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Don’t Replace Kitchen and Bath Cabinets, Paint Them!

Don’t Replace Kitchen and Bath Cabinets, Paint Them!

Sooner or later, we all tire of the cabinets in our kitchens and baths. Maybe styles have changed, or possibly, our own taste. Or, maybe, our cabinets just look worn from the strenuous demands of everyday use.

Replacing the cabinets is always an option. But, with money so tight, that’s not in the cards for everyone. And does it really make sense to replace the cabinets without replacing the countertops, upgrading the appliances, or installing a new floor?

Rather than wrestle with this remodeling “domino effect”, you can change the appearance of your cabinets by simply painting them. It’s a lot faster than remodeling, it’s easy, and since it involves little cost, it’s the right move in the current economy.

Like so many painting projects, surface preparation is important when painting cabinetry. Start by removing the cabinet doors – this will spare you a lot of stretching, stooping, and bending during the course of the project.

Regardless of whether your cabinets are made of wood or metal, sand them carefully to remove any loose stain or paint. If the cabinets have a glossy finish, sand all the surfaces you’ll be painting so that your new paint will adhere well. Then dust off the surfaces or wipe them with a damp cloth.

If any bare wood or metal is exposed — either due to the sanding or from ordinary wear and tear — apply a quality latex primer or shellac to the entire cabinet. Be sure to use a corrosion-resistant primer if your cabinets are metal.

When the primer dries, paint the cabinets with a durable, top quality 100% acrylic latex paint, preferably in a gloss or semi-gloss finish. Paints with higher gloss are more stain-resistant and are easier to clean, important considerations in kitchens and bathrooms. (Note: We Use Benjamin Moore Advance Enamel)

If your cabinets are subject to excessive wear and tear, consider using a high quality latex gloss enamel rather than paint. It produces an even harder, tougher, more stain-resistant finish.

No matter which top quality coating you use, you’re bound to be pleased with the results of your painting project. And, if you ever want to change the color again, you’ll know just what to do!

Debbie Zimmer is editor-in-chief of the Paint Quality Institute blog. She's a widely cited authority on color, use of paints in interior and exterior design, and decorative painting techniques. She can be found on Twitter as @PaintQualityIns.