Painting Cabinets. Your questions answered!

Painting cabinets or touching up previously painted cabinets is a HOT TOPIC! You sent over hundreds of questions on how to paint cabinets and I’ve compiled a materials list as well as answered the top 14 questions! Happy painting!

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Sheen: Satin or Semigloss

Top Coat options:

Varathane Polyacrylic in Satin or Semi Gloss
General Finishes High Performance Satin

What paint to use?

Paint Options for DIYers:

Sherwin Williams Emerald urethane trim enemal- do NOT add a top coat
Sherwin Williams Pro Classic + top coat
Benjamin Moore Advance + top coat optional
PPG Breakthrough + top coat optional

Do you need a primer if its primer and paint in one?

In my own personal opinion, YES! I would use BIN shellac primer if you have previously stained cabinets, melamine or cabinets that are shiny and need some good adhesion. BIN primer does smell, and because it is shellac based you must clean your brushes/sprayer with denatured alcohol regular soap and water will not work. Another primer I use on most surfaces is the Zinsser 1,2,3 Bullseye primer. This one is water based so clean up is a breeze and will work as a primer on any surface that isn’t listed above as a hard to primer surface.

Is there a different paint for kitchens vs. bathrooms

There isn’t. A cabinet is a cabinet regardless of the room that it is in.

How do you prop up the cabinet doors

I like to use some form of cup (like a disposable solo or Dixie cup) to prob the doors on. They also do sell drying racks, but they get pricey.

Do you sand the inside of the drawers if they are a laminate material

The best part of melamine is that it is easy to clean (use krud cutter if they are gross). You can prime and paint them… but I would actually just tape and mask off the inside of drawers and cabinets and only paint the face frame and doors.

Do you sand between coats

Yes! Always sand with a 220 grit sanding block. Just lightly enough to knock off any of the bumps or spray bubbles/drips. If you have a mess up drip sand that down until you can no longer feel it as your run your hand along it… then paint the next coat. I sand in-between primer and paint and in between paint coats. Do not sand the final coat.

Can you get cabinets smooth finish without a sprayer

Yes you can! As long as you are using one of the above mentioned paints, your finish can be smooth if you are using a foam high density roller. I painted my bathroom vanity build with a foam roller and my DIY laundry tower as well.

Where can you paint cabinets without a garage space.

You can do this project outside, ideally on a covered porch, but you risk dirt and leaves. An empty basement is another good place as long as you have good lighting. You can also do this project in phases so you are only painting 5-10 doors at a time.

Caulk the grooves of the cabinet first?

Yes!!! Caulk the grooves before paint!

What to do if previous home owner painted over hinges?

You can use paint stripper like citristrip and just have them submerged for a few minutes or stick them in a boiling pot of hot water for 15-20 minutes and then buff the paint off the hinges.

Chipped cabinets do I have to sand them all the way down?

It depends on how chipped they are. I have sanded cabinets all the way to bare wood before (click here to read about that process), and it isn’t terrible, but if you are wanting a nice smooth finish you have to at least sand down the chip and surrounding areas until you no longer feel any transition when you run your hand along it.

Paint that hardens as it dries

All of the paints I listed above are enamels so they will harden and cure as they dry. It takes about 7 days for the curing process to be complete.

Do you have to seal with a poly?

If you are using Emerald or PPG Breakthrough you do not need to apply a poly. The others, I would apply a poly.

Thermofoil paintable? Can you paint ikea cabinets?

Yes, it is paintable as long as it isn’t peeling off and it’s in good condition. If you want to remove the thermofoil instead of painting you can do so with a heat gun. Painting it is just like painting any other laminate or melamine surface, sand with 120 grit lightly, apply BIN shellac primer, then paint.

Hopefully this was helpful! For more DIY tips and projects be sure to follow along on instagram @honeybuilthome and for a full step by step tutorial on how to paint kitchen cabinets and SO MUCH MORE be sure to check out DIY Beginner Basics. use code HONEYBUILT10 for 10% off.

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Meet Christine Gummersall, a mother of 4, coach's wife, former Labor and Delivery nurse, and self taught DIYer who decided to take a sledge hammer to her 1950's bathroom over a decade ago and hasn't stopped tackling her honey-do list since.  Folow along as christine breaks down the pretty afters, by showing the whole how to process and empowers you to STOP waiting, and START creating a home you love, with your own two hands! 

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