll be happy to complete the work for you.

Start by washing the cabinets with a mild soap and water and rinse. Next, remove the cupboard doors and hardware from the cabinets. If you are changing the hardware, you will need to fill in the screw holes with compound. The doors will be much easier to paint when they are separated from the cabinet base. Devise some sort of number system so that you remember which door goes to which cabinet.

Next, take the 150-grit sandpaper and sand the doors and cabinets. Your goal is not to go to bare wood, but to simply etch the surface. Use a shop vac to get rid of all the dust and then wipe the cabinets and doors down with a tack cloth or wet rag.

Next you need to apply a coat of primer to all the surfaces. Use an oil-based multi-purpose primer/sealer. After the primer has dried, you will need to do a light sanding with the 220-grit sandpaper. This helps to ensure a smooth surface after the primer. Use the shop vac and tack cloth to again clean up the cabinets.

Now you are ready to paint. Choose a latex enamel or oil-based paint. Your local painting contractor should be able to help you choose if you are not sure which way to go. Whichever type you decide upon, this is not the time to try to save money. Choose a quality paint, because it makes a big difference in the final product.

Start by painting the inside of the cabinets, then the sides and finally the front facings. Paint the doors, one side at a time; be sure to allow each side to thoroughly dry before flipping it over to paint the reverse.

Once everything is dry, put the doors back on the cabinets and then attach the knobs or pulls.

Voila! You have a beautiful set of like-new cabinets at a fraction of the cost of new ones.

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