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Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Back in March, we decided to pull the trigger on doing a kitchen renovation in our home…something I’ve been wanting to do since we moved in.  Our original cherry wood cabinets were nice but I’ve been feenin’ for white cabinets for the past 5 years.  Here is a pic of our original cabinets:

Honestly, nothing does it for me more than the modern, clean look of white cabinets.  And while we are on the topic of modern clean looks, let me just go on and let you guys know two of my favorite home decor colors are white and gray! Oh and I’m loving navy these days too 🙂  Okay so back to the cabinets and our kitchen renovation.  When we initially set out to do this reno, like most, we set a budget.  Our budget however did not include purchasing new cabinets.   As many of you know, new cabinets can set you back quite a bit…upwards of $20K+.   Now to be fair, I did find a good company selling wood cabinets at a reasonable rate.  I believe they quoted me around $5K but the gotcha gotcha is that didn’t include installation.

I also looked into cabinet refacing thinking that just had to be significantly lower than purchasing new cabinets, right? WRONG.  Home Depot had the nerve to come out and quote $11K for refacing.  Uhhh I beg your pardon sir?! So needless to say, I kindly thanked him and escorted him to the door.  So the last option was to have the cabinets painted.  Now while I’m the DIY queen, I must admit I was not excited to take this on.  Oh, did I mention I was about 6 months pregnant by this time? So since we didn’t really want to do the cabinets ourselves, we decided to hire a contractor.  He quoted us $1800 and scheduled a time to come out to get started. He advised he would remove the cabinets, bring them back painted, then reinstall them.  A few days before he was set to get started we reached out to confirm, except he never responded. Finally, he got back to us and long story short, he bailed out.  So then we were left to tackle it ourselves.

I did tons of research on painting cabinets, the best primer & paint to use, and all the do’s & dont’s.  So I’m going to give you a brief rundown on my experience painting our kitchen cabinets (a project I don’t ever plan to take on again lol)


After comparing a number of brands, we decided to go with Benjamin Moore Advance Primer and Paint in Simply White.

I felt pretty confident giving this a try because I read so many great reviews.  One downside is the drying time though. They recommend at least 16 hours drying time between coats.  Yikes! For someone like me who hates waiting, that part was a blower.

So now I’ll highlight the steps we took to paint our cabinets.

  1.  REMOVE DOORS – We removed all the hinges and doors/drawers on cabinets. My hinges were an old gold color so I spray painted those with Krylon Stainless Steel silver spray paint. TIP: Make sure you label your cabinet doors as you remove them so it will be easier to put them back on once you’re done.

2.  Once the doors were removed, it was time to sand and prime.  Ideally, your best bet is to do a really good job sanding your cabinets and the frames.  This will help the paint adhere better.  If I were to do this all over again, I would have made sure we did a better job sanding, but thats neither here nor there.

3.  SANDING: We opted not to use our electric sander because we didn’t want all the dust in the house (from sanding the frames) so we just used a regular coarse grit sander and went over everything.  I guess we could have at least sanded the doors outside with the electric sander, but honestly we were a bit on a time crunch trying to get this done so we admittedly rushed some steps a bit.   We did however use a liquid deglosser.

This is another step to that will help the paint adhere better as well. Use this BEFORE you sand.

4.  PRIMING:  As I mentioned above, I went with the coordinating Benjamin Moore Advance primer.  Instead of handpainting the cabinet doors, I decided to purchase a new paint sprayer to paint them.  I bought the Wagner Flexio 590 for $129 on Amazon.

This is actually my second paint sprayer. The first one I bought was a smaller, less expensive one.  I only ended up only using it for one project though.  But since my original plan was a spray all the doors, I went with something a bit better.

I started by spraying the primer on the doors and repeated the process on both sides.  Then I laid out all the cabinet doors outside on 2×4’s.  As for my review of this sprayer, I would probably give it a B+.  Sprayers in general are tricky.  Apart of them working well is learning to use it correctly.

5. PAINTING:  My original plan was to also use the sprayer for the paint but you have to use the sprayer outside and since we were doing this renovation while working full time, it didn’t leave much time in the evenings to spray the doors before getting dark.  So our only option was to hand paint them.  I used rollers and brushes. As I stated above, the recommended drying time was the downside of using the Advance paint but in order to get really good coverage I wanted to do at least 2-3 coats.  Having to wait almost a day in between coats really slowed us down, but we got the job done.  Also, from what I’ve read about this paint from other people in the blogging world who’ve used it is that is takes 30-60 days to fully cure.

As of this post, its been 3 months since we’ve painted them and Ive only had a few minor knicks of chipped paint.  I should note I did not go over the cabinets with polyurethane although I am now considering it.

Stay tuned for my upcoming post revealing my cabinets and complete kitchen renovation.

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