Cabinet Painting – The Best Way To Restore Them

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As a professional house painter I have had a lot of experience with cabinet painting. Everything from doing kitchen cupboards in bathroom vanities. In this article I will try to give you some helpful tips that will help you do a professional job and make your cabinets look beautiful when restored or improved.

One thing I haven't had at my disposal is a workshop where I can take doors and drawers and restore them and spray paint them for the optimum finish. But then some cabinets look better brushed than they do sprayed. By brushing you get a finish that will look very nice if done right. Where with spraying you get a smoother mirror like finish or texture that you may not be looking for.

Now when it comes to cabinet painting the first thing I do is take pieces of masking tape and number all my doors and drawers. I just write a little number on the tape. This makes putting them back all less of a headache.

Have a cordless screwdriver on hand so that taking off all the hinges and hardware is fast and easy. Put all your hardware in a plastic container with a cover and set it aside for the end of the job.

From here it depends on what condition your cabinets are in. Now if they were painted right the first time and had a good paint job and the paint is sound your work will be minimal. It will just be a matter of cleaning them up with mild soap and water and priming them and adding a finish coat of paint.

Then all you do is just reverse the process, hang the doors and you are done. Well, life is not always so easy and a lot of times you'll have unsound latex painted over oil base that is flaking and peeling and will have to be removed before re-painting.

Or you might have old oil base paint over old oil base paint with no primer in between the coats and so you have chipping. In any case you have to remove the unsound paint using sandpaper and maybe even a rotary sander and 80-grit.

Now when cabinet painting I use oil base or alkyd based primers paints or stains. I think oil base coatings are best for woodwork as well as cabinets. Mineral-based paint's and primers make a nice finish. If the project you are re-finishing was originally a light color you can usually get away with one coat enamel under body primer and one top coat of satin enamel.

Now if it was a darker finish you are going to need one coat of primer and two top coats of paint. Now I use shed-resistant speed rollers like the ones Wooster has. They are specially made for enamel paints.

When I paint a wide surface like a cabinet door I will roll it out real quick with my speed roller and take my paint brush and I will run out the door making nice brush strokes. This way you get nice even strokes and a nice brushed finish.

I do this for the outside of cupboards and cabinets for doors, drawers and shelving. As for the insides of the cabinets you can pretty much roll them out any which way you want to but still try to do a nice job.

One last thing. I filter my paints and primers because after using them day in and day out on a larger project they get little hairs, fuzz, etc. You have to keep your paint clean just like as if you are spray painting.

You can get little cone shaped filters for filtering oil base at the paint store. You can filter out latex paint with a pan filter or you could use an old nylon stocking stretched over a container maybe.

If you plan on re-staining your cabinets you will want to remove the varnish first. It is recommended to stay with the same stain unless you take your cabinets down to bare wood. If you do this it may be hard for it to accept stain. Maybe wetting it and letting it dry will open the grain. That's about it for cabinet painting.

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