Friday

Painting The Kitchen Cabinets


diy - how to paint builder's grade kitchen cabinets

Before thinking of painting the kitchen cabinets you have to be sure they are structurally stable. Is the style something you can live off with? If not, or if they are broken, wobbly or in a general bad shape, no matter what kind of paint you apply they are not going to look good. 
In my case, they were in good condition, the style was not the best, but they were good and sound! The thing that bothered me the most was the color. Yeah!  They were the famous builder’s grade oak cabinets.

I decided to paint them myself for the most obvious reason: Money.  If I had hired someone to do the job, I wouldn't be able to get the kind of material I wanted for the counter-tops.  

Even though I knew it was a long and tedious job, I decided to take my time and do it the best possible way I could.

  • I began by emptying the cabinets and the room.
  • The doors, hardware, drawers and shelves were also removed.
  • The surfaces were cleaned with TSP (Trisodium Phosphate), to remove accumulated grease and grime, so the paint could have a better bonding.
TSP - Trisodium phosphate used to clean kitchen cabinets
  • The outside surfaces were sanded with 100-grit sandpaper to remove the glossy finish they had.
  • Floors, appliances and areas that were not going to be painted were covered.
  • I first applied Zinsser B-I-N Primer to the inside of the cabinets because those were laminated surfaces that needed this kind of primer (it adheres to any kind of surface).
Zinsser BIN primer before paint.

Kitchen makeover with painted cabinets and added molding
Priming the inside of the cabinets, of course Mr. G
had to take a shot of me at this unflattered angle!
  • For the front or outside of the cabinets which were wooden surfaces and to the pieces of MDF, I applied Kilz Odorless White Primer.
Kilz primer for wood on cabinets
Painting a builder's grade kitchen and building a range hood.
Priming the outside with Kilz.
  • The outside was sanded with 220-grit sandpaper to get rid of brush marks.  After that, the surfaces were cleaned with a tack cloth to get rid of dust.
How to paint and upgrade a builder's grade kitchen on a budget.
After the first coat of paint.
  • Two coats of paint were applied.  For kitchens and bathrooms the experts recommend the use of oil base paints because of durability, but I decided to use a Latex paint, it dries faster and do not turn yellow over time.  I tried to choose a high quality paint: Benjamin Moore Aura, with a Satin finish.  After the first coat, all the surfaces were sanded with 280-grit sandpaper, again dusting before applying the final coat.
kitchen makeover on a budget with painted cabinets and diy marble backsplash
With the second coat of paint.
  • The doors, drawer fronts and shelves were painted on a table to prevent drips, just the same as with the cabinets, but the waiting time for the surfaces to dry was a full day after each coat.
kitchen makeover on a budget with painted cabinets and island makeover
Everything painted except the doors and drawer fronts.
The Final touches were changing the light fixtures, countertops, painting the walls, installing decorative hardware and a window shade.
kitchen cabinets painted Benjamin Moore Aura - Satin - Navajo White and Tudor Brown
At the end, just missing a backsplash

At this point I was soo happy! All that work was done and I could see the difference


The cabinets were painted: Navajo White - Benjamin Moore Aura - Satin
The island was painted: Tudor Brown - Benjamin Moore Aura - Satin


Next, how to install a marble backsplash.

You can also click on the next links for:

Closing the space above the kitchen cabinets
Adding moldings to your kitchen cabinets 
Build a range hood.
Build a fridge enclosure.
Update the kitchen island
Tips about installing recessed lights
Final kitchen reveal
Kitchen cost breakdown
1 ½ Year Later How the Kitchen is Holding up
Build-in Plate Rack
Pull Out Shelves in Pantry
LG Appliances Review and Complain


Thanks,



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41 comments :

  1. What an amazing difference! I would have guessed you bought all new cabinet by looking at your before and after! I recently painted mine as well and am loving the finished product. Definitely worth all of the work!

    Would love it if you shared your kitchen transformation at my Room Evolution party on 1/31!

    Jenny
    www.evolutionofstyleblog.blogspot.com

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  2. I am blown away at how you turned a boring builder kitchen into a gorgeous custom!! Outstanding! I hope you are incredibly proud of yourself! Talk about increasing the home value!! WOW!

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  3. What was the color of the Benjamin Moore paint used on your cabinets please?

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  4. You can check my paint colors tab at the top.

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  5. Wow you made a clean job in painting those cabinets. Your work is even comparable to commercial painter Vancouver professionals.

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  6. Cristina he visto que solo tienes un post en español los otros estan en ingles, no tienes instalado el traductor para poderlo elegir español y leerlo todo bien, pq asi no me entero de nada jejeejej. bueno espero lo pongas para facilitarme leer tus COMENTARIOS.

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  7. What a beautiful job. We just remodeled our kitchen, doing many of the same things (although, I think I like yours a little better..lol). I used SW Emerald (their "best" kind) in Satin, and I could not me more unhappy with it. It looks and cleans like a flat paint. Plus I had to paint it 3 times (it's dark, but I primed beforehand)before it had full coverage. I'm tempted to go to BM and buy a can of their paint to redo my (just painted) cabinets.
    Thanks for all the details and beautiful pictures.

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  8. Thank you so much Michelle! I'm so sorry to hear about the bad experience painting your cabinets with SW paints, after all that work it must be pretty upsetting! I'm happy with the results of the brand I used, BM, even though one of the base cabinet doors (where the trash can is located), has some scratches due to its heavy use and also to the sharp nails of my daughter! :)
    Good luck if you decide on redoing it!

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  9. You are some superwoman. I am blown away by the beautiful work you have done. You are an inspiration to the women out there, of what we are capable of doing. I will apply some of your projects to my own home. I have a question about painting cabinets - do the paint stay on and not chip off? As kitchen cabinets get a lot of use, it may appear nice in the picture to have them painted but they could be more maintenance to the home owners. What is your comment on this? Thanks and keep on with your very helpful blog and video.

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  10. Thanks Amscon! You can find the answer to your questions in my latest "How is my kitchen holding up" review, right here: http://www.remodelandolacasa.com/2013/02/how-my-kitchen-is-holding-up.html

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  11. Thanks so much for sharing this. I've been staring at my builder cabinets for four years, and I've really wanted to paint them, but have been nervous about doing it. This helps a great deal.

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  12. Painting kitchen cabinets is way better than replacing them with new ones, me and my wife do that two times in a year to give the cabinets a new look.

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  13. May I ask the brand of your white kitchen dining chairs and where they were purchased? Beautiful job on your kitchen!

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  14. May I ask the brand of your white kitchen dining chairs and where they were purchased? Beautiful job on your kitchen!

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  15. Oops - never mind regarding the kitchen chairs. Found the information on your resources page. Love how thorough your site is! :-)

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  16. I love the way your kitchen turned out! I'm getting ready to tackle my own kitchen makeover and your tips will be very useful. I'll be spending a lot of time on your blog... hope you don't mind!

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  17. I have done 2 remodels both with Ikea cabinetry. Both turned out very well, the kitchen in particular was awesome. My partner put together all the units and did the levelling. unfinished kitchen cabinets

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  18. In the end, if the eyes are attracted to the area where the surfaces and units meet then it is probably a annoying eye sore. The same applies for the walls; choosing free of charge styles goes a long way. construction companies san francisco

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  19. Beautiful! Your kitchen looks amazing! I also used Benjamin Moore's Aura paint when I decided to do away with our honey oak three years ago. Other than a tiny chip on a heavily used cupboard door, it's held up so well. What a difference paint makes! Enjoy that kitchen - it should be in a magazine!

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  21. Fine work on those cabinets, you can´t really tell they were painted afterwards. The kitchen looks amazing after the whole decoration. Please look us up at PlusReformas

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  23. Hello Cristina I am getting ready to paint my kitchen cabinets (OH AND BEFORE I CONTINUE YOU DID A BEAUTIFUL JOB ON THIS KITCHEN!!!! ) and I would like to know how well the Latex paint is holding up, because I do not want to use an oil based paint either. Also, do you like the Satin finish or would you have decided to use a glossy finish? I greatly appreciate your time! Thank you : )

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! You can check my post on how the kitchen is holding up right here: http://www.remodelandolacasa.com/2013/02/how-my-kitchen-is-holding-up.html, overall, I'm happy with the performance of the latex paint. If I have to do it again I would go again with latex and satin finish, it gives a nice sheen.

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