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Kitchen Cabinet Preparation

Painting kitchen cabinets seems so easy, right? All you do is buy some big box store primer and paint in one, brush on a quick coat or two, and you’ve got a perfect finish! Oh, so wrong. Unfortunately, we have seen this so many times where a homeowner gets inspired by watching Fixer Upper and tackles their cabinets on their own. Without the proper preparation, and without using the correct primer and finish paint, a DIY job will begin to fail almost immediately. Every time they are touched, opened, slammed shut, and cleaned – there is an opportunity for something to go wrong. We believe that the kitchen is the heart of your home, so it only makes sense to buy the best for your cabinets. A proper and beautiful finish that you can enjoy for years.

When you are painting kitchen cabinets, the foundation is very important. Here are the preparation steps we follow when cabinet painting:
  • Remove all hardware
  • Label all doors and drawers
  • Remove all doors and drawers
  • Buff sand all surfaces with 150 grit sandpaper
  • Wipe all surfaces with a de-greasing agent
  • Apply one coat of bonding primer
  • Buff sand in-between coats using 220 grit

We always sand our cabinets with 150 grit sandpaper to break down the hard finish that is currently protecting the cabinets. Using a de-greasing agent helps to clean off any oil residue that might have splattered on the cabinets – this is especially important for the cabinets around the oven and microwave. When the cabinets are sanded and de-greased, we like to use Seal Grip Universal Primer as a solid base coat. TWO coats of primer are best. You will know if you have done a good job of de-greasing if no blotchy yellow or gray color peeks through your primer coat – this is evidence of oil that remained on the surface.

Time to Paint!

The next step is to paint the cabinets with a good interior trim product. We like to use C2 Cabinet and Trim, though we have a variety of products we use, depending on specific needs.

C2 Cabinet and Trim, “features patented Polywhey® technology — a safe, easy-to-use finish using recycled dairy whey protein. This innovative formula blends the elegance of an Old World traditional oil-based paint with the benefits of modern-day, low-VOC technology. The result is a smooth, porcelain-hard finish.” When we are painting cabinets, we use a gravity flow cup gun called a SATAjet X 5500 RP specifically designed for automobile refinishing. It is the perfect tool for an unbelievably fine finish. This tool is not for beginners, but once you know what you are doing, it produces fantastic results. Spraying all the doors and drawer fronts allows us to get as close to a factory finish look as possible on the surfaces that are seen the most. 

Though it is possible to also achieve a spray finish on frames and bases, our usual approach is to hand brush and roll the remaining boxes. It is good to note that two to three light coats bring the best results. The heavier it is applied, the messier it will look.

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