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Should I Paint My Kitchen Cabinets?

Freshly painted cabinets and updated hardware can give a dated kitchen new life at a fraction of the cost of a full kitchen remodel. According to Remodeling Magazine’s “2018 Cost v. Value Report,” minor kitchen remodels including refurbishing kitchen cabinets can offer homeowners an average of 81.1% return on investment. But how do you know if painting your cabinets is the right option?

The first step is to determine if your cabinets are in a good enough condition to repaint. If the cabinets have chipped or cracked wood, water damage, “soft” sides, or shoddy cabinet boxes, they need to be replaced. If they are made of a material other than wood, homeowners are often disappointed with the results of painting, as even high-quality materials resist adhering to non-wood surfaces. Once you determine your wooden cabinets are in good enough condition for painting, follow these steps for a quality outcome.

Clean: All cabinet surfaces should be thoroughly cleaned with a degreaser to remove any oils and debris. Primer will not bond to oily surfaces. For best results, remove the cabinet doors and drawers for the entire process and reattach them upon completion.

Sand: Cabinet drawers, doors, and boxes should be sanded with a 100-grit palm sander. Contours and crevices should be hand sanded. After sanding, vacuum the entire area to remove the dust. Finally, wipe all surfaces with a tack cloth to remove fine dust particles.

Prime: Use a paintbrush to apply a thin coat of bonding primer to all surfaces that are to be painted. This will prevent chipping and flaking of the paint that can occur with regular use.

Paint: Select a paint that is designed for trim work. Enamels with high sheen are more durable than flat or satin finishes. High volume/ low-pressure sprayers will provide a smooth, factory-like finish. If manual painting is preferred, a roller works best on the cabinet doors, a 3” brush works well for large panels, and a 2 ½” brush eases the task of painting corners, molding, and frames. For a quality result, two or three coats of thinly applied paint should be applied with light sanding and tack ragging between coats.

Finishing touches: Be sure to add the right hardware to enhance your functionality and design of your kitchen. Once you have attached the hardware, cabinet doors and drawers are ready to be reinstalled.

If this seems like a lot of work, it is. Before spending the time, money, and effort it takes to paint your cabinets, consider replacing your cabinets with new solid-wood cabinets. The experts at C3 Cabinetry can assist you in selecting and installing high-quality, solid wood cabinets at a price you can afford.

Jeni C. Powell is a freelance writer who specializes in blog posts, website content, summary and analysis, and editing. Her industry related strengths include Marketing, Education, Home Living, Construction, Legal, and Parenting. Please visit her website at

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