Whether you have kitchen cabinets with modern designs or a classic look, there are two approaches to painting your kitchen cabinets yourself—DIY and professional DIY.
DIY kitchen repainting processes are shorter and simpler. They are extremely cheap and save time, money, and effort but risk compromising on the results. In the end, the kitchen cabinets may have visible brush strokes and roller stipples, and former surface cracks and fractures may be visible under the fresh paint.
On the other hand, professional DIY processes take a bit more of everything—time, money, and effort—aiming for a pitch-perfect result. We've formulated this guide as an attempt to combine both approaches. Here, you'll learn how to professionally paint your kitchen cabinets without investing too many resources.
Things You Will Need
Here are a few things you will need to paint your kitchen cabinets professionally:
- Cabinet Paint
- Primer Sealer
- Paint Remover
- Caulk & Caulking
- A Paint Roller
- A Paint Brush
- Sanding Block
- Fine-grit Sandpaper
- Cleaning Cloth (multiple pieces)
- Pry Bar
- Old Newspapers
- Cleaning Agent (denatured alcohol or Krud Kutter)
As for the time, you'll need to invest about six to sixteen hours in the process. If we consider the drying time, as well, the entire project will demand thirty to thirty-six hours. Ideally, it's best to divide the process over a few days (four to five days, for example).
How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets Professionally
Before you begin with the process, prepare yourself by:
- Changing into rough clothes
- Covering your head with a cloth
- Wearing an apron, mask, and gloves
You'll be using dangerous chemicals and tools throughout the process, so it's important to protect yourself.
Step 1: Prepare Painting Space
First, remove everything inside the kitchen cabinets. Cover the floor, table, and any other surfaces with old newspapers.
Set up a central well-ventilated area nearby a window or fan as your painting station. You can use a table for this but if there's no table suitable for the job, lay down a thick layer of old newspapers. You'll be using this space to repaint your kitchen cabinet doors and drawers and allow them to dry.
Step 2: Remove Doors and Hardware
Use a screwdriver and pry bar to take out the cabinets and drawers from their fixed positions. Make sure you keep small plastic or paper bags with you along with a marker. Store the screws and hardware of each cabinet in a separate bag and label it so you don't struggle when putting the cabinets back together.
Step 3: Remove Old Paint
Clean the surface of the cabinets using steel wool and a cleaning agent. It's important to remove any grease, oil, or dirt that’s accumulated on the surface so the new paint adheres well. Wipe and scrub, and let the cabinets dry. Once they dry, strip off the old paint using paint remover. Depending on the color and type of paint, you may have to apply it multiple times.
Step 4: Even Cabinet Surfaces
Next, apply a wood-friendly primer to the cabinet surfaces. Use a brush to apply primer on each nook and corner. Once applied, let it dry.
After priming the cabinets, sand them using fine-grit sandpaper. After this, apply caulk in areas with cracks and fractures. The aim here is to even the surface.
Step 5: Apply Paint & Reassemble
Now, begin applying the paint. Start with cabinet boxes and follow it up with cabinet doors, and then drawers. After the first coat dries, apply the second coat. If you see any brush strokes on the surface, sand the cabinet again after the second coat. Following this, apply the third and final coat.
Once all the parts are painted, grab the small packets with labels that you created earlier to put the cabinets back together.
Is It Better to Paint or Replace Kitchen Cabinets?
This depends on the condition of your cabinets. If your cabinets are broken, sagging, breaking, delaminating, or exhibiting any other prominent damage, you need to replace them. If they're only dull with minor cracks here and there, it's best to paint them.
Is Replacing Kitchen Cabinets Cheaper Than Painting Them?
On average, it can cost $100 to $280 per linear foot to replace kitchen cabinets. In total, it can cost you anywhere between $2,000 and $6,000.
On the other hand, painting kitchen cabinets costs only $30 to $60 including professional labor. In total, it could cost you $600 to $1,200 for a medium-sized kitchen. However, if you choose to paint your cabinets yourself, you can cut down the cost to $100 to $200. Hence, it is cheaper to repaint kitchen cabinets instead of replacing them, and it's the cheapest to do it yourself—just make sure to use the steps described above to achieve professional results.
If you’re looking for more creative ways to spice up your kitchen, check out our recent post on decorating above kitchen cabinets.