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Talk to me about painting cabinets


Storygirl
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We've decided to paint our bathroom cabinets a blue/gray color. Right now, they are a stained oak. I know some boardies have painted cabinetry before, so I'm hoping for some tips. We do have plenty of experience painting walls, woodwork, bookshelves, and paneling, so we think we can do this ourselves.

I think we need to strip it first? And sand? Are there certain types of paint that work better for this? We have traditionally used Sherwin Williams. I will also research online, but it's nice to be able to get some firsthand advice.

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The other thing to be aware of is that oak is heavily textured, and you'll be able to tell that they are old oak cabinets painted if you don't use some sort of grain filler first.  I need to paint mine which is why I've been looking into it. I think bondo or water putty are the two things most often recommended from what I've seen.  They're both cheap and sand easily. Of course if you fill the grain it will be more difficult to strip & restore to wood later if you want.

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Are you on Facebook? There is an amazing group there - Cabinet Painting & Refinishing DIY and Pro. 
 

You do not have to strip but you do need to sand. It needs two coats of primer and three of the paint. USE their recommendations!!! They have it down to an art form. I did mine. It was crazy intense. I’m sorry I did it because while my cabinets were a bit outdated (warm oak) they were high end and in fantastic condition. I love wood. I do not love paint. But do they look nice? Yes - we did two tone, White Dove on top and Urbane Bronze on bottom. They’re pretty and holding up better than expected for a crazy lady with eight kids still at home. 

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I'm not on Facebook, unfortunately.

We have a lot of oak in this house that we won't be painting over, but the master bath desperately needs an update, and we decided to paint to refresh it, instead of doing a full remodel. We already spent $$$$ remodeling our kitchen, and there is a limit to how much money we are willing to pour into this house. This house is a traditional colonial, and the doors and cabinets (except the kitchen) are oak but all of the trim is white, so the wood tones keep the traditional look, but the white makes it seem more updated. I like the combination, overall, but the master bath definitely looks stuck in the 90s. We don't want the main bath to be the thing in the house that looks the least updated, so we need to do something. We would not ever strip it back to a wood look again, but who knows about future owners; they can figure that out.

I did look a little into having it done professionally, but most of the cabinet painters I found online want bigger jobs (kitchens). This is just two cabinets and a stack of drawers, so I think we can handle it, if we prepare well.

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Definitely sand first. No need to strip, just make sure you get all the "shiny" finish off with the sander.

Paint crevices with a small brush, then use a mini foam roller to paint the whole thing. Do both steps in one go as the mini roller is handy to smooth out brushstrokes.

Finish is much smoother with the mini foam roller. Definitely use primer plus two coats, and stay open to the possibility of a third coat if need be.

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We painted our kitchen cabinets a few years ago. It was a lot of work but not impossible. We followed the instructions from the Young House Love blog. 

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Proper prep work and using good paint is essential. We used Benjamin Moore Advance. 

ETA that we used a grain filler and I think it definitely helped with appearance. 

An easier alternative is to use gel stain. We used gel stain on our bathroom cabinets but eventually re-did the bathrooms and replaced the cabinets. Gel stain is easier than painting but it's messier. You also don't have much choice in colors. I used the Java which is black. When I researched this online a 6 or so years ago, the consensus was that Java was the best color. 

Edited by Ordinary Shoes
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We just got through painting our cabinets. We did not strip. We used some kind of deglosser. Then we put primer and a couple of coats of paint. We are very, very happy with it and it seems to be really durable.

The deglosser is there on the oak cabinets I think.

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IMG_1512.jpeg

Edited by TexasProud
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9 minutes ago, BeachGal said:

@TexasProud Beautiful! I love the color, too. Some questions...

What primer did you use? Two light coats? No sanding?

Now that you have books there, are you noticing any sticky feeling or do books slide in and out easily?

After the deglosser, the wood felt dull.  Then we put one coat of the primer below. We had it tinted to be close to the color. Then 2 coats of the paint.   It isn’t sticky at all. Can’t scratch it easily. I think it is going to hold up really well.  And no sanding. 

39612D7E-2E52-49FB-8704-0527C800E5F0.jpeg

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9 hours ago, PeterPan said:

Have you seen the solid wood drop in cabs at IKEA? Something like https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/hemnes-sink-cabinet-with-2-drawers-gray-60348795/  Might be the inbetween option (custom remodel  vs. repainting).

Thanks for the idea, but we won't change the cabinets. It's an "if you give a mouse a cookie" situation, where if you change one thing, it requires ripping out everything, due to the layout and design. We've gone around and around for years about what to do, and finally we've decided to change things up with paint and a few other things to spruce it up.

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I have done cabinets a few times but never white! I have done black and navy blue. They turned out great. 

I sanded, de glossed, sanded again, primed with a tinted primer, painted 2 -3 coats and then topped with a poly. Then left them alone for a week. 

I also spray painted the hardware so it looked better and/or replaced it. Made a huge difference. 

It is not difficult at all; it just takes time, space, and patience, but your job seems small so you can handle it! Go for it! The worst that an happen is the you need to repaint them - not a biggie

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4 hours ago, TexasProud said:

We just got through painting our cabinets. We did not strip. We used some kind of deglosser. Then we put primer and a couple of coats of paint. We are very, very happy with it and it seems to be really durable.

The deglosser is there on the oak cabinets I think.

64497943418__4686C1FA-BD8E-4E3F-ADA1-54DC1E4A49AD.jpeg

IMG_1512.jpeg

That looks AMAZING!!! Super love. Seriously. And you updated the hardware? Super beautiful. 

What is the shade of blue?

Edited by PeterPan
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1 minute ago, PeterPan said:

That looks AMAZING!!! Super love. Seriously. And you updated the hardware? Super beautiful. 

Yes, I love the hardware, too!! Thank you.  My husband did an awesome job.  He did a great job with the kids’ bathroom as well. 

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Just now, TexasProud said:

Yes, I love the hardware, too!! Thank you.  My husband did an awesome job.  He did a great job with the kids’ bathroom as well. 

Do you have the paint color on the blue? It's a SW color?

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Just a caution.  We bought most of our paint several months ago.  We had to get another gallon and oh my goodness.  Cost my first born. And availability is slim.  Here at least SW did a contract with Lowes I think, and they have been getting the paint before the local stores. Our store has been out of a lot of their paint.  SO…. depending on how large the project is( not OP, but others reading), you may want to wait. 

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