Should I paint my cabinets myself?

Painting cabinets is a difficult job, even for confident DIYers. Homeowners can and do successfully paint their own cabinets, but just because somebody has painted their own walls before does not mean that they’ll have a fun or easy time painting cabinets.

Everyone should be aware of these four things before taking on this project:

  1. Spraying is the best method by far, and the only method accepted by professionals.
  2. Kitchen lighting is bright, which makes imperfections in the paint stand out
  3. Cabinets need a semi-gloss or satin paint to look good, and these paints are harder to work with
  4. Painting cabinets is a much more process than painting walls

1. Spraying is the best method by far, and the only acceptable method for professionals

Why? For two reasons: it’s much faster, and results in superior coverage. Cabinets are made of smoother, harder materials than drywall. If you roll your paint on, you’ll end up with noticeable imperfections in the texture known as stipple.

Furthermore, if you don’t have access to a sprayer, or you’ve never used one before, that’s another challenge on an already difficult job.

2. Kitchen lighting is bright, which makes imperfections easier to see

We can’t impress enough that painting cabinets is a difficult painting project. If you’re confident in your ability to run a sprayer, just remember that your kitchen is probably the brightest room in your house. That means that imperfections that wouldn’t be visible in other rooms will be visible here.

3. Cabinets need a semi-gloss or satin paint to look good

Like trim, cabinets are made of harder, smoother material than drywall. These surfaces need a glossier paint, such as semi-gloss or satin (eggshell is “standard” for interior walls- more on sheens here). The downside to these paints is that they highlight every little detail and imperfection.

4. Painting cabinets is a much more involved process than painting walls

Painting cabinets is a process with many more steps than painting walls: you’ve got to remove the doors and drawers, label them to make sure they go back on the right cabinet opening, take off the hardware, mask the whole kitchen, seal the doorways so overspray won’t get into other rooms, prep the surfaces, and apply at least 2-3 coats of material.

Then there’s all the little details you need to know, like using a couple light layers of paint instead of one heavy one, doing a light sand between layers of paint, labelling all your doors and hardware so they get back on the right cabinet (otherwise the doors won’t align properly), and setting up a hanging system for painting your doors and drawers.

In summary, homeowners need to know that just because they’ve painted interior walls or even trim before, doesn’t mean that painting cabinets is going to be an easy, fun or successful project. It’s not the type of job you do in a weekend.

Your kitchen looks small until you start pulling doors and drawers and realize that you’ve got 20, 30 or 40 units to remove, prep, paint and reinstall. And until you’re done, your kitchen will be in varying stages of unuse.

Again, any competent DIYer can succeed here. But the risks and difficulty of the job make it one that not every DIYer should tackle.

Get professional help painting your cabinets

Painting cabinets is a good way to give your kitchen an updated feel without replacing your cabinets. If you’re in the Twin Cities area and need an estimate on your cabinets, you can contact Cedartone Painting.

FAQ’s on painting cabinets

Q. Should I use paint or enamel?

A. Enamel is more expensive but longer lasting, with an elegant finish. Paint has its upsides, too. This short overview will help you make a more informed decision on which product to use.

Q. Should I use oil-based or water-based paint?

A. Like enamels, oil-based paint is more durable and results in an elegant finish. However, it does have a much higher concentration of VOC’s, and requires good ventilation. If you’re hiring a professional to paint your cabinets, oil is a good option. If you’re doing it yourself, we don’t recommend messing around with oil-based paint. Water-based paint poses less hazard and is much easier to clean up.

How long will it take you to paint my cabinets?

We wish we could give you definitive answer to this, but the truth is we can only do that after seeing the job. However, we can tell you that you should expect to have your kitchen at least partially out of service for a full week. Larger jobs may take longer than that.

Can I keep using my kitchen during the process?

You might be able to, to some degree. The fastest (and therefore, cheapest) way to get the job done is to let your painter take over it as much as he needs to. However, at certain stages of the process, you might be able to make limited use of your kitchen after work hours.

How long will a new paint job last?

This primarily depends on a) the type of paint you use, and b) the quality of the prep and application. Enamels and other oil-based products tend to retain their beauty for at least a couple years longer than water-based materials. Usage will also affect how long your paint looks “new”. Vapors from cooking can accelerate wear.

Paint should last about as long on cabinets as it does on walls, but keep in mind that your kitchen probably has better lighting than other areas, so wear is going to show more on your cabinets. Also, your cabinets are being constantly touched, opened, and closed, so certain spots might experience a lot of wear.

How much will it cost to hire a professional to paint my cabinets?

Unfortunately, we can’t predict the cost of a job without knowing things like material type and dimensions. Resources like HomeAdvisor can give you a reasonable range for market prices in your area. This should help with budget planning but we advise you to not get married to the prices you see there.

Can I hide the grain by painting over real wood cabinets?

Yes, it can be done if it’s what you want. It just requires the application of a product to fill in the grain lines, prior to painting. This will increase material cost and time/labor, though.

Can you paint over laminate cabinets?

This also possible. This, too, will come with extra steps, such as sufficiently scuffing the cabinet surfaces so the paint can adhere.

Should I spray, brush, or roll my cabinets? Which is best?

Professional painters apply cabinet paint with a sprayer, because 1) it’s the most efficient way to move material from the container onto the wood, and 2) it results in very even coverage.

If you don’t have access to a sprayer, rolling can result in a very elegant finish – if the proper material and proper technique is used.

Brushing also works, but it’s the slowest method, and it will leave brush marks in the finish, which some people don’t like the look of.

Can I paint the hinges and hardware?

Absolutely. Metal surfaces require a different paint than wood and laminate, though. The most practical way to paint hinges and handles is to spray them. DIYer’s can accomplish this with canned spray paint.

Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to paint your hardware when it is still attached to the cabinets. Removing it will make the process stress-free and ensure that you get total coverage.

Can I paint my cabinets myself? What does it take?

Cabinet painting is a manageable project for confident DIYers, but it is a pretty involved job. The upside of hiring somebody is that you get it over with fast and the results are assured. The upside of doing it yourself is that you can work around your own use of the kitchen. If you’re tackling it yourself, here’s what we recommend:

  • Don’t be in a hurry and don’t set an urgent deadline for being done. It may take longer than you think.
  • Do remove the doors and hardware and paint them in a separate area (garage, basement, or shed is ideal. Outdoors is only acceptable in pleasant weather)
  • Spraying is ideal if you have access to a good sprayer, but rolling is perfectly fine if you don’t
  • Leave oil-based products to the professionals

Get a quote on your cabinet painting project

Homeowners and property managers in the Twin Cities area can get a quote from Cedartone Painting here. Cedartone Painting can paint, enamel or stain both new and existing cabinets.

Should I use enamel or paint on my cabinets?

Painting your cabinets is one manageable project that will have a big impact on your kitchen. The question is, what’s the right type of product to use?

With painted cabinets, you can choose either paint or enamel. Here are the main differences between the two:

  • Enamel cost more
  • Enamel will be shiner, harder, and last longer
  • Enamel is easier to apply
  • Oil based enamel has more VOC’s
  • Clean up for oil based is much harder

What exactly is enamel?

What’s known to painters as “enamel” doesn’t fit a hard and fast definition. We understand it to be a harder, shinier, more durable product that almost creates a membrane or shell when applied. Traditionally, enamel is oil-based, but nowadays there are other options. Oil-based enamel is still available, but it’s typically used only by professionals (mainly because its hard to clean up).

Your alternative is a hybrid enamel, which is a water-based product meant to mimic the performance of oil-based enamel. So does it? It gets pretty close – close enough, judging by the fact that hybrid enamels have become popular in recent years.

When to use paint and when to use enamel

There’s nothing wrong with using good, old-fashioned, water-based paint. It’s the cheapest option, and cleanup is easy. There are fewer VOC’s than in oil-based enamel, which means it’s legal to use in every state. A cheaper product also makes sense if you like to change colors often.

However, if you want a paint job that will remain beautiful for several years, you can try an enamel.

Hybrid enamel vs oil enamel

A hybrid enamel won’t be as hard or shiny as your traditional oil based enamel, but will be harder andshinier than paint.

However, hybrid is typically going to be your most expensive option. A price test at the local paint store of all three options from the same line shows a difference of $10-20 per gallon between hybrid and oil.

This may be well worth it to those who want the performance of enamel, but are concerned about VOC’s. The price difference is almost insignificant if you only need one gallon of paint to do your cabinets.

However, if you intend to do all the cabinets in your house, you might need more than one, at which point the cost difference adds up.

Consulting a professional will help you make the most informed decision

An experienced sales associate at the local commercial paint store will be able to walk you through the specifics of painting your cabinets and decide on the best product for your situation. If you’re contracting a professional painter, you can consult them about choosing the best product for your needsand your budget.

IF you’re in the Twin Cities area, you can contact Cedartone Painting for cabinet painting services.

One small project to breath new life into your kitchen this winter: repaint your cabinets

The best part of the year for exterior painting is behind us at we move into fall. If you want to paint your exterior this year, there’s still a window of time you might be able to squeeze it into. If you’re not ready to move quickly, though, you can always turn your attention toward interior painting projects.

One good area to focus on during the less friendly months of the year is your kitchen. With the weather cooling off, you’re going to be spending more time inside, and the kitchen is the most important room in the house.

Its also the one with the most opportunities for upgrades: appliances, flooring, counter tops, trim, crown molding, lighting, and, of course, cabinets.

A refreshed kitchen will give your whole house a new feel. The best part is, there’s a whole handful of manageable and affordable projects you can do to change up your kitchen, without remodeling thewhole thing.

A new coat of paint, for instance, can make your kitchen feel new again. But you might feel the effect even more if you choose to paint your cabinets.

If you’re tired of your cabinets, or they’re starting to look outdated, you might squeeze a few more years out of them by giving them a new coat. The right color of enamel can give them a modern look and serve as a face lift for the whole kitchen. If you’ve got wood grain cabinets, re-staining can freshen them up and give your kitchen a bold, polished look. Couple that with some modern cabinet hardware and you’ve got a relatively cheap project that will make your kitchen fun again this winter.

Quality cabinet painting in the Twin Cities area

With the window closing on the exterior painting season, we’re gearing up to focus on cabinets for the next few months. Here’s what you can expect from Cedartone Painting:

-a contractor who will respect your living space and your time by staying organized and getting the work done on schedule

-communication and transparency

-quality materials, quality equipment, and attention to detail

If you’re looking for a Minnesota painting contractor that can get in, get your painting project done right the first time, and get out on schedule, you can contact Cedartone Painting via our contact form

Choosing the right sheen for your interior painting job

When choosing paint for an interior project, the main points to consider are:

  1. Cost
  2. Appearance
  3. Performance and durability
  4. Lighting
  5. Use of the room in question

What puts the sheen in paint?

The two main components of paint are pigments and binders. The pigments are what adds the color to paint. Binders are resins or other adhesives that make the material adhere to itself and to the substrate.

A higher content of binders will make a paint harder and glossier, once it dries. This makes the paint more durable, but the extra hardness and shininess also means that any imperfections are highlighted(these imperfections could be in the substrate underneath or in the application of the paint itself).

Your options for sheens, from non-glossy to glossiest, are:

  1. flat/matte
  2. eggshell
  3. satin
  4. semi-gloss
  5. gloss.

Note that more gloss means a higher cost per gallon. Also note that satin is not an option that every line of paint sells. Some go straight from eggshell to semi-gloss.

Where not to use flat/matte

Your flat/matte paints are not well suited to walls that get touched a lot, because smudges and stains are hard to clean. The paint can be so hard to clean, sometimes, that it makes more sense to just paint over the smudges. On the plus side, the paint does come at an economical price. Matte paints also are easy to touch up.

Where not to use glossy paints

The problem with gloss paints is that they’re quite hard, once dried. This means they highlight imperfections, so the substrate needs to be finished with great attention to detail, which can increase cost.

Gloss paints also don’t touch up well. If you’re painting in an area where the wall is likely to be damaged, keep in mind that it’s difficult to paint over a small patch and get it to blend with the existing paint.

The paint will cost you more, as will the application. Gloss is a no-go on rough or porous surfaces, or where up front cost is a concern.

Eggshell or satin will often work when gloss and flat don’t

Eggshell and satin are a happy medium for performance and cost. Satins are easy to clean. Eggshells don’t clean quite as easy, but they can be cleaned. They can also be touched up easily, and the material comes at lower cost than satin or gloss.

Eggshell is popular for an interior paint, because it offers a good balance of price point, utility and appearance. If you don’t want to pay a premium for every gallon of paint, and you need a wall that can be cleaned well enough and has just enough luster to keep a room from having a dry, flat appearance, go with eggshell. For a slight upgrade in utility, appearance and cost, choose satin.

Eggshell is a popular interior choice for a reason

Here at Cedartone painting, we find ourselves applying a lot of eggshell for interiors. Glossier paints are commonly used on harder surfaces like trim. Whether we’re painting residential or multi-family units, homeowners and property managers alike seem to value the combined price point and utility of a quality eggshell.

For managed properties like apartment buildings and townhomes, you have to clean and repaint your walls frequently but still need to appeal to your tenants with a decent looking paint. Eggshell meets all these criteria.

For homeowners, eggshell offers a surface that can be cleaned when kids dirty it. At worst, you can afford to paint over a wall if it gets sullied beyond cleaning. Even if you don’t have kids, homeowners like the flexibility of being able to change colors at whim. This is more affordable to do if you don’t have to bear the cost of expensive, high gloss paints.

Drywall and painting for managed properties in the Twin Cities area

Cedartone has been built specifically to understand and serve the needs of property managers in charge of multi-family buildings and other rental properties, such as townhomes. To discuss your needs, you can fill out one of our contact forms here and let us reach out to you.