Would you like to paint an old kitchen cabinet, but are not sure exactly how to do so? We’re Canadian cabinet professionals who serve the Toronto area, and you’re about to read the 6-step process we use to paint kitchen cabinets in the homes of hundreds of Torontonians.
Step #1: Remove Cabinet Drawers and Doors
Whenever we do a kitchen renovation in Toronto (or any area we serve), one of the first things we do when we paint a cabinet is remove the drawers and doors, as well as all the latches, pulls, and similar other pieces from all the drawers and doors of the cabinets.
We advise that you make sure that the screws and other pieces are stored in plastic bags, and that those bags are kept inside your cabinets or somewhere where they’re easy to find. This is done so that when the paint has dried and you’re ready to put your cabinets back on, you’re able to easily locate them.
To avoid a lot of hassle, be aware that, depending on how your cabinets were manufactured, some pieces only go with certain cabinets.
In other words, maybe not all hinges, nuts, and bolts are interchangeable. That’s why certain pieces that originally came with a specific cabinet door should be labeled accordingly. What you can do is number or label all the cabinet doors and their corresponding locations at the time when the doors are removed.
Taking a few minutes to find some tape, a pen or pencil, and paper to do all of this might save you a lot of frustration when you begin to put your cabinet doors back on.
With all that said, in case you’re only planning to paint the fronts of the drawers, then it may not be necessary to remove the attached slides.
Step #2: Clean the Cabinets
Even if a cabinet doesn’t look dirty, depending on how old the cabinet is, and it’s proximity to the stove, it’s possible that, over the years, grime and grease have accumulated on the surface.
That’s why it’s always good to clean the cabinets, and to do so sufficiently enough that most grease is removed. If you want, you can compare the different cabinet doors to each other, and see if any of them look like they’ve accumulated more grease. A solution consisting of water and tri-sodium phosphate might suffice. Apply the solution to the side(s) that you’re painting, then wipe, and then repeat until you’re satisfied.
Step #3: Repair Any Damage to the Cabinet
If you find that the cabinet has small dents, gouges, or holes then it may be necessary to repair them before the cabinets are painted. If there are holes, dents, or small scratches, then you may want to fill them using a wood filler.
After applying some wood filler, you can then wipe off the extra filler using a damp cloth.
Lastly, put a hardener over all the dents and holes to ensure all the holes get filled completely.
Step #4: Proper Sanding
After the filled holes and scratches are dry, the next step involves sanding the surfaces to make them smooth. For this, you can use a wood sanding block. This will, of course, remove old paint. Hopefully, your efforts will help smoothen the surface for better adhesion.
An alternative to a wood sanding block, if there’s a finish on the wood, would be to use fine steel wool and denatured alcohol to rub out the finish.
Step #5: Apply Primer
Primer sealer should be applied using a three-inch brush, and you may want to ensure that you get a finish coat that is well-bonded.
When primer sealer is used, it lowers the necessity to deglaze and sand old finishes before they are repainted. This primer-sealer combination can be useful, since it offers an excellent base for water based and semi-glossed paint.
Step #6: Apply Paint
Begin by painting the face frame openings and the inside edges. After that, paint the sides of the outer cabinets and then paint the face frame fronts. By doing it this way, you’ll be able to expedite the work in areas that are less critical, and this also allows you to fix any smudges or drips in visible sections.
The next thing to do will be to paint the drawer fronts and the cabinet doors, along with wood moldings or pieces.
When applying paint, ensure that it is applied in the form of light and thin coats. Light, thin coats tend to dry quicker, move evenly, and hopefully, will not leave visible brush strokes. Wait around 4 hours before applying a 2nd coat.
The 6 steps listed above are the same ones that our professional Canadian cabinet makers follow. If you’re looking to do a kitchen renovation in Toronto, feel free to welcome our proud kitchen cabinet professionals into your home.