Painting Cabinets: 5 Expensive Mistakes to Avoid

Painting Cabinets – Avoiding Costly Mistakes Can Save Your Cabinets

Do you know how to paint cabinets? The old kind – those ugly ones sitting in your kitchen or bathroom screaming to be updated?

Painting Cabnets Crappy Old Cabinets

Do you have ugly cabinets like these begging for fresh life?

Do the job right when painting cabinets and your kitchen or bathroom will look fresh and new. Do it wrong and you may be ripping them out sooner rather than later.

5 Painting Mistakes to Avoid

You really want to get it done in a day, don’t you?

You could, but you’ll be making some serious trade-offs to get it done that fast, even if you’re painting small cabinets, like in a half bathroom.

Here are the painting mistakes that will ruin your cabinets:

  • Accept that you won’t get it done in a day, or even two. Painting cabinets rights takes time.
  • Don’t prep the cabinets well before you start painting
  • Skip the primer, or use one that isn’t made specifically for painting cabinets
  • Use cheap brushes and rollers and don’t clean them well or replace them between coats
  • Get impatient and start on the second coat before the first one has had time to cure
  • Leave the doors on, and close them when the paint feels “dry”

Painting Cabinets The Right Way

Give your old cabinets fresh life by taking the time to paint them right.

  • Thoroughly clean them, scrubbing off all of the old grease, dirt and junk sticking to the surface. If you don’t, the new paint might not stick, especially where you painted over crud.
  • Sand them ruthlessly. Then sand them some more. Wipe off the dust with a tacky cloth.
  • Painting Cabinets right means sanding first

    Sand your cabinets before you paint! I mean it

  • Caulk the spaces between the decorative trim on the doors, and where any flat surface meets another flat surface on the inside – or the paint will crack or gap. That means: inside the drawers, and inside along the bottoms of the bigger interior spaces and where the shelves meet the cabinet walls. Tedious as heck but better than doing it again in two years.
  • Use good brushes, ones made for the kind of paint you’re using. Do not use the one from the rusty can in the garage that has caked-on leftovers from another project. You know – the one where the bristles are puling out and some are sticking out a little wonky to the side. That one!
  • Use a really really really good primer, one made specifically for painting over wood that has been previously finished. Did I say use a good primer? I meant it! I really like the Benjamin Moore primers. Avoid that one, what the heck is it called, the one with the Z in the name. Using a bad primer will make your paint jump right off the cabinets if they’re banged, dinged or bumped with hard things.
  • Take off the doors and set them on a flat surface out of the way. A pair of saw horses with long 1x4s between them will give you space to paint 5 to 6 at a time. Let them dry, then let them dry some more.
  • Sand between coats. Wipe off the dust.
  • Put on at least three coats: one of primer, and two top coats. Use a paint with a sheen – flat looks bad, just bad. Always.
  • Let the cabinets dry for a long time before you put the doors back on. A long time could mean weeks, depending on the humidity for where you live and the kind of paint you use.

Kitchen Cabinets with a Good Paint Job

These cabinets have 7 (Seven) coats of paint and urethane, including tinted primer and a hand-painted aged finish. Yes, the toe kicks and baseboards are still missing!

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About Alison

Alison Shuman is the Director of Operations for Appraisal IQ, an Austin-area real estate appraisal service company. Formerly, she was a agent with Coldwell Banker United Realtors in Austin. He real estate salesperson's license is currently inactive.

You can contact Alison at AlisonShuman@yahoo.com, or by her cell phone at (512) 585-4758.

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