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Tips For Painting Cabinets

6 Things to Know Before Painting Your Own Cabinets

Thinking of updating your cabinets with a fresh paint job? We like the way you think! Paint and new hardware can make a dramatic difference without having to renovate, but this DIY project can easily take a wrong turn if you don't know what you're doing. Save yourself the headache of a time-consuming misstep by reading these tips first!

  1. Allow for enough time
    While the end result will be well worth it, painting your cabinets isn't something you'll be able to knock out in an afternoon. The entire process from start to finish often takes DIYers about a week or so to complete.
  2. Label your cabinets
    When removing cabinets, save yourself a huge headache by paying attention to the order you're removing them. Be sure to also remove hinges and hardware with a cordless drill or screwdriver — painting over them can affect the way the cabinets function. Lay cabinets out in the same order you removed them, and put a piece of masking tape on the back of the cabinets for easy reassembling.
  3. Get rid of dents and nicks before painting
    Aside from outdated finishes or bad paint jobs, old cabinets often have dents and nicks from usual wear and tear. Taking the time to go over them with a putty knife and spackling compound or wood filler will make a huge difference in the final result.
  4. Become a savvy sander
    While some tutorials call for chemical-ridden thinners to remove old layers of paint or that glossy polyurethane finish on wood cabinets, LiveLoveDIY blogger Virginia prefers to just sand it off with an electric sander for large surfaces and do the corners and crevices by hand. Start off with a high grit if there is a lot of old glop to remove, a medium if there is less, and do a finishing layer with a fine grit. As she points out, you still have to sand after using thinners, so save yourself a step!
  5. Select the right primer
    You'll want to choose a primer for the type of surface you have (wood, metal, or laminate). You can also have it tinted to the color of your top paint coat. This works especially well if you're working with dark or stained cabinets because the original finish can show through the top coat.
  6. Avoid brushstroke marks with this trick
    You've come too far to finish your cabinets with a messy paint job, so try Virginia's technique for a smooth, professional-looking paint finish. Her secret? Using an angled paintbrush and a mini foam roller. She advises to work in small sections, using the angled brush first and going back over it with a mini foam roller while the paint is still very wet. So smart!
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