Painting Kitchen and Bathroom Cabinets – How We Do It
Painted kitchen and bathroom cabinets are making a comeback as can be seen by the many colors of cabinets being made available by top-line cabinet manufacturers like Thomasville and KraftMaid. Quite often you can give your kitchen a bright, new look for a fraction of the cost of replacing your kitchen.
Painting and Refinishing Cabinets are not the Same Thing
There was a time when you could sand down whatever top-coat and stain is on a cabinet. You could then start fresh with bare wood, and have it re-stained to a different color and then clear-coated again. This is what is normally considered “refinishing”. But that was back in the day when cabinets were solid wood. Today, solid wood cabinets are a rarity.
Today’s cabinets have a thin veneer of real wood glued to a very soft press-board material. This thin veneer is easy to burn through when sanding. Once you sand past the veneer you get into this soft wood. At that point the cabinet is ruined. It’s not hard to do.
What we do instead is give it a light sanding. We call this “scruffing” of the slick surface. This gives paint something to adhere to.
Preparation for Painting Cabinets
As you may have guessed painting cabinets is labor intensive. Most of that labor is not painting – it’s getting them ready to paint. For that we do the following:
- Remove the doors and drawer fronts.
- Remove handles and hinges.
- De-grease and de-gloss using a Trisodium Phosphate substitute such as Sodium Sesquicarbonate.
- Fill in dents using Bondo auto body filler.
- Lightly scruff with a sanding block.
Deep-grained Oak Cabinets
Because of the deep grain of oak cabinets they require another step to fill in that grain. We do that with an extra coat of high-build primer. We then sand down the fill. For even less grain to show we use spackle to make a paste which is painted on and sanded down.
What We Use for Painting Cabinets
Cabinets can be painted with trim and door paint which is tougher than wall paint but your cabinets deserve the best product. Not only do they get used and abused, but because they are a showpiece in anyone’s house.
We have tried several different paints specifically made for cabinets and are always looking out for what’s the best. We’ve even imported paint from Europe.
Sherwin Williams has just come out with a new paint engineered specifically for cabinets called the Gallery Series. They say it achieves “two-component performance with a one-component system.” Given the amount of R&D Sherwin Williams puts into their paints I don’t doubt that it will be a great product. I’d love for your kitchen or bathroom to be the first to use it.
For more information about painting kitchen cabinets please visit our blog article: Painting Kitchen Cabinets.