How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets like the Pros – ELLE Decor

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Professional painters (together with Bobby Berk) reveal high methods to offer your blah kitchen a gleaming end.
If up to date popular culture is any indication, we’re presently obsessive about the house makeover. From exhibits like

Queer Eye to Flip or Flop to The Home Edit, there’s one thing about that dramatic reveal of a renovated fixer-upper that has us on the fringe of our to-be-reupholstered seats. We eat it up—on repeat (in fact we’re nonetheless watching, Netflix). However there’s all the time one venture that satisfies the collective want for transformation above all others: freshly painted kitchen cabinets. “By portray cupboards, you’re instantly making a change that’s noticeable with out having to make a significant funding in each money and time,” says Queer Eye star and design skilled Bobby Berk. “And whenever you go for a completely new shade or one which creates extra distinction, it simply has this enormous affect on how the room appears and feels.”
In the event you’re able to transcend actuality tv and go all Bobby Berk in your culinary house, listed below are some suggestions and methods on how you can paint kitchen cupboards like an skilled, compliments of the professionals.

We’re not going to sugarcoat it: Tackling a kitchen cupboard paint job isn’t precisely one thing you possibly can end by midday on a Saturday. However tackling the venture your self does repay—actually. Knowledgeable paint job can simply high $6,000 for a mean kitchen, whereas doing it your self can are available in as little as $200 for paint and provides. As for venture size, a full kitchen takes six to seven days, so plan on a number of nights of consuming out.
“Anyone can do it,” says Renae Brabham, half of the husband-wife duo behind Brabhams Cabinet Painting in Charleston, South Carolina—collectively they’ve accomplished greater than 500 kitchen cupboard jobs. “Nevertheless, when you attempt to lower corners, then you definately’ll find yourself calling professionals to step in. We’ve gotten so a lot of these calls, and it nearly all the time boils all the way down to somebody getting impatient or utilizing unhealthy merchandise.” In different phrases, when you’re gonna do it, do it proper. Now let’s get into it.

Rule primary: Earlier than you get away the curler, check out the situation of what you’re working with.“Any small chips or cracks to the doorways may simply be repaired with a wooden filler,” Berk says. However be mindful, not all cupboard doorways and drawers are paint-worthy. If the veneer is peeling or the woodwork is warped, you is likely to be higher off shopping for new unfinished drawer fronts and doorways to interchange the beat-up ones.

Cupboard materials can also be an necessary consideration. Wooden, wooden laminate, veneer, fiberboard, and even metallic cupboards could be repainted with out issue. Nevertheless, plastic laminate and thermofoil cupboards would possibly require particular paints and methods that will probably be extra conducive to color adhesion. If doubtful, take a look at a pattern of the paint in an not noticeable space and even take away a door and produce it right into a paint retailer for inspection.

We all know, you’re keen to place brush to color. However a bit of upfront prep ensures that your counter tops and backsplash don’t get an unanticipated paint job of their very own. Empty the cupboards, clear the counters, and transfer furnishings that’s in the way in which, so you’ve gotten loads of work house. Give the room an intensive dusting to forestall particles reminiscent of pollen from selecting the moist paint. Subsequent, cowl the backsplash, counters, and ground with brown builder’s paper or plastic tarps.
Brabhams recommends getting ready a piece space exterior of the kitchen—reminiscent of a storage or basement room—with good air flow and even a number of followers. There, you’ll lay down plastic and arrange three to 4 sawhorses with two-by-fours on high to carry the cupboard doorways. It’s also possible to arrange a close-by paint station, full with paint, rollers, brushes, buckets, and sandpaper.
On the subject of huge paint jobs, don’t overlook to take security precautions to keep away from undesirable publicity to color vapors. Maintain home windows and doorways open, use followers to maintain the air transferring, and proceed ventilating the realm for not less than three days after portray. Take breaks whereas portray as nicely.

Sure, it’s a significant time suck. And sure, you can be tempted to go rogue and skip this step. However eradicating the cupboard doorways provides you entry to all surfaces of the cupboard. So except you’re going for a bolder free-form flair, don’t lower this nook and do take away that door. Beginning at one finish of the kitchen (working clockwise or counterclockwise) use a drill or handbook screwdriver to take away the cupboard hinges, doorways, drawers, and {hardware}. In the event you’re portray solely the door fronts, you don’t want to take away the edges.
“Quantity the doorways as you’re taking them off,” Brabham advises. “In any other case, will probably be a large number as a result of not all doorways are created equal.” She suggests writing the quantity within the gap the place the {hardware} was, and overlaying it up with a chunk of tape to keep away from portray over it. To keep away from shedding the {hardware} for every door, Brabham places it on the shelf every door got here on or inserting every in a small bag that’s labeled with the corresponding cupboard quantity.

Previously, you needed to clear, strip, sand, and customarily break your again to prep a floor for paint. However the residence enchancment business has developed past cleaning soap and scrub brushes—and even sandpaper. There’s a product referred to as M-1 Paint Gloss Remover (you too can use liquid sandpaper) that cleans and deglosses the floor. Sans sawdust. “These items is by no exaggeration a miracle product,” Brabham says. “No person sands cupboards anymore.” To make use of, wipe the M-1 gloss remover all around the cupboard doorways—on the edges, throughout the highest, on the again—and will probably be dry in 20 minutes.
A phrase of warning: You by no means heard this out of your mom, however we’re right here to say, don’t clear the cupboards. “Cleansing options could be a enormous wrongdoer of our most interesting DIY horror tales,” Brabham says. In the event you use a TSP [trisodium phosphate] or a silicone-based cleansing product, you may get what’s referred to as fisheye in your cupboards. “It appears nearly as cringe-worthy because it sounds. This bubbly paint impact occurs when the paint received’t stick, and it’s a nightmare as a result of it’s important to let that dry, then sand it down, and at that time you’re fortunate when you don’t should take it to an expert.”

You’ve gone Pinterest comfortable on dream kitchen colors and also you’ve maxxed out your telephone space for storing with apps to help you find the perfect paint shade. However you’ve now come to your second of reckoning. Whereas we will’t let you know what shade to decide on (Berk says green kitchen cabinets are his new obsession), a phrase on paint kind (there are two primary classes, latex and oil-based paint) would possibly assist with the choice course of.
Whether or not you select latex or oil-based paint, know that each present an important end. As latex paint has improved through the years, many execs have completely given up on oil-based paints. “We used oil the primary two years we have been in enterprise and rapidly nixxed it as a result of the latex merchandise they’ve today are heads above what they was once,” Brabham says. Latex paints dry sooner, are simpler to scrub up (requiring simply water and dish cleaning soap), and are extra forgiving than oil-based paints when it comes to paint utility. Nevertheless, they are often extra prone to stains and do take as much as three weeks to totally treatment (or topic your cupboards to each day use).
Oil-based paint, which is often costlier and fewer user-friendly, goes on smoother than water-based paint and tends to raised cover the cupboard’s imperfections. It additionally shrinks much less because it dries, which implies that what it appears like moist is the way it will look dry. “I choose an oil-based paint for cabinetry that will probably be getting a variety of use, because it tends to carry up higher over time,” Berk says.
Brabham recommends utilizing the Benjamin Moore Styxx or Sherwin-Williams Extreme Bond as a primer, adopted by the Sherwin-Williams Emerald urethane or Benjamin Moore Command paints—that are a hybrid of oil and urethane. “Each are extraordinarily sturdy, have low VOC [volatile organic compounds], should not going to scratch, and don’t yellow like oil paint does,” she says. Professional tip: The typical kitchen—about 25 doorways and 6 drawers—requires one gallon of paint and one gallon of primer.
As for the end, that’s one step you needn’t fear about, Brabham says. “You concentrate on your sheen whenever you select the paint,” Brabham says. “Some are shiny, some are a extra low luster end, and others (nearly all of our jobs) are semi-gloss, which provide a low luster look with a snug quantity of safety.”
Your choices for paint applicator instruments embrace spraying or rolling. “Spraying cupboards goes to provide the cleanest and smoothest end arms down, and can also be a lot much less time consuming than utilizing a curler or brush,” Berk says. Although spraying could be expensive. The Graco Magnum Airless sprayer, the Apollo sprayer, or the Fuji sprayer are all nice choices. You can additionally go for a professional-level sprayer, just like the TriTech T4 sprayer, which some {hardware} shops supply for lease. In the event you’re intimidated by the thought of spraying your cupboards, rollers are all the time an possibility. Don’t overlook to buy a respirator masks to put on for cover towards paint fumes.

Armed with the correct instruments, you’re able to put paint to the floor. Put together the sprayer or paint bucket, and start along with your first layer of primer. Begin with the backs of every door, lining them up on the two-by-fours. Let these dry, then flip them over and spray the opposite facet. “That is the a part of the method the place all people will get scared, as that first layer of primer goes to appear to be one thing a six-year-old went to city on,” Brabham says. “Don’t panic. You’re simply giving your cupboard base, and every layer will get progressively higher.”
As soon as the primer has dried (a course of that sometimes takes 40 minutes per layer), repeat this course of with the paint. “One of the simplest ways to construct up the floor is with a number of layers of skinny paint somewhat than one thick layer that may extra simply chip off,” Brabham says.
In the event you’re utilizing a brush and curler, dip the comb within the paint and apply it to the floor. Work your method from the within edges of the face frames to the outer cupboard sides and fronts (this lets you work rapidly within the much less essential areas and spend extra time rolling over the flat floor whereas it’s moist). You’ll then go in with a flock foam mini roller and clean it out. Watch out to not make too many brush strokes, which can create air bubbles that may dry into bumps. This is similar course of you’ll apply to the cupboard base within the kitchen, as you possibly can’t spray that.
Two coats of high quality paint are normally adequate, however a 3rd coat can’t harm. After the primary coat of paint, flippantly sand all of the surfaces with an especially tender sandpaper and wipe sanding mud with a tack fabric earlier than happening to your subsequent coat. Permit for not less than 4 hours between coats. “Be affected person as the cupboards dry,” Brabham says. “In the event you go to choose up the doorways and so they really feel a bit of cheesy, you’re going to depart fingerprints on them and should redo the entire paint job.” Wait not less than 48 hours so the cupboards could be totally cured earlier than being reattached to the {hardware} and base.

Now you’re able to return the whole lot to its correct place for the ultimate reveal. Utilizing the identical drill or screwdriver, reattach the drawer fronts and doorways to the hinges and {hardware}. Slide the drawers again in place.
Take into account zhuzhing the newly painted cupboards with some stylish hardware. “Distinction is essential in the case of {hardware},” says Berk. “For lighter cupboards, l wish to go together with darker {hardware} in black or bronze, and for darker tones I typically go for brass or nickel.” Add the bling and voilà: kitchen à la mode.
Rachel Silva, the Assistant Digital Editor at ELLE DECOR, covers design, structure, tendencies, and something to do with high fashion. She has beforehand written for Time, The Wall Road Journal, and Citywire.

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