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Upgrading your kitchen cabinets alone can transform the appearance of your kitchen. Your cabinets likely take up a lot of space on your walls, so giving them a fresh new coat of paint or sanding and smoothing out imperfections will go a long way. There are many myths about refinishing kitchen cabinets that homeowners believe. Here are the most common confusions about kitchen cabinet refinishing and the reality about them! 


Myth #1: I can paint my cabinets with whatever paint I have laying around the garage.  

Not correct! Many people have made this mistake of using some trim paint they found in their garage. This will not give you the desired look. After proper preparation to the surface, use a high-quality bonding primer to ensure long lasting results.  Talk to your local paint store to recommend a high-quality enamel to use as a finish coat.  Remember that lots of wear and tear will be scratching cabinet surfaces for years to come.  Most regular wall paints or even latex acrylic trim paints will not hold up to the wear-and-tear of cabinet usage. 

Myth #2: With a good quality enamel I don’t have to prep the surface before painting cabinets.  

Sorry, incorrect again. Like any good paint job, prep is key over finish coats. To the professional, the primer is the most important layer when painting hard surfaces like cabinetry and doors. First, you must sand through the clear shiny protective layer found on just about all cabinetry. You don’t have to take the stain off, or get down to bare wood, but you must de-gloss and remove all shiny varnish or polyurethane before priming. Secondly, apply a quality adhesion primer.  One coat of primer should be adequate. 

Myth #3: I can tackle painting cabinets in one day.  

Well, maybe if you have a team of friends plus free food, and a lot of energy.  It’s more likely you will need 2-3 weekends to tackle an entire kitchen. We recommend removing all hardware and hinges, and even labeling the doors in numerical order for quick re-install. You will also want to ensure you have enough space to work. Most people end up having cabinet doors spread out over the whole garage in various stages of drying.  

The sanding can take an entire day. Be sure to put down plastic or drop-cloths to catch the dust. 

The primer layer isn’t too bad. Be sure you purchase a good quality mohair or very fine roller cover for extremely low stipple affect on the surfaces of your door. Most paint stores have a product they recommend for smooth finishes like doors and cabinets. When using a brush, watch for heavy lines or drips before it dries. 

Most of the problem with timing is waiting on coats to dry properly before adding another coat. It may feel dry after 1 hour, but don’t be fooled. If the primer is not properly cured, it will cause adhesion issues in 2-3 months and you will be unhappy with your work. Read the labels on the can of primers and enamels you are using for proper curing times between coats. 

After primer, you will likely need to apply at least two coats of final enamel in your desired color to achieve a uniform and finished look. 

Myth #4: Hiring a professional to paint cabinets is too expensive.  

Cost is a major reason homeowners choose to tackle even difficult projects like this on their own.  Only you can decide if the cost of a professional is outweighed by the time savings and peace of mind it will bring knowing that the job was completed by pros that know the system inside and out. Hiring a professional is a viable, smart option for many people. In addition to providing technical expertise to ensure your kitchen cabinet paint job is performed properly, our professional team at Cook Homes Quality Custom Finishes can offer expert design advice to help you make an informed decision. 

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