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How to paint kitchen cabinets like a pro


21 Nov 2017

Posted in:  First Time Buyer

If your kitchen has more dark, dreary wood surfaces than an Amazonian rainforest, one simple light-giving solution is to paint your cabinets. Painted kitchen cabinets are completely Instagram-worthy right now, and it’s an easy way to freshen up your kitchen design without spending a fortune.

Paint can brighten the room up, reinvent your cabinets and give your home a modern look that’s bang on trend.

You might be intimidated at the thought of painting your cabinets but it doesn’t have to be the DIY equivalent of recreating the Sistine Chapel.

We’ve drawn up a detailed list of tips to show you what you need to know.

Give yourself enough time

Don’t go into a job like this thinking that it will take a few hours. Between preparation, painting and waiting for the paint to dry properly, it could be days before you can show off your newly-painted cabinets. Set aside plenty of time to avoid putting yourself under pressure.

Remove the doors before painting

There’s going to be a voice in your head that says it’s just as handy to paint the cabinets without taking the doors off. Don’t listen to this voice! Take the doors off, lift out the drawers and remove all hinges and knobs.

This makes it easier to clean and prepare the surfaces. Taking shortcuts could cost you in the long run. Painting over the hinges might seem harmless but the paint will start chipping and showing signs of wear in no time. God forbid!

Remember where everything goes

Your doors or drawers may all look the same but there are subtle differences that will leave you with wonky cabinets if you don’t put them back in the same place.

Make sure that you label the doors, drawers, hinges and knobs so you know where everything goes. Otherwise, reassembling them could turn into a bit of a nightmare.

Clean your surfaces

Kitchen cabinets can absorb a certain amount of grease, regardless of how clean your kitchen is. It’s bound to happen when you do a lot of cooking in a room. This makes it vital that you clean all the surfaces with a grease remover, easily available at DIY and hardware shops.

This degreaser will lift the dirt that could stop your paint from being absorbed into the wood.

Sand and tape

Once your surfaces are cleaned, you can use filler to fill in any cracks, seams or dents. The next step is to sand them down with fine paper to give a key that will help the paint stick.

Make sure that you sand enough to ensure that the surface is matte. Once doors and surfaces are sanded, wipe with a damp cloth to remove any dust or residue – this helps to avoid a gritty or grainy finish.

It’s also important to use tape to cover counter tops and walls around the area you’re painting. This may be a bit of hassle but it will save you time and retain that professional finish.

Pick the right paint

Painting cabinets is a time- and labour-intensive process and one you’re not going to do on a regular basis. So it’s important to pick the right colour – that way you won’t regret your decision!

It also pays to get the right paint so make sure that you get a good quality product that’s suitable for your purpose.

For example, chalk paint is a fast, quick choice for re-purposing cabinets, especially if you’re after a shabby chic finish, but you may find it wears off on edges quickly and it isn’t easy to keep clean. Gloss or eggshell finishes are harder to apply and take longer to dry, but are far harder-wearing over time. Do some research before starting and ask your paint supplier for some expert advice before you make a final decision on the finish you go with.

Apply the paint

Set up a workstation where you can paint the doors and drawers. If you don’t have a dedicated drying rack, you can create a makeshift alternative by using old pieces of wood to balance your doors and drawers on.

The number of coats you’ll need will depend largely on the wood you’re painting and the type of paint you’re using. It can just be a case of applying coats until you get the finish you want. Always use thin, light coats of paint to avoid leaving brushstrokes and drips.

Apply plenty of paint to crevices but don’t overdo it – you don’t want paint oozing out either!

You can also use a mini roller while the paint is still wet to get a smoother finish. Another tip is to avoid cheap brushes as they can shed or have uneven heads and ultimately be more hassle than they’re worth.

Have patience

Your workstation should be somewhere that you can leave your doors and drawers while they’re drying. This can take longer than you might anticipate, so be prepared to leave them for as long as it takes.

Rushing to put cupboard doors back into place will only cause fingerprints, smears or smudges that will undo all your good work, and you’ll have to let them dry, sand them down and start again. So always be patient and give the paint time to dry and cure.

As your mammy always said: all in good time!

Are you thinking of buying your own home?

Painting your kitchen cabinets may take a bit of effort but it couldn’t be easier to call into your local EBS office and see if you’re eligible for a mortgage.

Get the ball rolling with our First Time Buyer guide.

Find out how much you can afford to borrow with our mortgage calculator or book a mortgage meeting to suit you with one of our Mortgage Masters.

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The content of this blog is expressed in broad terms and is limited to general information purposes only. Readers should always seek professional advice to address issues arising in specific contexts and not seek to rely on the information in this blog which does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by EBS d.a.c.

EBS d.a.c neither accepts nor assumes any responsibility in relation to the contents of this blog and excludes all warranties, undertakings and representations (either express or implied) to the fullest extent permitted under applicable law.

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