How to Paint Old Kitchen Cabinets
Learn how to give your kitchen a whole new look by painting your old wood cabinets.
One of the most dramatic things you can do to revitalize your kitchen is to change the look of your kitchen cabinets. There are lots of ways to do this, but one of the easiest is by painting them.
Most kitchen cabinets are painted with enamel because it's so durable and easy to keep clean. Both oil and latex enamel work well, but oil-based enamel is recommended because it dries to a harder finish than latex, making it a better choice for hardworking kitchen cabinets. If you prefer to use latex paint, protect the surface with a final coat of sealer.
Dark wood-stained cabinets can make a kitchen feel small and oppressive. A fresh coat of warm cream-colored paint brightens up the entire kitchen and makes the space feel much larger and more inviting.
Remove the cabinet doors and any knobs and hinges.
Once the hardware is off, lay the doors horizontally on your work surface.
Put on rubber gloves, and wipe deglosser on all the cabinet surfaces with a lint-free cloth. Deglosser cleans the surface completely by eliminating all oily residue and waxy build-up.
The deglosser raises the grain of the wood. Sand rough spots smooth with a 220-grit sandpaper. Use coarser sandpaper if the cabinets are very rough, and wipe a tack cloth over all surfaces to remove the dust.
If you've decided to change the cabinet hardware, and the fittings for the new hardware don't match the old, fill the holes with wood putty, let dry, and sand smooth. Remember to use a tack cloth to remove dust anytime you sand a surface smooth.
Use a China-bristle brush to apply oil-based primer. Let dry. China-bristle brushes are recommended because their soft, natural bristles permit the paint to flow more freely and leave fewer brush marks.
Sand the surface to remove any imperfections, and wipe clean with a tack cloth.
Apply the first coat of paint, using long, smooth strokes. Don't dunk the whole brush in the can of paint: use the top third or so of the brush, and wipe off any excess so it doesn't drip. Be sure to paint with the grain of the wood.
After the first coat of paint has dried for 24 hours, sand the surface lightly with a fine-grit sandpaper, and use the tack cloth to remove any dust. Apply the second coat of paint.
Let the second coat of paint dry for 24 hours before replacing the hardware