It’s a New Year and a fresh coat of paint on your kitchen cabinets can bring them back to life beautifully. Whether you simply want to tidy up scuffs and scratches with the same color or take a new approach with a different hue, painting your kitchen cabinets is a fast, affordable way to transform your space.

However, to get the most from your work – and all the money spent on supplies – it’s important to understand how to paint your cabinets properly, so you avoid the classic mistakes that so many homeowners make. The good news is that if you’re mindful, do your homework, and know what to avoid, you can get great results on your own. 

8 Common Kitchen Cabinet Painting Mistakes

With that in mind, here’s what NOT to do if you are planning on painting your kitchen cabinets yourself:

1. Keeping the Doors in Place

It seems so much easier to keep the doors and drawer fronts on the cabinets while you’re painting. While it’s true that it will save time up front, you won’t like the end results once you’re done. 

Keeping them on means messy, painted hinges and drip marks. Plus, wet cabinet doors are easy to bump into when they’re open, leaving behind smudge marks. So, while it might seem like a hassle, removing your doors is worth it. 

2. Ignoring Labels

Labels matter when it comes to painting your kitchen cabinets. You might think all the doors and drawer fronts are the same, but there are tiny differences among them. If you don’t label them, you won’t know where to hang each one, leading to a major headache down the line during re-installation. 

Your kitchen won’t look right if the cabinets aren’t hung in the proper places. It will then take a lot of guesswork and trial-and-error to get them in their proper homes – all of which can be easily avoided with labeling. 

3. Skipping the Prep Work

The actual painting portion of the project is the simplest and least time-consuming part of painting kitchen cabinets. What eats up the most time and effort? The prep work. This includes wiping down your cabinets so they are clean and free from dirt, grime, and grease, so paint can best adhere. It also includes sanding and repairing any nicks or scratches. 

After sanding, it’s also important to wipe down your cabinets yet again to remove all those small particles of dust that you don’t want getting stuck in your paint. If your cabinets have intricate design work on the faces, then this might require quite a bit of time and effort, which is why a professional might be better suited for the job.

4. Thinking Primer Is Not Necessary

If your cabinets are white and you’re repainting them a light color, you might be tempted to skip the primer. However, primer does more than cover up the old color. It also provides an optimal surface for the paint to bond to, so the end result is more durable. 

In addition, it provides a fresh, clean surface to paint, so the finish is flawless too. Just make sure you’re using the correct primer for your painting project and not wall primer.

5. Buying the Cheapest Paint

Paint can be surprisingly expensive. However, when you’re painting your kitchen cabinets, this is one area where you want to invest in a top-quality product. It’s also important to avoid wall paint, like latex, that’s made for flat surfaces. Instead, use a paint that is designed for heavy-duty use and the wear and tear of a kitchen environment. 

6. Painting Too Fast

Once you’ve gotten to this point, you probably want to get the paint on as fast as possible and finish the job. In doing so, though, you can make another big mistake: applying thick layers that drip and take a long time to dry. 

Instead, go slow and steady when you’re painting your kitchen cabinets and apply multiple thin layers, instead of a single thick one. Sure, this will take more time. But one thick layer will lead to chips and peeling. Thinner layers, on the other hand, are more resistant to damage. So be patient and it will pay off in the form of a stronger finish.

7. Painting with a Brush 

When you’re painting your cabinets, a brush might be the most affordable tool. But it’s not going to provide that factory-like finish you want. A brush is great to get into small crevices or tight corners. For the balance of the surface, use a sprayer instead; or, at the very least, a roller. You won’t have visible brush strokes and drip marks that draw your eye every time you walk into your kitchen. 

In addition, using a sprayer instead of a roller or brush means far less time to paint your kitchen cabinets. In fact, you can get the job done in about half the time. 

8. Hanging Cabinets When They’re Still Wet

It’s best to wait a few hours past the point when you think your cabinets are completely dry. This means 48 hours or longer once you’re done painting. It might seem like a lot of time, but in order for the paint to fully cure and become the durable finish you want, it takes time for them to dry.

Want Help from a Kitchen Cabinet Painting Pro Instead?

Painting your cabinets is definitely the most straightforward and cost-friendly way to freshen them up or change the look of your space. However, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Without the right skills and tools, mistakes happen. This can lead to a lot of time and money wasted on results you don’t love.

It’s why considering a professional kitchen cabinet painter, like N-Hance®, makes more sense. Even if you do decide to go it alone, at least get a price quote and timeframe, so you fully understand the cost and turnaround time. You might be surprised by how affordable our cabinet painting services are. We also can complete projects in as little as five days, reducing disruption to your life.

Choosing N-Hance also means you’ll get kitchen cabinets that are painted with a product made just for cabinets. It is more durable than traditional paint and will stand up to a lot of use while still looking beautiful. 

We even use a Lightspeed® UV system to instantly cure your cabinets. You don’t have to wait days for them to dry. Plus you can skip the cleaning, sanding, priming, and re-hanging. We will handle it all, from start to finish.

If you’d like to consider a professional team for painting your kitchen cabinets, call N-Hance at (855) 642-6230 to set up a FREE consultation and find out more about the cost and turnaround time.