Most people would love to replace their kitchen cabinets, and even if they aren't grungy or dingy looking from years of use, it may just be time to refresh the decor of your kitchen. Especially in this crummy economy, painting your cabinets can be a very inexpensive yet effective alternative to achieve your design goals.
Painting your kitchen cabinets can be far less expensive than replacing them and it is something that you can easily do yourself. You can paint your cabinets for around $100 while replacing them could cost you upwards of $5,000. You can also get others involved in painting your kitchen cabinets to help it go faster.
One of the first questions that often comes up is whether to use oil-based or water-based paint. You'll find experts recommending one or the other because each has its advantages. In the past, oil-based (also referred to as alkyd-based) paints were the hands-down favorites. The oils took longer to dry resulting in a smoother brush-stroke-free finish, and formed a much harder film that didn't stick in humid weather. On the other hand, latex paints (or water-based paints) dried quickly leaving visible brush strokes and would cause cabinets to stick a bit in humid weather. However, times have changed and so have paints. First, latex paints are have improved dramatically. Waterborne and acrylic technologies have made these paints much stronger and smoother leveling while at the same time, environmental laws caused oil-based paints to lose much of their former qualities. Moreover, oil-based paints yellow relatively quickly while water-based paints have excellent color retention. Considering new super paints such as the new Benjamin Moore Aura, which uses revolutionary new waterborne resins and colorants, the choice is really clear. These paints perform far better than their oil-based counterparts and are the recommended choice for painting kitchen cabinets. But regardless of oil or water-based paint, be sure to use a high-quality paint because your cabinets will need to stand up to constant use and repeated cleaning.
Choose a color that compliments the colors already in your kitchen. Take your floor, wall color and appliance into consideration. If you want your cabinets to not stand out, choose a color that matches your walls. But if you want your cabinets to stand out, then choose a bold color such as a shade 3 to 4-times darker than your walls, or a color that compliments your existing colors. See popular kitchen colors for design inspiration.
When you are ready to paint, the first thing to do is to remove all the cupboard doors and the drawers and hardware to begin to prepare the area for painting. You need to make sure the surfaces are clean and free of any stains or grease or dirt. And if the existing surface is shiny, you'll need to sand it dull with 150-grit sandpaper and wipe it down with a tack cloth or damp rags to remove the sanding dust.
If you have any dings or problems in your cabinets then tips on painting kitchen cabinets is that you can fill this area with a non-shrinking wood filler. After the filler dries it is best to sand it so that you get a better finish to work upon. A high-performance wood filler will dry the hardest and hold up best but is more expensive. Tape off the edges with painter tape.
Once the surface is clean, dull and smooth, you should prime the cabinets with one coat of a high-quality 100 percent acrylic primer. This will ensure the surface is uniformly sealed and bonded to the old paint or finish. Let it dry for 2 to 4 hours and you ready for the top coat.
We recommend the Benjamin Moore Aura in an eggshell or shinier finish. The most popular sheens for cabinets are the Aura satin or Aura semi-gloss finishes because the shine is aesthetically appealing and holds up well to wear and washing. The Aura is available in any color through MyPerfectColor.com.