Painting Cabinets so they still look good years later! | The Interior Frugalista: Painting Cabinets so they still look good years later!
Painting Cabinets so they still look good years later! | The Interior Frugalista

April 30, 2015

Painting Cabinets so they still look good years later!

Painting Cabinets so they last

If you've been following me for some time you will remember that a few years ago I gave our kitchen a makeover.  Part of that makeover was painting our kitchen cabinets.  They have withstood the test of time and look just as good as the day I finished them.

Painting Cabinets to last


Painting kitchen cabinets

Recently I gave our Dining Room Built-In China Cabinet the same makeover.

Painted Cabinets in Dining Room

Earlier in the year we added a Built-In Window Seat and Bookcases in the master bedroom and painted them using the same method.

Painting cabinets to last in bedroom

Today I am sharing the process I used to paint the cabinets throughout our home, should you be thinking about updating yours with paint rather than the expensive cost of replacing them.  It never ceases to amaze me how a can of paint can completely transform a room!

All the products for these makeovers were purchased at Home Depot.  This is not a sponsored post, although Home Depot if you're reading this post, I'd love to work with you *wink*.

How to paint cabinets so they last

Step 1: Removing the finish

Before starting this step you'll need to remove the doors and the hardware from the cabinets.  Lay them flat on top of something to raise them (I used 2 x 4's).  Sorry about the poor quality picture below - this was pre-blogging days and before I got my big girl camera.

Using a mouse sander and an 80 grit sanding pad to rough up the finish.  No need to get down to the bare wood as long as you have a rough surface for the primer to adhere.

Prepping cabinets to paint

Step 2: Priming the cabinets

Apply Zinsser Bullseye 123 All Purpose Primer (the only primer I will use). I used a small paint brush to get into the recessed bits and then a 6-inch high-density roller for the flat parts and edges of the doors. Roll in long even strokes using a wet edge.

Maybe it's overkill but I applied two coats of primer to the doors.  I'd rather error on the side of caution than have the paint peeling off later.  This ensures a good bond with the paint.


Step 3: Painting the cabinets

Using the same technique as above, apply two coats of Behr Premium Plus Latex Paint in a satin finish. I love Behr paint and find it to be the closest to Benjamin Moore quality at a lower price point. Almost all the walls and ceilings in our house are painted with Behr.  This isn't a sponsored post, just sharing the love!

This paint has a built-in primer that seals uncoated and previously painted surfaces. Because I was painting over prefinished stained wood I would still recommend applying Step 2.

I let each coat dry 24 hours and lightly sanded using a Norton Dual Angle 120 Grit Fine Sanding Sponge between coats.


Step 4: Applying a protective finish

Using a foam brush apply two coats of Minwax Clear Satin Polycrylic to protect the paint.  I recommend a satin finish because it will be washable but won't have a glossy finish like a stock cabinet would. It's my personal preference.

Don't shake the can because you will get air bubbles but rather stir the can well before and during application. Apply it in long even strokes and lightly sand between coats for a nice smooth finish.


Have I motivated you to consider painting your cabinets rather than replacing them?

If removing all the doors and going through this process seems overwhelming, don't throw in the towel just yet because there is another option...chalk paint!  I've helped complete two kitchen makeovers using this process A Quick And Inexpensive Kitchen Update and How To Paint Cabinets With Chalk Paint.


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