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Painting Kitchen Cabinets (page 1 of 2)

A new coat of paint can make worn, tired kitchen cabinets look new again. Thorough preparation is the key to a successful repainting project.

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  • Time

    Weekend

  • Price Range

    $50 - $100

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate

Here's How to Do It:

Step 1: Size-Up the Job

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Wood, wood-laminate, and metal cabinets usually can be repainted without difficulty. Plastic laminate cabinets resist overpainting — those that can be refinished often require special paints and techniques, and results can vary. If your cabinets have plastic laminate surfaces, first check with a knowledgeable paint dealer, and test a sample of the paint you wish to use in an inconspicuous area to ensure that it will bond to the material.

Flat-front doors and drawers are easily repainted, but woodwork with raised panels, routed profiles or other architectural detailing will require more time to prep and paint. If the woodwork is warped, badly worn or damaged, or coming apart at the glued joints, you can opt to buy new unfinished doors and drawers and paint them along with your existing cabinets.

Applicator options for repainting include spraying, rolling or brushing with either a natural or synthetic bristle brush or a foam brush. All have their advantages and disadvantages; choose whichever is most suited to the amount of woodwork to be repainted and your own style of working. The best applicator also may depend on the type of paint or finish you choose.

Step 2: Remove the Cabinet Doors and Hardware

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Start by removing the cabinet doors and drawers and remove all pulls, knobs, latches and other hardware from these parts. Place the hardware and screws in plastic bags inside the cabinets where they will be easy to locate when you're ready to reassemble everything (Image 1).

Number each door and its corresponding location as you remove them (Image 2). Do not mix them up or the hinges may not line up properly when you reinstall them (Image 3). If you are painting only the drawer fronts, you won’t have to remove the attached slides. If you do need to remove the slides, mark them and their locations as well.

Step 3: Clean the Surfaces to be Repainted

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Kitchens are work areas, so grease, steam, and food splatters are common. Before you begin sanding or painting, clean all of the surfaces to be repainted with a solution made from one part tri-sodium phosphate and four parts water. Rinse, but do not soak the cabinets with clean water and allow them to dry thoroughly.

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