Cabinet Refinishing and Painting – Do it Right

It is time to work on the cabinets and have them looking as good as new! We often tend to neglect painting the cabinets, instead choosing to focus on walls and ceilings, but refinishing and painting is necessary too.

Know what to do

Repainting wood, wood-laminate, and metal cabinets is not too difficult, but plastic laminate ones require specialized techniques as they resist over-painting. Woodwork with raised panels, routed profiles or other architectural detailing need longer to prep and paint. For repainting, there are various methods like rolling, spraying or brushing using a natural or synthetic bristle brush or a foam brush. Don’t forget to remove the doors and drawers of the cabinet along with the knobs, latches and other hardware from these parts.

Cleaning and sanding the surfaces

All surfaces should be cleaned with a solution of one part tri-sodium phosphate and four parts water. While rinsing, ensure that the cabinets are not soaked with clean water. Allow them to dry completely. Sand the doors on all sides and faces. It is not necessary to remove all the old paint if it has adhered well. Simply make the surface rough to provide the new paint with a firm, clean base for better adhesion. Sand over glossy areas to get rid of the glaze from the previous finish. Use denatured alcohol and fine steel wool if required. Pay attention to old and flaking paint; sand well to expose bare wood and spot-prime with a stain-killing primer/sealer.

Apply the primer-sealer and paint

Primer-sealer should be applied evenly to all surfaces for a well-bonded finish coat. As mentioned above, it works well for deglazing old finishes. It provides a great base for semi-gloss, water-based paint. Water-based finishes are in demand nowadays because of their durability and ease of usage.

Begin from the inside edges and openings of the face frames, moving on to the outer cabinet sides, and then paint the face frame fronts. Work on the cabinet doors and drawer fronts next. The coats applied should be thin and light, and need to cover all areas. Thin coats leave fewer visible brushstrokes and dry more quickly. The dry time between coats is at least 4 hours. After drying, re-sand surfaces before the next coat.