Repainting Kitchen Cabinets

Get all the info you'll need on repainting kitchen cabinets, including a helpful step-by-step guide.

Repainting kitchen cabinets is a cost-effective way to update the look of your cooking space.

If you're embarking on a kitchen redesign project, one of the most efficient ways to update the look of your kitchen is by repainting kitchen cabinets. This fairly simple DIY project can add color and life to your kitchen and make cabinets of just about any age and condition seem new.


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The cabinet surface you're repainting will determine how you approach the job. If you're dealing with flat wood, you're in luck—this is the easiest surface to repaint. Wood laminate and metal are also fairly easy to work with. Plastic laminate may require special paints and techniques, so if you have this type of surface, consult a professional.

The first step in the project is to remove the cabinet doors and hardware. Number all the doors and label their corresponding locations as you remove them.

Next up, you'll need to clean all of the surfaces you wish to repaint. A solution made from one part tri-sodium phosphate and four parts water is recommended. When you're finished applying the cleaner, rinse but don't soak the cabinets with clean water, then allow them to dry thoroughly.

Your next step is a doozy—you'll need to sand all surfaces you intend to repaint. If the old paint on the cabinets is in good condition, you don't need to sand down to bare wood—just roughen the surface so the new paint will adhere more easily. Whenever you do sand to bare wood, feather the edges of the sanding area so the new paint will lay flat. Vacuum the sanding dust from all surfaces when finished, and wipe all sanded surfaces with a tack rag.

Next up, apply primer-sealer to all surfaces you intend to repaint, allow it to dry, and then apply the paint—you can do this final step with a spray, brush or even a roller if you're working with an entirely flat surface. Allow the paint to dry, then re-install all hardware, and hang your brand-new (in appearance, anyway!) kitchen cabinets.

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