Simply changing the color of your existing cabinets can really breathe new life into a dated kitchen. Whether you’re drawn to a noble navy blue, a dramatic black, or a sophisticated neutral, such as white or gray, a fresh paint job may be just the refresh you’re looking for. There are many DIY articles and blogs out there with detailed step-by-step instructions, but this kind of project is not as easy as it sounds! Be warned that painting your own cabinets is a big job, with a lot of potential blunders!
Here are 8 common mistakes to avoid when painting your kitchen cabinets:
1. You don’t consider how the change will influence the rest of the room
It might be easy to look at your current kitchen and imagine what your cabinets will look like in a different color, but keep in mind that this will change the look of the entire room. Painting your cabinets has the potential to change the appearance of neighboring colors, such as counter tops and surrounding walls. For example, if you plan to paint your cabinets white and your walls are an off-white or cream color, the walls could end up looking dirty or yellowish. This could end up in additional cost, time and work if you end up needing to paint your walls as well.
2. You’re hesitant on your color selection
It’s important not to jump the gun and start painting your cabinets if you’re not 100% settled on the color choice. A lot goes into this project, and it’s not the kind of job you’re going to want to redo any time soon if you end up unhappy with the color. Take your time, paint a few test pieces and let it dry for a few days before making your final decision.
3. You try to rush the process
You’re in for a rude awakening if you think painting your cabinets can be done in a few short hours. Even if you have a small kitchen, this project can take several days when you factor in the necessary prep time, adequate paint application and drying time. Because this is a tedious process, it’s definitely not a good idea to jump in and try to rush through it thinking it can be done in one afternoon!
4. You don’t thoroughly prep the cabinets
The golden rule of a successful DIY cabinet paint job is to prep, prep, prep! You should always clean all surfaces to remove excess dust before you do anything else. You also need to thoroughly wipe down all of the cabinetry with a grease remover and let it all dry completely before applying any paint. This is a critical step, even if you don’t see any grease on the cabinet’s surface. Otherwise, when you add a water-based paint to an oil-covered door, the paint won’t stick and you will have a BIG mess on your hands!
Another important step to prepare your cabinets for new paint is to sand the wood. Even if your cabinets are in near perfect condition, you still have to sand them so the paint will stick. Use middle-grade sandpaper and give all of the surfaces a quick buffing. The goal is to remove the slick, glossy topcoat.
5. You don’t prime.
After the cleaning and sanding are done, it’s a good idea to use a primer prior to painting. Knots in the wood can start to bleed through your paint after it dries, creating a blotchy, uneven appearance. Use a stain-blocking primer to ensure a smooth, solid finish.
6. You try to paint the cabinets without taking them apart first
You might think you can save some time by leaving the doors and drawers together and taping off the hardware, but this will likely result in a sloppy outcome. Hardware and hinges that are painted over quickly show signs of wear and begin to crack and peel. Save yourself the headache and avoid this shortcut by taking everything apart prior to painting.
7. You don’t label your doors and drawers after taking them down
It’s important to remember to label or number your cabinet doors and drawers as you remove them. Once all is painted, everything will need to go back in the same place. It can be a frustrating guessing game if your doors and drawers are all mixed up when it comes time to reattach them! Simply labeling them with a pencil on the inside is a great idea.
8. You don’t allow enough drying time
It’s tempting to put the doors and drawers back up shortly after painting, but not allowing the paint to cure for a few days can be risky. Paint that isn’t fully dry can easily smudge, requiring another session of sanding and repainting.
Painting your kitchen cabinets yourself can be a rewarding task with a great outcome, but be sure to avoid these common mistakes! If you need help or would prefer a professional to get the job done for you, Medford Remodeling would be happy to help!
The Medford Remodeling Team