"Understanding Your Home" by Building Inspector Mark Visser
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Painting Kitchen Cabinets
Copyright Contributing Editor, P. Baker

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The kitchen cabinets, see photos below, had been painted with an oil paint by the previous owners, based on how it looked they had used a paint brush to apply the paint. A new kitchen was not in the budget but a new paint job was more than feasible!
Do NOT use a paintbrush to paint your doors, you will see the brush strokes, which is fine if you want a "we did it ourselves" look. Best thing to use is a foam roller. Paint was applied to the door with a brush but then rolled with the foam roller to smooth out the paint, don't worry if it looks thin, that's what you want, thick paint will take too long to dry.

The doors were washed down with TSP (1:20 mix ratio) while still hanging in the kitchen, and then rinsed with clean water. The doors were numbered, removed, and then hinges and handles removed.
If reusing the hinges, as done here, place them inside the cupboard that the door was removed from, that way hinges can be put back onto the same door for proper realignment later. When removing the doors take the bottom hinges off first then the top one to keep the door from swinging out and twisting the hinge.

Lightly sand down the doors to roughen up the surface so that the paint will adhere better, give the doors another good cleaning to get rid of the dust.  Since the doors had oil paint on them already we decided to apply a good quality primer to all the doors and cabinets.  Even though we were going to be using the Behr paint and primer in one we wanted to make sure that the paint wouldn't chip off the door, so we decided that a separate primer applied first would be worth the extra work.

Then 2 coats of paint were applied (Behr paint and primer in one) to the backs of the doors, with a 12 hour dry time between coats.

This 12 hour dry time was needed due to the dark color of the paint (more pigments in the paint) and because of the semi-gloss finish. After the second coat dried the doors were turned over and placed on small plastic bowls so that the entire back of the door wasn't resting on the table, this also allows the air to circulate around the door while the paint is drying

Then 3 coats of paint were applied to the fronts of the doors with 12 hour dry time between coats again.
Speaking from experience, wait the full 12 hours! Normally when painting walls you only need to wait 4 hours before applying the second coat, but if you rush it you will actually pull the paint off your door instead of adding more paint to it.

Once the third coat is dry then it's best to leave the doors for about one week to let the paint fully cure before reinstalling. After one week, put on your new door hardware, put the hinges back on, hang them up again and you have a brand new kitchen for a fraction of the cost.

Keep a small glass jar of the paint under the counter (old pickle jar) for the times when a door may get nicked. To fix it without leaving a mark on the door dab at the spot with a small kids paintbrush until the damaged spot is covered over, don't stroke the paint on or it will be more noticeable.
While the doors are drying you can start painting out the cabinets themselves, two coats of paint were applied to the cabinets themselves. Don't forget to paint the underside of the upper cabinets!  Also it is not necessary to paint inside the cabinets or dishes may stick to the shelves.  Only the shelf edges were painted so that when the doors were open it looked nice.  Small self adhesive round felt pads were added to the bottom inside corner of each door to keep the doors from sticking or banging when closing the door.

The total cost for this project was $151.00. New knobs and pulls $42.00. Paint for the cabinets $54.00. Paint for the kitchen walls $35.00. Paint supplies $20.00. It looks fabulous and friends and family have all been amazed that they are painted, and not by a professional, just with lots of hard work!

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