Every now and again we run into homeowners who don’t want to invest in new cabinetry, nor are they interested in refacing. They would like to give their kitchen or bathroom a mini-makeover by painting their own cabinets. Is the monetary savings worth the effort? Will the paint hold up over time? These are questions we are asked with some frequency, and our tendency has been to steer people away from painting their own cabinets. The difference between a factory finish and a hand or spray painted finish is great. Even with the highest quality paint, the durability and the finish cannot be compared.
That being said, there are times when painting cabinetry might the best option for a homeowner. Certainly, painting a bathroom vanity can be a quick and inexpensive way to refresh a bathroom. It gets less wear and tear than kitchen cabinetry. If done right, painting a bathroom vanity might be worth the effort.
Kitchen cabinetry is another ball of wax. It takes up the majority of visual real estate in a kitchen. If done poorly, the kitchen appearance can be very negatively effected.
A great deal of sweat equity goes into painting kitchen cabinets. If you want the finish to last, all doors and hinges must be removed. You must thoroughly degrease and sand all surfaces. A minimum of three coats of paint, with sanding in between coats is recommended. The best finish is achieved with oil paint, which can be difficult and time consuming to work with, and yellows over time. If after eight months you need to touch up a spot or ding, the new paint will no longer match the old. High quality latex paint is easier to work with however, the finish just doesn’t hold up well over time. Touch ups do work better than for oil paint, so that is a plus. Also, keep in mind that all wood except walnut expands and contracts which can wreak havoc on unprofessional paint jobs.
For a job as important as painting kitchen cabinets, it is a huge risk to paint your own. If you cannot afford to replace or reface your cabinets, we recommend that you hire a thoroughly vetted cabinet painter.