Cabinet Painting 101: What you Need to Know

So you have decided to paint your cabinets but are nervous about the outcome? Rightfully, you should be.

This week I am focusing on what to expect during the process and some commonly asked questions we encounter from our clients.

Having been in business for 11 years, we have learned a lot over the years. Important items, whether you choose CCFF or another company for your refinishing needs.

Do you caulk the panels on wood doors and drawer fronts?
No absolutely not. This is the #1 mistake paint company’s make that will leave you with a mess in 2 years. Wood has to be allowed to shrink and expand. Cabinet doors are made with 5 separate pieces of wood. Paint and caulk are not strong enough to keep wood from moving as the climate changes. If you try to force the wood from moving it will crack.
Can you paint Melamine or Thermo-foil cabinets?
Yes, absolutely. There is a misnomer in the business that if you have plastic covered doors, they must be replaced. That is not the case. You can peel the plastic off and seal the MDF on the inside with a good primer.
Can the insides of my white plastic cabinets be painted?
Yes, they can. There are specialty primers out there that are made for exactly this type of bonding. The primers are professional grade and do require spray equipment.
I have oak cabinets. Should I replace the doors and drawer fronts or paint my oak?
Sealing oak is a very labor intensive process. It takes 5-6 coats of primer and a lot of sanding to get a smooth finish. We usually recommend all new doors and drawer fronts as it will give you a better finish and the price difference is not substantial. Of course your oak face frames and cabinets would still need to be sealed and sanded.
Do you use Oil or Latex Paint for cabinets? The answer is neither. Oil and Latex paint are good for trim, bookcases, and other areas of the house that do not have high traffic. A warning about oil, it will yellow over time. It is very durable and gives you a hard finish but it will yellow. Latex paint is “too soft” for cabinets. Our paint, is professional grade cabinet refinishing paint which requires spraying.

The bottom line, if you are interviewing companies to paint your cabinets, make sure they specialize in refinishing cabinets and not just painting. The process and products used for cabinets are entirely different from trim, wall and ceiling paint. Kitchens get a lot of use and require durable finishes.

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About the author 

Jenna Hill

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