by design episode #54: painting cabinets // kitchen reno series

We’re continuing with our Kitchen Reno Series and today is all about PAINTING CABINETS. We talk thru all the necessary steps, share some of the products we use, and offer some encouragement to get you painting.

Thanks so much for listening!


Lyn & Dannette



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  1. Remove doors and hardware. Be sure to number and label both the doors and the hardware as you remove them or you’ll regret it later. It’s also a good idea to put the hardware for each door in a plastic baggy inside the cabinet box itself, so it will be easy and obvious what goes to where later on.
  2. Clean the existing cabinets using a degreaser like TSP. It may take a few times over to remove all the years of grime. Don’t skip this step — it’s necessary to get a good finish in the end.
  3. Fill dings with wood putty.
  4. Sand the cabinets just enough to roughen up the surface so the new finish will adhere better. You don’t need to sand them completely down, unless there are areas that are flaking or chipping. 100 grit sandpaper should do the trick.
  5. Vacuum all the dust off the cabinets.
  6. Prime the cabinets using a good stain blocker product like Zinsser’s BIN or Kilz.
  7. If there are brush strokes, do a quick sanding of the cabinets using 220-grit sandpaper.
  8. Paint your first coat. (use light coats, not too much paint) You can roll or brush paint the boxes, but if you can, spray the doors for a better finish.
  9. Sand with 220-grit paper. Don’t forget to wipe off and vacuum dust after each sanding.
  10. Paint your second coat.
  11. Sand again. Don’t forget to wipe off and vacuum dust after each sanding.
  12. Apply a clearcoat or acrylic for extra protection if you’re up for it.
  13. Reinstall all doors and hardware.


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