Matt is a experienced painter and freelance writer, sharing his knowledge, house-painting tips, and also product reviews.

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Prepping Cabinets because that Paint

The many important part of cabinet painting is the surface ar preparation. When it's excellent wrong, you'll have problems with adhesion, yet when excellent correctly, your painted cabinets will certainly be durable and look great in the end.

Painting kitchen cabinet is various than painting drywall. There's an ext prep work-related involved. Girlfriend can easily paint end drywall again if friend don't favor the color, however with cabinets, you'd need to strip whatever off and start end if the paint falls short from improper surface prep.

I do a lot of cabinet painting, and I'll show you how to prep your cabinets therefore the repaint lasts and looks professional.

Clean the cabinet Thoroughly

Primer and also paint don't bond v dirty and also greasy surfaces. Cabinets above a stove and also below the sink space usually the worst and need to be closely cleaned prior to sanding. First, remove every one of the doors and also hardware for simpler cleaning and also painting.

There room dozens of cleaning products accessible for prepping cabinets for paint, including liquid de-glosser, denatured alcohol, de-greaser, and TSP (trisodium phosphate). Dawn dish soap is a good cabinet cleaner because that removing dirt and also light grease, however it won't reduced through special grease.

Denatured Alcohol

I have actually experimented through several products over the years, but I use Dawn food soap the most and denatured alcohol for heavy grease. Denatured alcohol is really great for cutting through hard grease, stains, and sticker adhesive. Denatured alcohol evaporates from the surface too, leaving no residue behind. TSP is a an excellent cleaner, however it forms a residue top top the surface that can reason adhesion difficulties if girlfriend don't wash it every off.

Protective gloves should constantly be worn when dealing with denatured alcohol or liquid cleaner. If the cabinet aren't greasy, Dawn dish soap functions fine for cleaning off dirt and also food stains. Outlet scrub pads (green color) occupational well for wiping down the surface.


Most stained cabinets room coated through a safety lacquer finish, which need to either be de-glossed v a chemical cleaner or sanded off. Removed the glossy lacquer dulls the surface, enabling primer and paint to bond better.

You can remove the lacquer through a de-glossing agent, but sanding thoroughly, i m sorry you're walking to do anyway, will remove it that way too. I personally don't usage de-glosser. Ns clean the surface and also sand whatever to de-gloss.

Start Sanding your Cabinets

Some primer and liquid de-glosser products advertise no sanding essential on the label, yet you should always sand, regardless of what's being advertised. I've never primed and painted cabinets without very first cleaning and sanding every little thing thoroughly. Sanding takes turn off the glossy lacquer top top top, exposing the bare lumber so primer and also paint have the right to bond well through it.

Electric Sander

Using a random orbital sander is an absolute must when prepping cabinets because that paint. Sanding lot of doors by hand takes means too long and won't it is in as reliable as an electric sander. I personally usage the Makita arbitrarily orbital sander, equipped v five-inch sanding discs ns buy from house Depot.

You can sand the entirety surface the a door v this sander, other than the narrow paneled parts. Those areas require a fast scuff sanding with a folded sheet of sandpaper.

Sandpaper Grit

For the first sanding, to remove lacquer native the surface ar of cabinets and also expose ceiling wood, 120 and 150 grit both work well because that me. Girlfriend can additionally use 100 grit, but I wouldn't go any lower 보다 that because it's unnecessary and also you'll damage the wood. For sanding in in between primer coats, I like 220 grit. This grit will smooth the end the surface really nice without removing the primer.

Remove Dust

Dust is your adversary when painting cabinets. Constantly remove dust native the surface ar after every sanding. Usage a shop vac equipped v a brush attachments to remove hefty dust, followed by either a damp rag or a tack cloth.

I usually wipe the down v a easy damp rag rather of a tack cloth. I've offered the yellow tack cloths from home Depot, yet I no longer use them since they leave a yellow residue top top the surface. Friend should also do your sanding external if possible, far from whereby you'll be painting.

Caulk Molding and Cracks top top Paneled Doors

Cabinet doors through recessed panels have to be caulked; otherwise, the cracks along the dashboard edges become very noticeable once painted. The ideal caulk to use is white paintable caulking, not clear. Ns buy all of my caulk from Sherwin Williams. I use their quick dry caulk (green and also white tube) the most. The caulk dries in under one hour for paint.

Before caulking, it's vital to make sure sanding dust has been fully removed from the surface and also cracks you'll be caulking; otherwise, the dust will damage your bead the caulk.

Caulking Floating Panels

Some cabinet doors have actually floating panels, i beg your pardon is once the center panel has actually some movement. There is a debate about whether floating panels have to be caulked or left alone.

Some think the caulk will certainly crack and ruin the painted door, when others have no problems caulking these panels. I've personally been caulking floating panels on room doors for plenty of years, and I've never had any issues with this.

Apply two Coats the Primer

The form of primer used when prepping cabinet for repaint is really important. Continue to be away native latex primer. It's also soft and it won't keep the organic oil within the hardwood from bleeding through right into paint. The ideal primer to use when prepping cabinet is either shellac primer or oil-based primer. Both dried hard and totally avoid stains native bleeding into your paint. I usage Zinsser BIN (shellac) the most, yet Cover Stain (oil) is great too.

The best primer to use additionally depends ~ above your applications method. BIN is awesome because that spraying, but it's very messy for rolling. BIN dries a lot quicker than oil primer and also the smell doesn't linger as long.

You can roll her primer, yet if you're willing to learn exactly how to spray, you'll have a superior finish spray paint your cabinets. Because that rolling, foam rollers work really well. They don't leave heavy stippling ~ above the surface.

I spray every one of my cabinet doors, including the wall boxes, utilizing an airless sprayer. I recommend using two coats the primer. Two coats provide included durability and ensure the surface is completely sealed before painting them.

This write-up is accurate and true to the ideal of the author’s knowledge. Contents is for informational or entertainment purposes only and also does no substitute for an individual counsel or experienced advice in business, financial, legal, or technological matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: What is the best brand painter sprayer you buy?

Answer: I use contractor Graco and Titan sprayers not offered in large box stores. Every one of them space airless sprayers. Graco sprayers are easier to clean 보다 my Titan sprayer.

Question: have the right to you usage oil primer and also then the Shellac? The Shellac doesn't stop the bleeding yet the oil does. However I choose the way the Shellac is smoother 보다 oil. Ns didn't know if I could use both primers in ~ the same time, or i m sorry one need to be first?

Answer: There's no have to use both oil and also shellac since shellac primer (BIN) alone will prevent wood tannin indigenous bleeding into the paint. You will periodically see traces of hardwood tannin in the primer after that dries, which can make you think the inside wall isn't working, yet the tannin will certainly not bleed right into the paint. I carry out recommend applying two coats that shellac primer. Exact same thing for oil primer. If you usage shellac primer, make sure you're using BIN white pigmented shellac primer, no the synthetic.

Question: Is a foam brush better than constant brush?

Answer: No, certainly not. Use a great quality paint brush for paint cabinets. Purdy, Corona and also Wooster brushes space good. I use Purdy brushes.

Question: residence Depot has actually some Marquee semigloss paint and primer all in one, is this ok come use?

Answer: i don't think I've ever before used Behr Marquee paint, however it looks like there's one enamel available in the Marquee product line. If you're walk to use Marquee, I would certainly at the very least use the enamel variation so the repaint is hopefully much more durable than regular Marquee wall surface paint. I would certainly personally use Sherwin Williams Pro standard acrylic enamel, or Benjamin Moore breakthrough if you're painting cabinets. I have actually no idea if Marquee is durable, or how it performs because that application.

Question: i just had actually unfinished cabinets placed in. I supplied Bondo Glazing & point out putty to to fill in every one of the nail holes. I’ve sanded whatever smooth. There room some areas that I want to calk like edge seams. Ns noticed that you calk prior to primer. I always found it best to calk after primer. Am i doing the wrong?

Answer: You deserve to do it either way, yet I choose to seal end the caulk through the primer.

Question: What Grit sand record do friend use between primer coats? 220 Grit.

Answer: In between coats that primer, sand the primer through 220-grit or 320-grit. Use the detailing sanding sponges, not sheets the sandpaper. The angled ones space perfect for paneled doors.

Question: do you sand in between the 2 coats of primer?

Answer: Yes, i sand in between coats of primer.

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Question: How much down should you sand cabinets prior to painting? need to I sand the repaint away far enough that it’s down to the raw wood?

Answer: No, you don't have to sand down to the ceiling wood. The key purpose that sanding is to remove the glossy clean coat and dull the surface for a much better primer and paint bond. Depending on the form of wood, wild sanding can damages the hardwood fibers and leave clues that display through the paint. In between coats the primer and paint, scuff sand the surface with finer sandpaper grits the 220 to 320. For the first sanding before primer, I'll use 120-grit to 150-grit, depending on the kind of wood.