How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Video Transcript

Video Transcript

R. HAZELTON:  We found our way to Lebanon, Ohio, about halfway between Cincinnati and Dayton.  Now, the first thing you notice here abouts are the lot sizes.  It seems that in this part of Ohio, people like their lawns big.


R. HAZELTON:  Sabre, how are you?


SCOTT HILL:  Ron, welcome to Lebanon, Ohio.

R. HAZELTON:  Scott, well it's a pleasure to be here.

SABRE HILL:  Hi, come on in.  My kitchen is waiting for you.

R. HAZELTON:  Okay.  Let's take a look.
SABRE HILL:  This is the kitchen.  We're just finishing up our remodeling, and I'm finding this is just way too dark, with all the light things that I'm trying to do in the kitchen.

R. HAZELTON:  Yeah.  Why not just take these out and replace them?

SABRE HILL:  Cost is a factor at this point.  We want something just for the couple of years, until we can really remodel.

R. HAZELTON:  Okay.  So this is an interim thing.


SCOTT HILL:  Right, just a temporary.

R. HAZELTON:  So what I'm going to suggest is let's paint these.  Put on some new hardware.


R. HAZELTON:  They're going to look like new, but it will cost you practically nothing.
SABRE HILL:  I think that's a good plan.


SCOTT HILL:  Sounds good.

R. HAZELTON:  Let's do it.

SABRE HILL:  Thank you.

R. HAZELTON:  Okay.  Guys, we're going to have to clean these cabinets off.  This is a heavy duty cleaner, sort of a TSP-like cleaner, although this is phosphate free.  Put some of that, about a quarter of a cup, in two gallons of warm water.  So we start washing.

SABRE HILL:  You missed a spot.

SCOTT HILL:  Did I miss a spot?  You're always telling me I miss spots.

R. HAZELTON:  We pay special attention to the areas around the stove, where grease and cooking oils are most likely to be present.  We're going to take these doors down to refinish them.  So I want to, first let's take off the knobs and then the hinges.  Are you set?

SCOTT HILL:  All set.
R. HAZELTON:  Ladies and gentlemen, start your drills.  Let's go, come on.  With all three of us using drills, fitted with screwdriver bits, the doors are off in a matter of minutes.  Okay.  Sabre, let's pull these drawers out here.  You and Scott, just grab them, pull them out, lift them up and pop them right out.  Great.  And stack them right over here, if you would, please.  Thank you very much.  Once the drawers are out, we remove all the hardware.  So these are cleaned.  We've gotten the hardware off.  Now we want to give these what's called a light scuff sanding.  And we don't have to remove all the finish on here, just roughen this up a little bit, so that the paint will have an easier time of gripping to this.  Now, we could sand using a medium grit sandpaper, say No. 80 or 100.  But today, I want to try out these sponge rubber sanding blocks, because I think they'll do a great job of getting up into the corners.  Next, we'll be using something called a tack cloth.  And these are, as you can see, really sticky pieces of cloth.  So what you have to do is just sort of wipe it, and you can see, that's all the stuff that was on the surface here that this is picking up.  To prime the doors and drawer fronts, we're going to use a very inexpensive, high volume, low pressure sprayer, like this one right here.  Very simple to use.  You just want to keep the nozzle of the spray gun about six or eight inches from the surface there.  I'll do one and give it to you guys.  We start by spraying the outside edges, making sure to keep the spray nozzle a constant distance from the surface.

SABRE HILL:  Oh, this is going on so easy.  I can do this.

R. HAZELTON:  Next, the inside edges get painted.  The interior panels are sprayed last, working from bottom to top.  To keep from over spraying, I suggest that Sabre take her finger off the trigger momentarily, at the end of each stroke.  While the primer is drying, we go back inside to start work on the cabinets.  We begin by applying masking tape to cover the walls.  We could spray these cabinets, but if we do that, we've got to mask everything off right here.  I think it's a little bit more trouble than it's worth, okay?  So we're going to do this with brush and roller.  A two inch sash brush is used to prime the edges of the cabinets, where they meet the ceiling and walls.  And if you would, do the same thing on the other side.  The cabinet ends can be covered quickly, using a short nap three inch roller.  The roller is also used to apply paint to the cabinet fronts, or face frames as they're called.  Those nice straight strokes, top to bottom.  For hard to reach and tight areas, it's back to the brush.  But for covering ground quickly, it's the roller.  Once you've rolled a surface like this, come back and do what's called striking off.  And that means to take your roller, begin at the top, and go all the way to the bottom, one long stroke, like this.  This will take out any roller marks and leave you with a smooth, clean, professional looking surface.  Primer has dried, so it's time to put the top coat on.  We're going to use a special cabinet and vanity paint.  This one is by Valspar.  The difference is that this will resist the lanolin in your fingers, because you're going to be touching this a lot, when you're opening and closing the doors.  So guys, go ahead, put it on the same way you did before, with the primer.

SABRE HILL:  Okay.  

R. HAZELTON:  I'm going to use a slightly wider roller, to get these big end panels down here.  This will just save us a little bit of time.  Back outside, we start painting the doors and drawers, using the same specially formulated cabinet and vanity paint.  We thinned it slightly with water, so that it will flow easily through the spray gun and level properly.  The key here is put on enough paint to flow out evenly, but not so much that it will run or sag.  As we finish each door, we set it off to the side to dry.  Let's do another one.  The drawers are best sprayed by sitting them on end, so that the faces are horizontal.  Less chance of drips and runs this way.  After giving the paint 24 hours to dry, we install the new knobs.  Reattach the hinges, which we decided to repaint.  And begin replacing the doors.  There we go, Sabre.  Just, yeah, if you just hold that for me right there.  Good.

SABRE HILL:  Yeah, got it.

R. HAZELTON:  Okay.  Screws in here.  Finally, we reinstall the drawers.  In all, the project has taken us a day and a half.  Well, take a look for yourself.  In this short time, we transformed this kitchen into one that's bright and cherry.  I like this.

SABRE HILL:  Oh, the color.

R. HAZELTON:  What a difference, huh?

SABRE HILL:  The color is great.

R. HAZELTON:  Yeah, you happy?

SABRE HILL:  It's professional.  It's exactly what we wanted.

R. HAZELTON:  A couple of hours.

SCOTT HILL:  Yeah, it was great.

R. HAZELTON:  A couple gallons of paint.  Brand new kitchen.

SABRE HILL:  It worked great.

R. HAZELTON:  So you guys, you were terrific to work with.  I think we deserve a toast.  I think we got a little of this left over.  There you go.  This looks like to me, oh, Colonial Cream.  There we go.  Okay, guys.  To a great job and a great set of working partners.  Semi-gloss or flat?

How to Paint Existing Kitchen Cabinets Using a Low Pressure Spray System.

Bring new life to your existing kitchen cabinets with a fresh coat of paint. Save the time, expense and hassle of a full kitchen remodel and give your cooking and storage space a clean new feel. With a few tips about how to best prepare the surface, you'll be on your way to a kitchen that you are proud to entertain in.

Clean the Cabinets
Step 1

Clean the Cabinets

In order for the primer and paint to form a tight bond with the cabinet surface, you'll have to make sure that all existing grease and food residue is removed. Even the cleanest kitchen will build up a thin film of grease over time, so use TSP or a similar cleaner to gently wash all of the surfaces that are to be painted over.

Remove Doors, Drawers, and Hardware
Step 2

Remove Doors, Drawers, and Hardware

In order to have a paint job that looks professional, you'll need to take the time to compeletely remove all of the hardware. Don't skimp on this step just to save a little time. You will be much happier with the results when all of the hardware is crisp and clean against the newly painted cabinet doors and drawer faces. If you don't have a screw gun or drill, a simple screwdriver will suffice.

Lightly Sand the Flat Surfaces
Step 3

Lightly Sand the Flat Surfaces

Once the doors are clean and the hardware has been removed you will need to lightly sand the flat surfaces. Use a light sand paper, or better yet, a lightly grained sanding sponge to work the nooks and crannies of the doors. This light sanding pass will help create a porous surface for the the primer and paint to stick to. Once the sanding is done, use a tack cloth to wipe clean any loose dust that may remain.

Prime the Cabinet Doors with a Sprayer
Step 4

Prime the Cabinet Doors with a Sprayer

Using a high volume, low pressure sprayer is the easiest way to ensure a professional looking finish. Not only does this tool save time, but it minimizes the number of brush and roller strokes that you will have to contend with in your final project. When spraying, start on the outside edges of the doors, and work your way to the middle.

Prep and Prime the Wall and Base Units
Step 5

Prep and Prime the Wall and Base Units

Unless you want to go through the tedious task of masking off your entire kitchen, the base and wall cabinets will have to be primed and painted by hand. Make sure that you have a 2" sash brush and a small roller on hand so that you can create the high quality finish that you want. Start by taping any areas where you are concerned about errant brush strokes, and then apply an even coat of primer using the brush and the roller.

Apply the Topcoat
Step 6

Apply the Topcoat

For this project, Ron is using a specially formulated paint that resists the oil and dirt from people's fingers. This will help the durability of the paint, since on cabinets people touch them all of the time. Repeat the steps from priming the base and wall cabinets with the topcoat. When you are ready to spray the doors and drawer fronts outside, you may find it necessary to thin the topcoat slightly just to help it spray evenly. This can be done with water. Be careful to apply just the amount of paint necessary and not any extra. If you apply to much, it will run or sag.

Reinstall the Hardware and Doors
Step 7

Reinstall the Hardware and Doors

After the paint has had a chance to dry and harden completely (usually 24 hours or so) you can screw the hardware back into place. Just use the same holes that you took them out of originally so that they fit back into place quickly and easily. Slide the drawers back into their runners, taking care not to scratch the freshly painted face frames on the base cabinets.