When you want to update your kitchen, one of the most affordable projects to tackle is repainting your kitchen cabinets. Not only will you eliminate chips, scuffs, and scratches, breathing new life into your cabinets, but you’ll also get a dramatic transformation with a fresh color. 

Wondering where to begin? Below we’ve outlined 7 key steps to follow when you’re repainting your kitchen cabinets.

Step 1: Get Prepared

There’s a lot to purchase before you can begin repainting your kitchen cabinets. If you don’t have these items in your garage, basement, or tool shed, you’ll want to buy them ahead of time. Once you start repainting, you won’t want to have to halt progress to run to the store. So what do you need? Here’s a look: 

  • Sand paper
  • Wood filler
  • Putty knife
  • Tack cloth
  • Paint sprayer
  • Rollers and foam covers
  • Paint brushes
  • Paint stripper (if the existing paint is not in good condition)
  • A drill
  • A shop vacuum
  • Rosin paper
  • Painter’s tape
  • Drop cloths
  • Painter’s tripods

You’ll also need to purchase primer and paint. Make sure when you do, it’s designed for cabinets and acrylic, not wall paint. If it’s the latter, it won’t stand up to the heavy wear and tear found in most kitchens. This means you’ll soon notice scratches, chips, and peeling. 

Another consideration when repainting your kitchen cabinets is the sheen of the paint. If you choose a high-gloss sheen, for instance, it will show dents and other damage. Flat paint, on the other hand, can be difficult to clean, which is not ideal for a setting with grease, grime, and lots of sticky fingerprints. Instead, choose a satin finish or a semi-gloss one.

Step 2: Ready the Space

Once you have all the supplies for repainting your kitchen cabinets, get the space ready. You’ll want to clean out your kitchen cabinets and remove the doors and drawers, as well as the hardware. Make sure you label everything, so once it’s time for installation, you’re not left guessing where everything goes. 

Cover your floors with drop cloths to protect them and tape the rosin paper around your counters, backsplash, and appliances, so you don’t leave behind any splatters. It’s typically easiest to paint the cabinet doors and drawers in a separate location, like your garage or basement, so get that workspace ready, too.

Keep in mind that repainting your kitchen cabinets will probably take several weeks. Therefore, you might want to create a makeshift kitchen somewhere else to lessen the disruption to your life. 

Step 3: Strip and Clean Your Cabinets

If your cabinets are in good condition in terms of the existing paint, you can often paint right over them after a little sanding and priming. If they’re not, however, then you’ll need to use a paint stripper to remove the existing paint.

If you’re simply planning to sand your cabinets, clean them first with a product like trisodium phosphate. This will remove all the grease, grime, and dirt that often accumulates on cabinets over time. If any contaminants are left behind, it can impact how well the primer and paint adhere to the surface when you’re repainting your kitchen cabinets. 

Step 4: Repairing & Sanding

After you’ve cleaned your cabinets, repair any minor scratches, dents, or other imperfections with wood filler. You can use a putty knife to press the filler in and then smooth it out. Just make sure you leave the holes for the hardware if you’re planning on reusing it. 

After the damage is repaired, you can then sand your cabinets. Use medium-grit sandpaper and gently sand the surface. You don’t want to take it down to the bare wood. Your goal is to roughen it up a little, so the primer and paint adhere correctly to the surface. 

When you’re dealing with corners and detailed areas, fold the sandpaper in half to reach those areas. After this is complete, vacuum and wipe down your cabinets with a tack cloth to remove all the dust. 

Step 5: Priming

Even if you’re repainting your kitchen cabinets a similar color, it’s still important to prime the surface. This process helps to cover up any damage or imperfections on the cabinets. It also creates a surface that the paint better adheres to. 

The overall end result will look more professional and last longer. You can typically get away with one coat unless you are repainting your kitchen cabinets a lighter color over a darker one. 

Step 6: Repainting Your Kitchen Cabinets

After the primer has dried, paint the cabinet frames first, working your way from the inside out. Your paintbrush will come in handy when you’re painting inside the cabinets toward the back corners. For large areas, it’s best to use a roller or a sprayer to achieve an even and polished look. 

Once the cabinet boxes are complete, move onto the doors and drawers. Begin with the back of each and apply a smooth coat, flipping it over once it’s dry. When you’re painting the front, make sure paint doesn’t pool into the areas with any design detail. To make the process easier, you can also use painter’s tripods to keep the cabinets off the ground. 

A word of caution: During the painting process, don’t rush the dry time. You’ll wind up smudging the paint and will then have to go back and touch up areas. It’s simpler to just be patient and wait the allotted time for the paint to dry.

Step 7: Reassemble Your Kitchen

Once the paint has dried comes the best part: re-assembling everything and admiring the finished project. If you labeled everything properly and stored your hardware in small bags, then this process should go fairly quickly. 

Would You Rather Hire a Pro for Repainting Your Kitchen Cabinets?

There’s a lot of work involved when it comes to repainting your kitchen cabinets. Even if you have experience, you might not have the time or energy. Plus, there are many different tools and materials you need to purchase, which you’ll only end up using one time. 

If you’d rather take 1 step – instead of 7 steps – take the stress, time, and frustration out of the equation and contact N-Hance®. We can help you through every aspect of the job, from selecting your paint color to repainting your kitchen cabinets using our special acrylic polyurethane blend made for cabinets. This paint will not only give you a beautiful finish but a more durable one too. 

We will also cure your cabinets instantly thanks to our UV technology, Lightspeed®. This reduces downtime, so you can use your kitchen faster. 

If you’re ready for a simple, fast and affordable approach to repainting your kitchen cabinets, call your local N-Hance at (855) 642-6230 today to set up a FREE design consultation.