If your kitchen cabinets are looking worn and dated, a fresh coat of paint can make a world of difference without the expense of a full remodel. Painting transforms cabinets, providing an instant facelift that makes the whole room feel new again. But painting cabinets requires proper prep work, technique, and high-quality materials to get great results that will last.
That’s why hiring an experienced professional cabinet painter is a smart investment for anyone wanting a kitchen revamp. Read on for a complete guide to finding the right pro for the job and understanding the cabinet painting process from start to finish.
Things to Consider Before Hiring a Cabinet Painter
Before calling in the pros, there are a few things you should consider to ensure you end up with your dream kitchen.
Assess Your Cabinets’ Condition
Take a close look at the current state of your cabinets. Are they structurally sound with no rot, mold, or insect damage? Making any necessary repairs ahead of time ensures a smoother painting process. If the inner wood has warped or deteriorated, the cabinets may need replacing instead of just repainting.
Choose a Paint Color Scheme
Decide the overall direction you want to go with your kitchen cabinets. Do you prefer light, airy tones or rich, moody hues? Cool undertones or warm? Gather paint swatches across a color family that appeals to you. Hold samples up to your existing countertops and floors to make sure the undertones complement each other.
Set Your Budget
Get quotes from at least three reputable painters so you can budget accordingly. Factor in the cost of the cabinet paint itself as well as supplies like primer, brushes, sandpaper, and drop cloths. Remember to account for expenses beyond just painting too, like updated hardware, new moulding, or lighting fixtures to complete the refreshed look.
How to Find Reputable Cabinet Painters
Finding professional painters with expertise specifically in cabinetry takes some vetting. Here are tips for identifying the best person for the job:
Talk with friends, neighbors or coworkers about painters they would recommend. Check online reviews on sites like Houzz, HomeAdvisor and Angi to see feedback from past clients. Reputable painters should also provide references so you can see examples of their work.
Look for painters who are licensed, bonded and insured. Ask how long they have been specializing in cabinet painting. While a novice painter could potentially do a good job, you minimize risk by hiring professionals with years of experience under their belt.
After whittling down your list, interview at least three potential painters in person and ask them plenty of questions. Are they familiar with the intricacies of working on cabinetry? Do they have photos of past kitchen cabinet painting projects? Make sure to choose someone who specializes in cabinets over a generalist.
Preparing Your Kitchen for a Cabinet Painting Project
Once you’ve settled on a painter, it’s time to prep your space. Proper preparation sets the stage for the smoothest possible painting process.
Empty Cabinets and Drawers
Completely clear out your cabinets and drawers. Remove everything from the shelves, take down doors, and detach any hardware and hinges. Set screws and pulls aside in labeled bags so you can easily reattach them later. Less clutter means it’s easier for painters to fully access every nook and cranny that needs painted.
Clean Cabinets Thoroughly
Degrease all cabinet surfaces with TSP or another degreasing solution, including the interiors and exterior frames. Address any sticky spots or glossy areas where grease has built up over time. Proper cleaning allows the new paint to adhere evenly and prevents issues like premature cracking or peeling.
Lightly sand cabinets to rough up the existing finish. This helps the primer and paint bond tightly. Fill any gouges or damaged spots with wood filler and sand smooth. Then wipe away all dust with a lint-free rag or tack cloth.
Mask and Cover Other Surfaces
Use painter’s tape and drop cloths to protect surrounding surfaces from paint splatter or drips. Tape off walls, countertops, floors, and any fixtures that shouldn’t get painted. Take down curtains and remove outlet covers. Mask off any areas the painters should avoid getting paint on.
What to Expect During the Painting Process
With prep work done, it’s time for the painter to work their magic. Here’s an overview of the painting process from start to finish:
The first step is applying a high-bond primer to the cabinets. Primer enhances adhesion and provides a smooth, consistent base for the paint. For the most flawless finish, the painter may need to apply two coats of primer, allowing proper dry time between each.
Next, the painter will apply multiple coats of the selected cabinet paint in the chosen color. Two to three coats ensures full, even coverage and excellent durability. The painter may opt to use a brush for smaller or intricate sections and then spray paint larger flat areas.
In between coats of paint, the painter should carefully cut in around edges and corners with an angled brush. This detailing ensures those areas don’t get missed. The painter may also touch up any spots they notice that need additional coverage.
Once the painter finishes applying all coats of paint, they’ll let the finish fully cure before reattaching the doors and hardware. At this point, they may make minor adjustments to hinges or drawers as needed to ensure everything operates smoothly.
The painter will clean up any paint splatters or overspray on nearby surfaces. They’ll remove drop cloths, masking and debris, leaving the space clean and ready for you to enjoy your refreshed cabinets!
After Your Cabinets Are Painted
Your kitchen facelift is complete! Follow these tips for maintaining your painted cabinets:
Curing and Drying Time
Avoid shutting doors tight or loading cabinets up immediately. Allow 1-2 weeks for the paint to fully cure and harden without risk of sticking or developing impressions. Prevent scratches during this period by being gentle with surfaces.
Enjoy Your Fresh Kitchen
Stand back and admire your transformed space! Refinished cabinets, new hardware and updated lighting take your kitchen from dreary to dazzling. After living with the new color, you can make adjustments and touch up paint if needed.
Touch Up Any Nicked Areas
Carefully inspect cabinets for any flaws in the painted finish as you load them up again. Use leftover paint to quickly fix any nicks or marks that occur. Plan to do a round of touch ups annually to maintain your kitchen’s fresh look.
FAQs About Hiring Cabinet Painters
Here are answers to some common questions about bringing in professional painters for a kitchen cabinet makeover:
How much does it cost to hire a professional cabinet painter?
Costs vary based on factors like kitchen size, paint selected, and painter rates in your area. However, expect to budget $2,000-$4,500 for a professional to paint an average sized kitchen.
Should I hire someone to spray or brush paint my cabinets?
Spraying requires less overall labor and provides a smooth, factory-like finish. But brush painting offers greater precision, especially for smaller cabinets and details. Many painters use a combination based on your needs.
What questions should I ask potential cabinet painters?
Key questions include: How long have you specialized in cabinet painting? Do you have photos of past kitchen cabinet projects? Are you insured and licensed? What paint brands do you recommend and use? How long will the project take?
How long does it take to paint kitchen cabinets?
The painting itself may only take 2-3 days. But factoring in prep work, priming, multiple coats, and drying time in between, the full start-to-finish project typically takes 5-7 days.
Should I remove my cabinet doors before painting?
Yes, removing the doors allows the painter to fully access the cabinet boxes and paint separate from hinges and hardware. It also prevents paint buildup around hinges that could impact operation.
Hiring a professional painter is the best route for ensuring your kitchen cabinets get a flawless painted finish. Their expertise allows them to conquer the unique challenges of cabinetry painting and handle any unexpected hiccups. While refinishing your cabinets takes an investment, quality materials and workmanship pay off for years to come.
Just be sure to do your homework to find an experienced, insured painter that specializes in cabinets. Prepare your kitchen properly and collaborate with your painter on a timeline. Then get ready to enjoy your beautifully revived space!