Renovations can be expensive but eventually our homes will need updating. It’s also unfortunate that the rooms that give the best return – kitchens and bathrooms – are also the biggest hit to the budget. There are ways, however, that you can still refresh your home and not break the bank.
While I love getting inspired by all those make over shows on TV, they often lull us into thinking a major renovation takes just as long as cooking Sunday dinner. In reality, while painting kitchen cabinets is one of the easiest and most economical ways to give your space a new look, it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into so here are a few tips I have collected over the years.
Preparation is the most important part of any DIY project so before you start cracking open those paint cans remember to thoroughly wash the cabinets (a couple of times to be on the safe side). Years of cooking, greasy hands, and a build up of cleaning products can all cause the paint to separate from your surface giving an uneven cracked finish. Invest in a professional strength degreaser formulated to remove all those contaminants and wash wash wash.
Right after you wash wash wash sand sand sand. This is the part where most people get overwhelmed. Sanding is a lot of work but it’s time well spent. Sanding with a medium grit sandpaper (180-220 grit) adds micro scratches to your surface. Paint fills in those scratches giving your new finish a tight bond that will stand up to future maintenance. Skip those tempting chemical de-glossers. They chemically matte the shine and can often leave behind a residue that may react with your paint.
After sanding, wipe your surface with a damp cloth to get rid of any sanding dust. Only then can you start thinking about reaching for the paint brush.
If your kitchen is large, consider working in small manageable sections. Remove any hardware then take off a few doors/drawers at a time so you can still function. TIP: Over time cabinets settle and warp – especially if they’re wood. Remember that the hinges from one set of doors may not fit on another set properly. To avoid a huge headache down the road put all hardware from each cabinet/drawer together in individual bags/boxes. Use a bit of tape to number your pieces so you know how to put the puzzle back together.
As far as paint products, there are a lot of options so make sure you ask the salesperson at your favourite shop which one will work the best for you and your family. Just remember that a primer is always a good idea – even if the paint you’ll be using is “self-priming.” A primer will not only help the paint to stick better and last longer, it will also protect the wood from damage over time. If you have a hard to paint surface like formica, laminate, etc make sure to use a bonding primer so your paint doesn’t peel off.
After the job is done, remember to be gentle with your freshly painted kitchen until it “cures.” Paint will dry relatively quickly (oil paints will take longer to dry) but that doesn’t mean it has reached its full hardness. Read the back of the can for cure times or ask your sales person. Most paints have a 28 day cure. After that time, you can resume your regular cleaning routine.
While painting the cabinets is certainly a project most of us can handle, remember to take your time (and ask for help if you get stuck). It might take longer that those tv shows would like us to believe but with a little patience, common sense and good old fashioned elbow grease the transformation can be amazing!
Need some inspiration to get you excited? Here are some of my favourite Houzz kitchens. Click on the image for more. Happy painting!