How to Prep Kitchen Cabinets for Painting | Ready, Set, Paint!

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How to prep kitchen cabinets for painting should be your first concern when it comes to remodeling them.

From all the kitchen makeovers you can do, repainting the kitchen cabinets is one of the easiest and cheapest.

How to prep kitchen cabinets for painting | Ready, Set, Paint!

But there’s a lot more that you need to know before doing the job.

Read on to find how to prep kitchen cabinets for painting and what tools to use in order to get the kitchen makeover you’ve been waiting for.

How to prep kitchen cabinets for painting?

Painting kitchen cabinets is a lot more different than painting a plain wall. In this case, you need to know how to prep kitchen cabinets for painting first.

A successful kitchen renovation depends on how you prepare and how well you do it!

Here’s how to prep kitchen cabinets for painting in seven simple steps.

  • Identify the cabinet’s condition

The first step in how to prepare kitchen cabinets for painting is to identify their condition. This will determine how much prep work you need to do and the materials you need to use.

Are there any damages? Is the old finish glossy or matte? These are some of the questions you need to ask before prepping.

  • Clear the room

Your workspace should be clean and clear. Start off by relocating the appliances and furniture to give way for painting. Remove the things inside your cabinets.

Cover the walls, floors, and countertops with rosin paper. Use tape to secure them from getting spills and stains.

  • Remove the hardware

The next step in how to prep kitchen cabinets for painting is to remove the handles, drawers, knobs, and other hardware. Make sure to carefully detach each part, and label them.

This will help you in installing them back after painting. Set them aside in a safe place and cover them to avoid getting stained.

  • Clean all the surfaces

Then, clean all the surfaces of the kitchen cabinet. It is best to use a degreaser for this. Take any brand of degreaser and spray it onto a scrub, sponge, or any cloth.

Remove all the oils across the surface by wiping them thoroughly. It is important that you degrease the surface for the primer to be effective.

If degreases don’t work, you can use a stronger solution such as trisodium Phosphate which can be found at hardware stores. Remember to handle it with care because it is quite a strong chemical.

Wipe generously in the critical areas such as the hood and cooktop, these are the ones covered with the most grease.

  • De-gloss the cabinets

Another important step in how to prep kitchen cabinets for painting is to de-gloss the finish of the cabinets. Scrub all the surfaces to remove the existing gloss.

Use any sponge or abrasive pad with a liquid de-glosser. Remember, this solution evaporates fast so make sure to wipe as quickly as you can.

The goal of de-glossing is to give the cabinets a pure and even surface before putting in a fresh coat of paint.

Since you removed the hardware earlier, you can fill the holes with autobody filler or polyester wood. Sand the surface if necessary and wipe away the excess wood fillers.

  • Prime the cabinets

Priming the cabinets is an essential step. It is also important to choose a primer based on the type of kitchen cabinet you have.

Oil-based primers are suitable for cabinets made of cherry, maple, laminate, and even MDF.

On the other hand, if you plan on using enamel or water-based paints, then you should use a water-based primer as well.

In applying the primer, use a wide-angled brush of about 2 ½-3 inches. Always apply the primer in one direction, following the structure of the cabinet.

Primers take a day to dry, so wait for the next day to apply another coat if needed.

If your kitchen cabinets have stubborn stains, it’s best to use a specialized anti-stain primer to avoid damaging the topcoat.

  • Sand and spot-prime

The last step in how to prep kitchen cabinets for painting is to and prime the spots. Once the primer dries, it is time to sand the surfaces starting with 220-grit sandpaper.

For the open seams, apply a thin layer of latex caulk to smoothen the finish. Flatten the caulk with your moist finger.

Wait an hour for it to dry. Then, sand the surface again using another 220-grit sandpaper. Use an oil-based primer to spot-prime the kitchen cabinet.

Focus on the spots where the primer has been affected because of the sandpaper.

This is optional, but you can sand the primer as well with a 280-grit paper to get an even smoother base. Do this after you prime the spots.

After sanding, vacuum the entire surface to remove the excess dirt and residue that may contaminate the paint. As a finishing touch, take a tack cloth and wipe the surface again.

What to clean kitchen cabinets with before painting?

Finding out what to clean kitchen cabinets with before painting is just as important as prepping. Cleaning them should be part of any kitchen renovation.

If you want to have a perfectly repainted cabinet, then you should know what to clean kitchen cabinets with before painting.

So, what to clean kitchen cabinets with before painting?

Here are some of the things you need:

  • Vacuum

A vacuum can effectively clean and gather all the particles on your kitchen cabinet. Using a vacuum will ensure that you get a pure and bare surface.

  • Tack cloth

This will help you remove dust particles and other residues that can weaken the surface of the kitchen cabinets. If you can’t find a tack cloth, a microfiber cloth will also do the trick.

  • Used toothbrush

You can use an old toothbrush to get the accumulated dirt on the corners, hardware, and insides of the kitchen cabinet. The thinner the bristles, the better.

  • Dish soap

Next item on what to clean kitchen cabinets with before painting list is dish soap. This is best used for cabinets that are not deeply covered in dust and have no stubborn stains.

Simply mix this water and rub the surface with a sponge.

  • Vinegar or baking soda

Vinegar mixed with warm water is best for removing stains. Baking soda also works great. What’s nice about these materials is that they are very affordable and can be found right at home!

  • All-purpose cleaner

This is optional, but you can use an all-purpose cleaner if you want something quick and can deep clean your kitchen cabinets.

The only downside is that some contain VOOCs and have a strong scent that may cause irritation. There you have it! These are what to clean kitchen cabinets with before painting.

They are very accessible and can be found at your local hardware stores.

Is it hard to paint kitchen cabinets?

Now that you know how to prep the kitchen cabinets and the things you need to clean them, you are now ready to paint! But you are probably asking, is it hard to paint kitchen cabinets?

Whether or not is it hard to paint kitchen cabinets or not lies in how well you prepare. It is very crucial that you follow all the steps in prepping the cabinets because

it affects how the paint will sit on the surface. If you want to achieve a beautiful finish and a seamless new coat of paint, then prepping is key!

Is it hard to paint kitchen cabinets? No, as long as you prep correctly and follow correctly and use the right tools for the current condition of your cabinets.

Another question you might ask, is it hard to paint kitchen cabinets without a contractor? While hiring a contractor is helpful, you can definitely paint the kitchen cabinets by yourself.

It’s faster and more affordable! All you have to do is study first. You can hire a contractor if you plan on renovating the entire kitchen. But for painting the cabinets, a DIY project will do just fine.

You don’t have to worry about is it hard to paint kitchen cabinets because you already know how to prep! That is already half of the job done, which explains why it is very important to be prep.

Ultimately, only you can determine the answer to Is it hard to paint kitchen cabinets. It’s time for you to give it a go!

Preparation is the Key to Kitchen Cabinet Painting

Through this article, we hope you learned how to prep kitchen cabinets for painting. It is just normal to get excited and paint right away, but it may affect the quality and finish of your kitchen cabinets.

Prepping the cabinets first will make a huge difference and will save resources.

Remember, it is best to be prepared because haste makes waste.

Just remember to clean the area, prep the kitchen cabinets, and use the right tools, then you’ll be able to achieve the perfect kitchen makeover in no time!


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