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Assessing Cabinets Before Painting

repaint cabinet doors white
Maple cabinets painted white always brightens your kitchen!

By now you know that you wish to repaint your kitchen cabinets. You really envision a freshly painted kitchen to work in! You may even know what color you want your kitchen to be when it’s finished! However you have a hard time knowing where to start. You wonder how a professional goes about to assess cabinets before starting on a cabinet painting process.

Additionally, so many questions come to mind. You have heard of people painting their own cabinets, and the paint failing. Or, they end up with a very unprofessional look, which is not what you envision for your kitchen. You want a professionally painted kitchen, although you know that hiring a professional is way beyond your budget.

Definitely, painting your own kitchen cabinets takes work, and commitment. However, this is a project that can work well for diy-ers, if you follow the same procedures that the professionals use.

In this blog, we give you the first steps in assessing your kitchen cabinets before you ever start. We want to empower you to get that beautiful smooth finish that professionals receive. Furthermore, we give you inside tips into what professionals look at as they evaluate kitchen cabinets to be painted.

Assessing Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets come in all different makes and types. Some types definitely paint easier than others. Therefore assessing cabinets before painting means that you know what they are made of, and what condition they are in.

Furthermore, have your cabinets been painted before? Do they have chipping and peeling paint? How about loose and peeling vinyl laminate? How about loose veneers? All these must be assessed before starting to paint, because each one needs special procedures to prep them for painting.

The easiest cabinets to paint are oak, cherry, and maple cabinets. Previously painted cabinets need extra steps in prepping them if the paint is at all peeling and cracking. Additionally, cabinets with loosening veneers over MDf panels need major work to prep, and at times it is best to start over.

Remember that your paint only adheres as well as the surface it is put on!

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Check Styles, Components of Your Cabinets, and Construction

To begin with, what style of cabinet you have in your kitchen? Do they consist of cabinet boxes with a frame, or are they frame-less?

Additionally, access what building materials make up your cabinet boxes. Basically, three basic components make up cabinet boxes. Usually, cabinet builders fabricate them with furniture grade plywood sides or cheap flake board with vinyl veneers applied to them.

In this post, we show you how to decipher each type of cabinet, along with special issues each one is prone to. Additionally, we show you how to fix them before painting them!

9 Things to Assess Before Painting Your Kitchen Cabinets

  • Cabinet construction-Framed or frame-less cabinets
  • The building materials of your cabinet boxes
  • The existing hardware on your cabinets
  • Your cabinet doors
  • Previously painted cabinets
  • Hinges
  • Your cabinet drawers
  • The condition of your cabinet shelves.
  • The cost of painting your kitchen.

Assessing Cabinet Construction

Basic Cabinet Construction

When assessing your cabinets, start by looking to see how your cabinets are constructed. Basic cabinet construction always starts with a simple box. Most kitchen cabinets consist of two styles, framed and frame-less cabinet boxes.

Frameless Kitchen Cabinets

Frame-less cabinets have no outer frame on the opening of the cabinet. Instead, the door mounts right onto the side of the cabinet. Frame-less cabinets have no outer frame on the opening of the cabinet. Instead, they have a veneer glued to the outside face of the cabinet.

If this is what you have in your kitchen, check for loose veneers. Be sure to glue any loose veneers before starting to paint.

In the event that your cabinets have loose veneers, think of refacing them.

Never, ever paint over loose veneers!!

Framed Cabinets

Framed cabinet construction also consists of a basic box. However they come with a wooden frame mounted onto the front of it. This frame looks much like a picture frame with partitions in it before it is securely screwed onto the box of the cabinets.

Assessing the Building Materials of Your Cabinets

First off, assess your cabinets’ building materials. Many cabinets come with solid wood face frames. However the sides of the cabinets usually consist of one of two things- particle board or plywood. Plywood usually has a real wood veneer that is easily sanded and painted.

On the other hand, particle board does not have a real wood veneer. Rather it has a paper thin vinyl covering that should not be sanded. These cabinets can be painted as long as the veneer is solidly intact.

In the event that your cabinets consist of particle board, check for loose veneers, and bulging flake board. Usually this starts at the bottom edge of your cabinets.

Always Repair Loose Veneers Before Painting!

If your cabinets have loose vinyl or bulging flake board on the outside edges, the easiest way to fix them is to apply a 1/4″ plywood skin to the whole cabinet side. This easily gives your paint a good solid surface to adhere to!

In the event that you need step by step instructions for adding plywood skins to your cabinet ends before painting, check out our blog on Fixing Plastic Veneers and Rotting MDF Sides. There, we show you how to salvage these cabinets and get them ready for painting.

Assess Your Hardware

Next, assess your hardware. Do you want to change out or save hardware? Usually this depends on how much you want to invest in your kitchen upgrade. If you plan to keep your hardware, you need to keep them safely in specially marked bags, as outlined in our post on

Assessing Your Cabinet Doors

Along with your hardware, assess your cabinet doors. Always check for loose veneers or broken joints, when preparing to paint your cabinet doors.

In the event that your doors are beyond repair, or you simply want to upgrade your kitchen with a new style of doors, think of ordering ready made doors. Brand new cabinet doors come unfinished, or finished and painted to match the exact color you are painting your kitchen.

Assessing Previously Handpainted Cabinets

Before painting over previously painted cabinets, asses them. First off, do a scratch test in a few different areas with a coin or a fingernail. If any paint peels off anywhere, you need to remove it with a cabinet scraper, or sander.

Paint strippers are an option, although rather messy to work with. Simple cabinet scrapers really do work well to peel off loosely adhering paint.

Any paint that does not peel off, can be sanded smooth and repainted.

In prepping painted cabinets, we go into detail on how to fix this problem, before starting to paint your kitchen.

Assess already painted cabinets. Improper prep results in paint failure!!
Never paint over peeling paint!

Assess Your Hinges

Can hinges and hardware be reused? In most cases, yes. However, if you wish to upgrade to new soft close hinges, now is the time to do it!

If your cabinet doors have the cup holes already drilled into the back of them, most times soft close concealed hinges fit right into the holes for the existing hinges. These cup holes can also be drilled into the back of almost any door, such as a lip door.

hinge cup hole

Now, while you have your kitchen doors dismantled is the best time to install those soft close hinges you have always wanted. Soft close hinges change out quite easily, yet make a huge impact on the final feel and outcome of your finished kitchen! The silence while you work in your kitchen later will be so rewarding!

Assessing Cabinet Drawers

Assess your cabinet drawer boxes by pulling them all the way out. Are they sturdily built of solid wood, or plywood? Or are they falling apart? Do you wish to repair them while repainting your kitchen?

At times, drawer boxes come built out of plywood sides with veneered edges. Are you satisfied with the shape they are in, or is now the time to upgrade your drawers also?

all wood drawer box
All wood drawers add functionality and beauty to every kitchen.

Upgrading to solid wood drawer boxes help keep your kitchen organized and efficient. Imagine having your drawer fronts staying on the drawer when pulling it out, instead of pulling off, strewing the contents everywhere!!

Changing out to all wooden dovetailed drawers with soft close slides, changes the feel of your kitchen, to a Cadillac of a kitchen!

Assessing Cabinet Shelves

Next in line, assess your cabinet shelves. What is the condition of your current cabinet shelves? Do they consist of flimsy particle board? Are they sagging and have seen their best days?

If so, now, is the time to upgrade. Make brand new shelves out of 3/4″ plywood, or order new cut-to-size ones here.

In the event that you want them to look real professional, pick up some edge banding from a woodworking store, and apply it to the outer edge of your shelf. This effectively hides the raw plywood edge.

You will be delighted with your brand new sturdy shelves!

Cabinet Shelf Roll Outs

Substituting cabinet roll outs for cabinet shelves, especially in the lower cupboards, adds a lot of value to a kitchen. However, this takes more skill than making new shelves. For the skilled handyman familiar with installing drawer slides this is definitely worth checking out. For new DIYers, you would do well to get some help with this step of the process

These new shelf roll outs give you the chance to pull out your shelves instead of bending over to find something in the far recesses of your cabinets.

cabinet roll-out
Roll-outs add beautiful functionality to any cupboard! Imagine not needing to reach into the far recesses of your cupboards to get your things. Instead they roll right out to you!

To Paint or Not to Paint the Inside of Your Cabinets

Most professional painters do not paint the inside of the cabinets. If they are really ugly and the cabinet boxes are built out of plywood, then paint will adhere to them.

Additionally, remember that this adds substantially more time to your kitchen cabinet process, so figure spending almost double the time to paint your kitchen. The insides of cabinets are small and tedious to paint, with many small angles to get to. Figure extra time in when blocking out a space of time to paint your kitchen, if you wish to paint the insides of your cabinets.

Furthermore, they tend to scratch much more, due to constantly putting dishes and cooking staples in and out of them. If you do, use really good hardening paint. Otherwise, it will not last very long, and you will see that every single time you open those cupboard doors!

In the end, painting the insides of plastic veneered cabinet boxes is really not recommended. Again, remember that paint will only last as long as that plastic veneer does! If that starts to peel, your paint will peel right off with it.

Ugly Cabinet Interiors? Don’t Paint! Rebuild!

To rehab ugly interiors of your cabinets with 1/4″ plywood:

1. Measure all the sides, backs, and bottoms of your cabinets that you want to cover.

2. Figure out how much unfinished 1/4″ plywood you need to cover all the ends of your cabinets.

3. Buy enough for all the ends of your cabinets, in addition to wood caulk adhesive and pin nails to fasten them to the cabinets.

4. Measure and cut each piece.

5. Fasten each piece in place with wood glue and some pin nails.

6. Treat the pin nail holes as any other scratch or crack. Fill with wood filler.

Thinking of painting the interiors of your cabinets? Paint on interiors of cabinets does not hold up well, due to all the kitchenware going in and out of your cabinets on a  daily basis. In addition, it will add time to your cabinet painting process!

Assessing Cost Factors

One of the first questions that come to mind when thinking of repainting your kitchen includes accessing the cost. This varies greatly according to the condition of your kitchen, and the extent of the upgrades you wish to add.

Straightforward Wood Cabinets

Assess you cabinets. Are they clean, or do they need a lot of de-greasing and scrubbing to get them prepped for painting? Furthermore, do they require a lot of major repairs?

Straightforward stained, and unpainted cabinets definitely take less time and money to paint. Additionally, the amount of dirt and grease your cabinets hold impacts the time needed to thoroughly clean them.

If your cabinets do not need major repairs, and everything is solid, you could realistically spend between $500- $1,000. That includes good quality cleaners, brushes, rollers, and paint for a small to medium kitchen.

Please do not cut costs on good quality cleaners, de-greasers, sanding equipment and paint. Remember, you get what you pay for!!

Upgrades Cost- But Remember Upgrades Add Value!!

Extensive upgrades definitely add to the final cost of painting your kitchen. New hardware and soft close hinges also add on costs. However, once you finish your kitchen and it gleams with a new coat of paint, you will not regret it!

Additionally, doing the work yourself cuts a lot of installation fees. You will not spend as much simply because you invest your time into your kitchen instead of so many actual dollars.

Buying/Renting a Sprayer Adds to the Cost- But Gives Glossy Smooth Finish!!

Renting/buying a sprayer adds to the cost, also. You could get by with brushing and rolling the cabinet faces and boxes. They will not show up as much if they don’t quite turn out perfect.

However, the doors show everything, and for a high quality, smooth finish, this is definitely the best option if you can afford it. Ideally, if you have the space and can afford it, spraying your doors gives you the best possible finish.

Oak Cabinets

A lot of kitchen cabinets being repainted are made of oak. Since oak wood is hard and durable, it makes solid cabinets and doors. At one time oak was the in style of kitchen cabinets. Therefore many homes now have old oak cabinets yellowed and becoming increasingly ugly with age.

These oak cabinets still have very solid cabinets and doors. However, the doors become greasy and gunky from use, plus yellowed from exposure. Additionally, the doors have dated contours, therefore at times people want to upgrade to brand new doors.

These doors can be painted. However, to get them smooth like maple or cherry, you need to use extra measures. You may have to paint a few more coats of primer to help hide the grain. Brushing the primer on, helps you fill in those grain streaks more than just simply spraying your doors. Most times a little bit of the grain still shows through even after painting.

Ready to Paint That Kitchen?

Are you ready to tackle your kitchen, but not sure about the cabinet doors? Possibly you want to paint the face frame, but not the doors. Or, maybe you totally want to get new cabinet doors to give your kitchen a total face lift.

Check out our website at Homestead Cabinet Design, for informational videos on measuring for new cabinet doors, if you wish to upgrade to new doors.

At Homestead Cabinet Design, we help you achieve your goal of updating kitchen and bathroom cabinets either way you want to work it. We can get all new doors for you, dismantle your existing doors, while you paint the cabinet frame, or totally paint the kitchen for you. We are just a phone call or email away!

Contact Raymond today at Homestead Cabinet Design for an in-depth plan of action for your kitchen upgrades! We help you with ideas, paint options, and storage options for your own kitchen! With a free consultation, you feel actual sample doors and hardware. Give us a try TODAY!!

For more information call or text:

Raymond at:


Or, email me for a personal, fast quote at:


Our mission is to help you upgrade your kitchen, ensuring that you end up with spectacular results for the kitchen of your dreams!!

Additionally, as an insured contractor in MA and CT, we always guarantee our work. Furthermore, we have resources for paint, paint supplies, new cabinet doors, dovetailed drawer boxes, slides, hinges, and hardware for you in a fast and timely manner.

Wish to Paint Your Own Kitchen? Let Us Help You!

Possibly you wish to tackle this project yourself. If so, contact us! We specialize in helping homeowners find the resources to do as much of the kitchen upgrade process themselves- all in one convenient package! Allow us to walk you through the process of taking your kitchen from blah to absolutely stunning!!

Any color, any size- you choose! Again, we match any Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore color sample, if you choose to have us professionally, spray paint your doors for you. Additionally, we have many door styles for your to choose from!

Painted Cabinet doors
Door samples

Still not sure what color you want for your kitchen cabinets? Order a pack of some popular trending colors today!

paint samples

Can Old Wood Cabinets Be Painted?

old oak cabinets painted white
Check this out! These cabinets were old oak cabinets, repainted to a gleaming shining white, giving the whole kitchen a powerful transformation!!

Absolutely! Homestead Cabinet Design has had powerful success with painting old wood cabinets. Indeed, the transformation is amazing!! There are many so good options out there, therefore you can repaint pretty much any color that you want to. There are even ways to minimize the grain, if you have oak cabinets. Also, if you want a country look, you could paint, and then put a glaze over top of it. Virtually, your imagination is the limit!!

If some of your doors need to be replaced, or you have structural issues, you may actually want to think of refacing them. However, most times simply painting your existing kitchen cabinets brings amazing life and vitality onto your kitchen. Totally transforming your work space at a fraction of the cost and hassle of buying new cabinets. You will be amazed at how dashingly beautiful your kitchen cabinets will be with a gleaming fresh coat of paint!!

In this blog, we will focus on simply repainting your old wood cabinets. Indeed, just by painting them, your dated wood  cabinets can go from blah, to absolutely stunning!! You will also be able to get years of life out of otherwise shabby wood cabinets. However, if you want more information on refacing and new cabinet door styles check out our blog on refacing and cabinet doors.

Repainting/Refinishing Kitchen Cabinets

Below are photos of the transformation a kitchen can go through, just by repainting!

pine cabinets repainted white

Isn’t the transformation is amazing??

painted white kitchen

What Colors Should I Choose For My Cabinet Painting Project?

It is best to go with a color that resonates with you, unless you are planning to sell your home in the near future. True, whites and grays are the all-time favorites. But most likely you will want something that fits you and your home. Blues and teals are also becoming increasingly popular. However it is always best to go with your gut feeling, enjoying what feels homey to you.

Painted Cabinet doors
Door samples

As you can see, your options are endless!!

repainted kitchen
teal painted island with white kitchen
You can even decide to use two colors in your kitchen. Use your imagination!!

Sometimes it helps to visualize your old wood cabinets in another color. If you want some ideas, google “the latest kitchen colors”, or check out Pinterest. These are very valuable resources to help you visualize your own kitchen in that or a similar color. Also, they often include the number of the exact color they used.

Once you have narrowed your options to a few colors, buy a pint in the sample color of your choice. Try painting some small boards with it, then putting them in your kitchen at various angles. This will really help you visualize how the color looks in your kitchen, with your existing walls, counters, and back splashes. Remember that even the lighting can change the tones of paint.

To Saving/Not To Saving Hardware?

Now is also the time to decide if you want to change out the hinges and handles. Often, you will find that changing the hardware will give your finished kitchen cabinets a powerful punch. However, depending on your existing hardware, you may wish to keep it, as these folks did. Indeed, the old hardware added character to their newly painted kitchen!

white painted kitchen

You will want to use paints specifically made for cabinets that deliver a rock-hard, smooth finish. While costlier, they will definitely hold up much longer. Especially check out conversion varnishes and Sherwin Williams’ line of cabinet grade paints. They will definitely give you a more durable finish, lasting much longer, and the extra money spent now will definitely be worth it in the long run!!

Do not settle for standard acrylic-latex paint. Indeed, you will find that it does hold up very well on old wood cabinets, peeling quite easily.

Will I Need to Apply a Clear Coat Over the Painted Cabinets?

Definitely, if you choose to use a lower grade paint, you will want to use a clear coat. However, if you go with a cabinet grade paint, or better yet a conversion varnish as the professionals do, you should not need to clear coat your cabinets after painting them.

How Long Should I plan For Painting My Cabinets?

Block out at least a week to paint your kitchen cabinets, if you plan to work at it full time. However, if this is only a spare time project, expect the project to take you weeks or even months.

Is Painting Old Wood Kitchen Cabinets DIY Friendly?

Indeed, it is not for the faint of heart, however it can be done! This is a project that requires a great deal of time and energy. Furthermore, you will be wise to plan ahead and do a lot of research before tackling your kitchen or even bathroom cabinets.

What Should I Keep In Mind When Painting My Cabinets?

First you will want to decide where you will clean and prep all those cabinet door/drawer fronts. Ideally, you will want a large enough area to lay them all flat while working on them. It is crucial to remember that they take up an amazing amount of space, once they are laying down instead of installed on your cabinets. This should definitely be a well ventilated, clean, dry area. An unused room or basement is ideal for this. 😊

Additionally, carve out a space to put the basic kitchen items that you use on a daily basis now. You will not need to remove everything, unless you are painting the inside  of the cabinets, or renovating them. However, you will want to get to your basic kitchen utensils, pots and pans, easily. Remember that painting your kitchen cabinets will take a significant amount of time. And in that time, you will still most likely be needing to cook and prepare food for your family.

At the least, you will want your favorite pots an pans and utensils within easy reach. This will make your kitchen renovation easier for everyone!

Should I Use A  Sprayer When Painting My Kitchen Cabinets?

Ideally, yes. A high quality sprayer will give you that beautiful, glossy, smooth finish. In the event that you decide to use brushes and rollers, invest in brushes and rollers made specifically for cabinet painting. However, if you have lots of grooves and a lot of intricate designs, you will do well to rent or buy a sprayer.

The first thing you will want to make a list of the supplies and equipment you will need. Following is a comprehensive list professionals use:

  1. Painters tape, lots of it!!
  2. Plastic sheeting
  3. Extension poles- they work great to enclose your kitchen into a plastic room. Thus, keeping the dust and chemicals more or less contained
  4. Heavy duty painters’ paper for the floor and counters
  5. Sharpie
  6. Bags for all the hinges and hardware
  7. Goggles
  8. Earplugs
  9. A really good respirator- you will be making lots of dust and dirt, and be around strong chemicals. Be safe!!!
  10. TSP, or any other strong degreaser like Krud Kutter
  11. Rags and a bucket for wiping down the cabinets
  12. A soft lint free rag
  13. An orbital sander
  14. 180, 220, and 320 grit sandpaper
  15. DryDex spackling compound
  16. Spackling knife
  17. A step stool for those high cabinets- yes, it is definitely worth the investment! Be safe!!
  18. A shop vac- ideally also bags to inset in the shop vac. It will cut down on your dust tremendously!!
  19. Be prepared to rent/buy a good paint sprayer
  20. Brushes, good quality rollers, and paint trays with disposable liners, if you decide to go that route.
  21. An air compressor
  22. A large exhaust fan, with a plastic vent to the outside
  23. A very good stain blocking primer
  24. Final coat paint
  25. Felt pads
  26. Last but not least, a good quality camera. You will want to take many pictures before, after, and during the process!! You will never regret that expenditure.

Grab That Camera!

Begin with taking pictures. Lots of them. They will be priceless later on!!

Clean out/Clean Up/Declutter!

Then, clean out/clean off all your cabinets and counter tops. Now is the time to deep clean and organize those kitchen cupboards like you have been dreaming of doing! Save only what you really want to keep for future use.

Due to the extensive work being done in your kitchen, your large appliances should also be removed if possible. However if you are planning to do this project over a period of time, that may not be feasible.

Remove The Cabinet Doors/Drawer Fronts

Begin at one end of the kitchen and move across your kitchen in an orderly fashion to dismantle your kitchen cabinets. As you remove each cabinet door/drawer front, use a sharpie and number each cabinet door in the little pocket hole where one of the hinges came out of. Next, write the corresponding number inside the cabinet/drawer box.

Cover each number with painters tape. This will keep the number safe while you paint. Remember that once your kitchen cabinets are all torn apart, it is not easy to remember where each individual cabinet door/drawer front belongs again.

Please do not disregard this step. In fact, it sounds tedious, but you will not regret doing it! Indeed, this extra precaution alone will save you many frustrations and headaches later on!!

Safeguard Your Hardware!

If you plan to reuse the hardware, save cabinet door/drawer’s hinge in individual Ziploc bags, marking them well. Ideally, the hinges should go back onto the same doors again for the best fit! So for best results, correspond the number of the hinge with the number of the door, even marking them “Top” and “Bottom”.

Hinges do wear a certain way over time, as a result, you will want them clearly marked for easy future reference.

Store these bags in an easily accessible place.

Enclose Your Space

You will want to enclose the kitchen, separating it from the other rooms of your house. The best way to do this is to use large sheets of painters plastic and locking extension poles. These extension poles extend from the floor to the ceiling, securing your plastic sheeting securely.

To start, place a corner of your plastic over the top of the pole. Proceed to put one corner under your pole. Pull the plastic taut, then finally, lock the pole in place. Last, but not least, remember to overlap the plastic sheeting somewhere, effectively creating a “door” for you to use while painting your kitchen cabinets.

As you can see in this photo, it is imperative to protect all other surfaces.  It is far better to over-prep, than to skimp. Thus needing to spend countless painstaking hours scrubbing dust and over-spray off of walls and floors!!

 Protect the Surfaces

Grab that roll of heavy of painters paper. Lay it on the floor, and roll the painters paper out the whole length of your kitchen. Cut your paper to fit. After this, tape it down securely with masking tape on all sides, so it doesn’t slide around. Repeat this pattern, strip by strip, until your whole kitchen floor is covered.

Cover your counters with the same heavy paper, taping everything firmly.

Thoroughly mask off all back splashes and any exposed painted walls with paper or plastic sheeting, including the ceiling. Again, you do not want to spend hours cleaning dust and over spray after your kitchen cabinets are finished.

Last but not least, using plastic and painters tape mask off each individual door and drawer, unless you are painting the insides of the cabinets. This will ensure that the contents of your cupboards will not get damaged by the cleaning chemicals, or over-sprayed while painting.

This can seem like a lot of painstaking effort. However, keep in mind that you will be doing some serious cleaning and sanding. A lot of dust and grime will come flying off of those old cabinets when you sand them. Keep in mind also, that spraying paint creates over spray. You really do not want all this dust and over spray to ruin your interior cabinets, walls, ceiling or floor in the process.

 Ensure Good Ventilation In Your Cabinet Painting Project

Last, but not least, set up an exhaust fan, venting it to the great outdoors.  This is critical for your health. Remember that you will be making a lot of dust, and working with strong caustic chemicals. You do not want to jeopardize your health in exchange for painting your cabinets!


Four Crucial Steps For Prepping Before The Cabinet Painting Begins

  1.  Clean Those Old Wood Cabinets!

We all like to think that we keep our kitchens clean, nevertheless cooking grease does get into all the little nicks and crannies in your doors and frame. Besides, our hands always have residue grease on them, which eventually does build up on our cabinets, especially around the handles.

You will want to use a strong de-greaser to clean those old wood cabinets. Therefore TPS is a good option, although that is a very strong chemical. Without a doubt, make sure you have good ventilation while using this product. Krud Kutter also works well.

Cleaning and prepping those old cabinets and doors will require a significant amount of time and energy. Much care must be given to thoroughly clean and de-grease all the cabinet doors, drawer fronts and face frames. Especially work hard to get any build-up gunk off from around the handles, and hiding in the crevices. Absolutely no grease or dirt can be left behind.

As you will see, leaving grease behind will creating unsightly fish-eyes in your finished product. No amount of paint can cover that!!

Finally, wash everything down with a bucket of clean water and a soft rag, and allow them to dry thoroughly.

 2. Sand All Your Old Wood Cabinets 

First, attach 180 grit sandpaper to the sander before attaching your orbital sander to a shop vac. Then, carefully sand the face frame. Be especially careful to run the sander with the grain of the wood on the face frame of your old cabinets.

In this case, failure to follow these instructions result in unsightly sanding burn marks in your finished cabinets. These always show through when you paint, unless you then spend the necessary time to fill them.

After this, blow off all the dust, being especially careful to get all the dust in the corners. Last but not least, wipe down the cabinets again with a clean dry rag.

 3. Fill in all Imperfections On Your Old Wood Cabinets

You are finally ready to start filling in all those imperfections! First, take a small ball of Drydex with your putty knife, and smooth it over any dings, scuffs, or scratches.

Then, allow the DryDex to dry thoroughly, otherwise it will not sand nicely. As a result, you will definitely end up with smears and balls of DryDex. Some areas may also need a second coat.

Obviously if you plan to use new hardware, fill in those holes also.

 4. Sand All Those Old Wood Cabinets Again!

As before, attach your orbital sander to your shop vac. This time, use 220 grit sandpaper. Sand lightly in a circular motion, remembering to sand  with the grain of the wood. This will help you greatly minimize sanding burn marks.

Again, blow out any residual dust in all the corners.

Finally, wipe everything down with a soft, lint free rag. You definitely do not want dust or dirt hiding in any corner, because paint will not adhere to dust. Nor will you want any lingering dust or lint interfering with a glossy smooth finish on your kitchen cabinets!!

Three Steps For Cabinet Painting

1. Test your Sprayer

Congratulations! You are finally ready to get out the sprayer!!! Undoubtedly this is a long awaited privilege! However, there are safety precautions to follow here also.

It should be noted that most paint and conversion varnish needs to be diluted to achieve a good spray pattern. So, work at figuring out the perfect dilution ratio for your specific paint/conversion varnish and sprayer needs.

Along with that, be sure to check your nozzle and tips. Try spraying in soft gentle sweeps across the board, testing your spray effects. Make the necessary adjustments to achieve a beautiful spray pattern.

In this case, if the paint is too thick, it will come out in blotches, definitely not giving you a nice smooth finish. In contrast, if it is too thin, it will undoubtedly give you runs much sooner!! Too much air will result in bubbles in the paint, and will definitely result in an “orange peel” effect.

Practice! Practice! Practice! Find a spare piece of plywood, and try out that sprayer. Learn how to use the spray gun comfortably. It definitely takes skill to get an even coverage of paint. Now is the time to perfect the skill of achieving a beautiful spray pattern. How rewarding when you see those awesome, shining, newly painted kitchen cabinets.

6. Priming Your Old Wood Cabinets

  1. First, apply the primer in strong even strokes. Be sure to spray the tiny angles and hard to reach places first. Allow it to dry.
  2. Secondly, sand with 320 grit sand paper. Smooth out any runs, or imperfections.
  3. Then, blow out any residual dust in all the corners.
  4. Finally, clean well with a soft lint free rag. Again, you will not want any dust or lint on your cabinets when you go to paint!!
  5. Apply another coat of primer. Allow it to dry thoroughly.
  6. Scuff surfaces again with the 320 sand paper. Be very careful with the edges. Do not sand through the primer. Aim to just scuff the surfaces so that the next layer of paint has something to adhere to.

7. Spray Painting Topcoat On Your Cabinets

Repeat Step 6 For Painting Final Coat

Basically, you will follow the same procedure as you do when you are spraying with primer paint.

  1. First, apply the final color of paint, then allow it to dry.
  2. Then, follow with a very light coat of sanding with 320 grit sandpaper.
  3. Finally, spray the final coat!

At times you can get by with giving your old wood cabinets only one coat of final paint. However, if you want that smooth glossy feel, you will want to give it an extra topcoat. You will find that this is an extra step, however you will be well re-payed when your kitchen cabinets shine!!


Cabinet Painting- Doors and Drawer Fronts

Basically you will follow the very same procedures as was outlined above, with a few additions. Most specifically, create a clean, dust-free area space in your basement or garage to clean and spray paint all the doors and drawers.

Ideally, you should have enough space for the doors and drawer fronts to lay flat to spray. Most high-quality paints and conversion varnishes are self-leveling, so you will also experience far less runs if they are laying down.

You will want to keep them off of the surface you are spraying on. For that reason, be prepared to use blocks or tin cans to prop your doors off of your work surface.

1. Clean Those Cabinet Doors/Drawer Fronts

Thoroughly clean each of your cabinet doors/drawer fronts in the same way as you did the kitchen cabinet frames.

  1. Again, clean very thoroughly with TSP, scrubbing out any dirt hiding in the corners with a small scraper.
  2. Finally, wash thoroughly with hot soapy water, and a clean rag.

Undoubtedly, they are the most prominent and visual part of your finished kitchen cabinets. Obviously,  you will want to take extra precautions to eliminate any lingering grease.

Without a doubt, a few blotches or runners in the face frame can be hidden far easier than streaks and fish eyes in your doors/drawer fronts!!

2. Sand The Cabinet Doors/Drawer Fronts
  1. First, attach your orbital sander to a shop vac. Then using 180 grit sandpaper, carefully sand each side of every door and drawer front.
  2. Using your air compressor, blow out all residual dust.
  3. Last of all, wipe down the cabinet doors/drawer fronts with a clean dry rag.

As has been noted, the door/drawer fronts are the most prominent feature in your kitchen. So be especially careful to run the sander with the grain of the wood on the doors/drawer fronts.

3. Fill in all Imperfections on Your Cabinet Drawers/Door fronts
  1. Grab your putty knife, then taking a small ball of Drydex on your knife, smooth it over any dings, scuffs, or scratches. In addition, if you plan to use new hardware, fill in those holes also.
  2. Allow the DryDex to dry thoroughly, before sanding with 220 grit sand paper.
  3. Then, repeat if necessary.
  4. After the DryDex is thoroughly dry, sand. Also, blow out all dust with an air compressor.
  5. Finish off with wiping every cabinet door/drawer front with a soft lint-free rag.
4. Painting Primer On Your Doors/Drawer Fronts
  1. First, you will want to spray all the cabinet door and drawer cabinets fronts.
  2. Allow plenty of time to let them dry. You definitely do not want a half-dry cabinet door to stick to whatever its resting on!!!
  3. Flip them, and spraying the back side.
  4. Carefully sand each front and back of your cabinet doors/drawer fronts by hand with 320 grit sand paper.
  5. Blow off all dust.
  6. Remove any lingering dust with a soft, lint free rag.
  7. Spray all fronts.
  8. Allow plenty of time to let them dry before flipping to paint the back sides.
  9. Spray all backsides.
  10. Finish with sanding all the sides with 320 grit, being very careful not not sand through the paint to the original wood.

As always, there are those who skimp on this step, trying to get by with only one coat of paint. However, to get that smooth glossy finish, it is imperative to be precise with every step of the process. You really will feel very well rewarded once you finally get to install these doors. If they are well-done, they transform your old tired kitchen from blah to gorgeous!

  5. Applying the Final Coat To Your Cabinet Doors/Drawer Fronts
  1. First, blow off any dust.
  2. Carefully wipe the front and backs of all the cabinet doors/drawer fronts with a soft, lint-free cloth.
  3. Now, apply the first top coat to the fronts of the cabinet doors/drawer fronts.
  4. Allow them to dry thoroughly.
  5. Next, flip all the door/drawer fronts final coat to the back sides of you cabinet doors/drawer fronts.
  6. Again, sand both sides of your doors/drawer fronts with 320 grit sand paper very lightly.
  7. Spray one more final coat to the fronts of your cabinet doors/drawer fronts.
  8. Allow them to dry, before flipping them over and spraying the back sides.
  9. Last, but not least, apply the felt pads to the inside of each door and drawer. This will keep them from scratching the face frame of your newly painted kitchen cabinets.


Re-assembly of Your Painted Cabinets

Congratulations!! You are finally ready to assemble your kitchen cabinets!

Finally, Assemble Your Grand Puzzle!!

First, carefully pull the painters tape off of the hinge space in your doors and drawer fronts. Now, match them to the corresponding cabinet and drawers.

Do you remember where you stored those hinges? Now is the time to get them out, and fit them to the proper door, installing them as you go. However, if you decide to use new hardware, it is pretty straightforward process. In that case, you will only need to pull each hinge out of the bag as you need them, and presto! Your hinges are ready to roll!

Installing  the Cabinet Doors/Drawer Fronts

At this time you are ready to install the doors. Be sure to check for proper alignment on all cabinet doors, otherwise your finished kitchen cabinets will not look professional!

Definitely, messing up on this part will give your finished kitchen a very shoddy and unprofessional look!!

Install Hardware

Finally, you are ready to measure, and install all the hardware.

Relax and Enjoy!!

Finally, finish with a cup of coffee and make sure to take some pictures of your finished kitchen! Bask in the pleasure of your old-dated-cabinets transformed into an airy, updated, gorgeous work space!!


Feeling Overwhelmed?

Pros and Cons

As with all things, there are pros and cons to painting your old wood cabinets yourself. If you have the time and energy, and love the challenge of a very meticulous, time-consuming job, it may work for you.

Obviously, if you have the space to paint your own doors and drawer fronts, you can save yourself a lot of money. However, keep in mind that painting a kitchen really does require quite some skill and expertise.

As has been noted, painting your kitchen cabinets could take weeks, and even months to finish. During that time, your kitchen will be in chaos and quite possibly unusable.

Clearly, painting your old wooden cabinets yourself requires significant time and energy. Regardless of how efficient you try to be, having kitchen cabinets in disarray for a long period of time, makes everything else seem to be chaotic. In fact, the kitchen is at the heart of the home, and when that is disrupted, everything seems to go haywire.

Also remember that if you start the project, and run unto problem, you will be on your own. Moreover, it will be a lot more costly for a professional to come in and fix your problems.

It can be done, but it does add time and a lot of stress to the whole project.

Why Not Let The Professionals Tackle Your Kitchen Cabinets?

Professionals will be able to guarantee spectacularly smashing results the first time without all the added stress and tedious labor on your part. Indeed, they will transform your kitchen from blah to a cheery, spacious work space.

Are you wishing to update your existing kitchen for a larger fridge? Or need some cabinets renovated all new appliances? Possibly you are dreaming of adding a dishwasher, or a brand new farmers sink?

All of these can be tricky renovations for a homeowner, however a professional works with this all the time.

Call The Experts!!

With their expertise, connections to top quality cabinet materials, top quality primers and paints, they will be able to help you achieve that kitchen of your dreams!!

 Hiring a Professional Painter Will Guarantee You:

1. Substantially Saved Time and Energy.

Due to their experience and expertise, professionals can get the job done for you efficiently and quickly. As a matter of fact, a good professional can have your kitchen upgraded in as little as 5-10 days!!! 

On top of that, you will not have to take precious vacation time off to tackle a job that may or may not turn out well.

2.  Professional Skill and Expert Service

Professionals will be able to guarantee spectacularly smashing results the first time without all the added stress and tedious labor on your part. Indeed, they will transform your kitchen from blah to a cheery, spacious work space.

No Cleaning, Sanding, or Prepping Those Kitchen Cabinets For You!!!

Equally important, professionals will be prepared to take your cabinet doors/drawer fronts to their own work space.

Furthermore, they will be equipped to clean, sand, prime, and paint your cabinet doors/drawers in only a few days’ time. In fact, most times they will come back to you sparkling and fresh in less than a week!

Without a doubt, you will be amazed at the difference in the feel of your old-made-new cabinets and cabinet doors/drawer fronts!!

Obviously, why not let the professionals handle this project?

3. Top of the Line Equipment

No Need To Rent/Buy Expensive Equipment!!

Obviously, quality paint sprayers and air compressors are very pricey, and can range from $1,000 to well over $8,000 each.

Professionals will definitely have top-of-the-line equipment, since they paint/renovate kitchen cabinets on a daily basis. And this will not be your hassle if you hire a professional to paint your old wooden kitchen cabinets. Professional will have all the equipment necessary to swiftly and smoothly upgrade your old tired kitchen cabinets.

Best of all, they will be able to modify your existing cabinets without you needing to buy all that extra equipment!!

4. Professional Upgrades

Quite possibly you are wishing for some upgrades in your kitchen. Or maybe your refrigerator cabinet needs adjustments? Possibly you hope to incorporate a new farmers sink, or dishwasher.

As a matter of fact, professionals have access to cabinet grade building materials. Obviously, they will be happy to give you options that will potentially save you money in the long run.

In conclusion, professionals are able to transform your worn tired kitchen to a fresh, stunning, functional work space.


5.  Quality Primers and Paints at Your Service

Obviously, professionals have done tons of research themselves, wanting to offer you the best of the best. Because of this, they have access to top-of-the-line primers and top coat paints for your specific kitchen cabinets. They will also be very happy to show you all the options for your existing cabinets!

Along with this, since they have such top quality primers and paints, they are able to guarantee their work.

 Warranties On All Completed Work

Professionals are insured. Most importantly, they care about giving you a beautiful professionally painted kitchen cabinets that will last you a long time. Moreover, they will stand behind their work.

This will absolutely give you the peace of mind that if something goes wrong, you have someone to call on.

Clearly, if the above process seems to be daunting and overwhelming; you will do well to hire a professional painter.  It will definitely cost you more money, but you will absolutely be assured of having a beautiful quality paint job in the end.


Are you wishing for a quote from a local expert on your kitchen?

To get more info about our services click here.

Or call or text Raymond at:


You can also email some pictures of your kitchen to:


for a free preliminary estimate within one day!!

Below are some samples of a few of the colors we have painted for our clients. To see our cabinet door samples and feel our satin smooth finishes yourself, schedule a free in-home consultation at this time!!!

Painted Cabinet doors

We can definitely match any Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams paint samples. So, pick out your favorite color and we will be happy to match it. Your options are as endless as these paint decks!!