I’m echoing YHL’s droopy but spirited happy dance following cabinet-painting completion. This project now tops my “most time-consuming” project ever. Blowing my reupholstered wingback chair project right out of the water. But it was COMPLETELY worth all the time and energy it took. My kitchen looks totally different now– in an amazingly awesome kind of way.
Oh, and I fully understand why it seems to cost an arm and a leg to pay someone else to paint cabinets for you– it’s not for the feint of heart, or for someone who struggles to finish projects.
Here’s what I needed:
- Sandwich baggies – FREE
- Phillips Screwdriver – FREE
- Electric Drill – FREE
- TSP – FREE (a good thing to own)
- Palm Sander – FREE, purchased for my farmhouse table build, but only about $30 to buy
- 120 or 150 grit Sandpaper - $3.97
- Primer* – $48 (Benjamin Moore Advance Primer)
- Paint – $48 (Benjamin Moore Advance paint, Satin sheen, color: Distant Gray)
- Quality paint brush – FREE (I used a 1″ Purdy brush. I like 1″ better than 2″ personally, but a 2″ brush is usually recommended)
- Paint tray – FREE
- Small roller – FREE, purchased for my newly-painted front door
- Roller pads** – $7 (Microfiber)
- Bumper guards for cabinet doors – $4
- Install guide for hardware – $7
- Hardware – $110.46 (purchased on eBay $95.40 & the two long ones at Lowes $15.06)
* I was incredibly disappointed with the primer I purchased. I couldn’t find the Zinsser Smart Prime in any stores near me, so I opted to go with the more-expensive primer that shared the same name as my paint. Learn from me– use a Zinsser primer. I had stain bleed-through and ended up (after my second coat of top coat), using a Zinsser primer that I had in my shed to spot treat certain spots and then putting a third coat of top coat on top of that. Save time– use the right primer.
** These roller pads were recommended to me by my Benjamin Moore paint guy. I hated them. Perhaps it was just because my cabinets were so smooth, but the roller didn’t, well, “roll” much. So I ended up globbing a bunch of paint on the roller and pushing it around with the roller. Thankfully the BM Advance paint is “open” for a long time and does a really good job at self-leveling.
Here is what I started with.
Day 1: Took all the cabinet doors off and pulled all the drawers out. As you’re taking the hardware off, put it in an individual baggie for each door. Number the baggie and put the appropriate number on painters tape on your cabinet door. You’ll thank me later– unless you only have a few doors that are not easy to confuse. I also sanded, de-greased (TSP), and laid all my cabinets out for painting. Don’t try to do this all in one day, unless you have help.
Sand the doors evenly, enough to take the waxy/shiny finish off, but not too much. You just need someone for the paint to adhere to. I used a palm sander, but with almost 40 doors/drawers to work on, it took me HOURS to sand them all. Be thorough– you don’t want your paint to peel later. I was also too lazy to remove all the things out of cabinets, so I just placed butcher paper over the openings before I sanded. Ridiculous, but effective.
Day 2: Paint primer on backside of doors & cabinet frames in kitchen. Start with your brush, paint around edges the roller can’t get into, then use the roller over everything you can. The paint is good, but the fewest brush strokes is best.
Day 3: Turn cabinet doors over and paint front side of doors & drawers.
Day 4: Turn over and paint first coat of topcoat on backside of doors & cabinet frames in kitchen.
Day 5: Second coat of topcoat on backside of doors and cabinet frames in kitchen.
Day 6: Let dry
Day 7-8: No time to paint busy evenings
Day 9: Turn cabinet doors over, paint first coat of topcoat on cabinet doors & drawers
Day 10: Second coat of topcoat on the front side of the cabinet doors and drawers.
Day 11-13: Let dry
Day 14: Install doors & drawers, drill for hardware holes, and repair any nicks with paint
Day 17: Install hardware.
My kitchen looks about a million times better now, and since I was silly enough to undertake this project in the middle of the winter, I now have half of my home back (for two weeks it was littered with butcher paper and half-painted cabinet doors). The transformation makes all the HOURS of prep and painting worth it.
In that token… here is a breakdown of my time…
- Taking doors off: 1.5 hours
- Sanding doors: 3 hours
- De-greasing: 1 hour
- Laying out doors/drawers: 1 hour
- Painting cabinets (primer/paint/kitchen wall color/touch ups): 30 hours
- Installing doors/drawers: 2 hours
- Drilling hardware holes: 1.5 hours
- Installing hardware: 2 hours
Total: 42 hours. Yep, in two weeks, I basically worked a 22 hr/wk job on top of my day job.
Worth it? You bet.
Here’s another before and after.
Have you been up to any cabinet painting lately?