Preparation is always just as important as the actual job itself. Without proper preparation, a paint job can look messy or simply fall apart prematurely. Many do-it-yourself painters don’t realize just how much preparation is required when it comes to painting kitchen cabinets and having them look their absolute best at the end. The following steps will explain how to get your kitchen cabinets ready for your painting project with simple tools that you probably already have. However, it is important to keep in mind that professionals will have access to better materials, tools and paints than the average person and also have the experience to make the final product look better than most people are capable of despite following all of the steps below.
The very first step is to take the cabinets completely apart so that all surfaces can be painted as neatly as possible. This involves removing the hinges, handles, knobs, latches and any other added hardware that can get in the way of painting the cabinet itself. A tell-tale sign of a poor paint job is hinges and hardware that have been painted over ever so slightly. Many people try to tape off the hardware to avoid taking everything apart, but the hardware has too many edges to tape off perfectly and even if it is taped off with great care, there will be a noticeable edge where the paint meets the hardware. Not only is this edge unsightly, but it also increases the chances of the paint peeling or flaking off in this area when the cabinets are wiped down with a cloth since water will be able to creep in and cause problems.
Kitchen cabinets really take a beating when it comes to dirt and grease. The hot and smoky environment of a kitchen can allow grease and grime to firmly take hold even when cabinets look clean at first glance. Professionals will use a chemical to clean the cabinets and remove all of the grease that may have worked its way in over the years. If this step is skipped, paint will usually have a difficult time adhering to the cabinet and premature flaking or peeling is a very real possibility. Without access to professional chemicals, hot water and dish soap can do a decent job.
With the cabinets cleaned and free of grease, now is the perfect time to fix scratches, dents or gouges that are likely present on the visible surfaces of the cabinets. This can be done with wood putty and then sanded smooth so that the imperfection is invisible. This even works for old holes from hinges that may have been in a different position or if your hinges need to have new holes drilled. For putty to fix deep imperfections the best, the putty should slightly overfill the dent so that the dent will be completely hidden after sanding. Once the imperfections have been repaired, the entire area of the cabinet that will be painted can be sanded down. This is especially important when the old paint was flaking off or cracking.
Any areas that will not be painted should now be taped off to prevent paint or primer from sticking to these areas. This is a key step to making sure that the final paint job looks neat. Primer should always be applied in order to make sure that the paint will withstand the heat, grease and moisture of a kitchen environment. Once the primer has been neatly applied and allowed to dry, your kitchen cabinets are ready for paint! No need to tape off sections a second time, unless the tape was damaged somehow after or during priming. Make sure to look at the primed surface for imperfections because the primer will show imperfections just like the paint will. Don’t expect paint to hide flaws since paint is only as beautiful as the surface underneath.
By following every one of the above steps, chances are that your paint job will look amazing. Of course, not everyone has enough time or experience to take cabinets apart and put them back together while following all the steps and without damaging the paintjob along the way. Sanding a surface to be free of imperfections is an art, so don’t be discouraged if it is painstakingly slow at the beginning or if you end up requiring the services of a professional at any point in the process. A professional can help get the job done faster and without inconveniencing the flow of your home during the project.
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