Painting Kitchen Cabinets
and Other Previously Painted Wood Surfaces
How-To DIY FAQ Home Site Map

Kitchen cabinets looking a little shabby? A fresh coat of paint will do wonders for your kitchen And, your spirits. Perhaps a Faux finish is to your liking. If your cabinets are Formica, factory finished wood or painted, here is the answer for a whole new look.

Materials & Tools:
Primer- Our first choice for a truly trouble free finish is B.I.N. white pigmented shellac. Of course if you prefer a water based latex primer, we recommend Zinsser 1-2-3, a latex base primer with outstanding adhesion properties.

Finish Paint: You can use a solvent base (alkyd) enamel in gloss,semi-gloss or satin finish. The higher the gloss,the tougher the finish or a latex based enamel.
Latex enamels are not as durable as the solvent based paints but they have less odor and cleanup is easy using water only.

Misc- Sandpaper in 120 and 150 grits, rags, cleaner such as TSP or 409, a small can of spackle, caulk for cracks, masking tape and newspaper, a tack rag, and a small can of lacquer thinner for stubborn stains and final cleanup.
Tools: A 2"-3" paint brush for "cutting in", and a 6" roller frame with a short nap roller cover and a roller pan

Preparation:Remove the door and drawer handles and mask off or remove the hinges. If they are rusty or nasty looking you can paint them with the same materials or refinish using a spraycan of enamel.

Cover the countertops and floor under the cabinets with newspaper.
Clean using a strong solution of TSP (Tri Sodium Phosphate) and rinse well. Allow to dry thoroughly before priming.
Lightly sand the surface using 120 grit sandpaper and remove sanding dust by wiping with a tack rag.

Procedure: Apply your primer in an even THIN coat. In this case,more is not better,you are going for a nice even coat and should not be concerned about trying to cover the old color or surface.
For large areas use a 1/4" nap mohair roller,it leaves a very small orange peel stipple that looks good and helps to hide blemishes. Do all you brush or "cut-in" work first.

Allow to dry overnight and sand lightly using 150 grit sandpaper. Apply at least one coat of finish enamel, two coats are recommended.

Once fully cured and dry, remove your masking tape,reinstall hinges and pulls and cleanup any spills or splatters using lacquer thinner.

Never clean your painted surfaces with abrasive cleaners such as scouring powder. Use products like soft scrub as they will not dull the painted surface.

Safety First!! Always remember to provide plenty of ventilation,avoid open flames such as pilot lights,no smoking, and protect your skin and eyes from spills and splatters. A light application of hand cream to your exposed skin areas makes for easy cleanup and good protection.

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