As exciting as it can be to plan a kitchen renovation, completing the work correctly can be a long and arduous process. Even seemingly minor projects like painting your cabinets can take hours of pain-staking, careful labor, and if you miss a vital step, you may need to start all over again. In order to spare yourself that frustration, follow these five tips when prepping your cabinets, or consider bringing in a painting contractor to have your cabinets magazine-ready within just a few days.
Labeling Parts and Locations
Before you begin painting, your cabinets must be completely removed from the walls and disassembled. Although you may be tempted to simply take the cabinets apart and heap everything into a pile, you should not underestimate the complexity of cabinets and how difficult it can be to place everything back where it is supposed to be. Outline and label the former position of the cabinets with masking tape on the walls of your kitchen, and carefully separate the hinges and screws of each cabinet to make reassembly less of a headache.
Cleaning with a Degreaser
If you cook regularly in your kitchen, your cabinets will in all likelihood have acquired a thin layer of grease, dust and other particles kicked into the air while you work. Wipe your cabinets down with a degreasing agent before and after you sand them down. Any lingering grease may impact the paint's ability to take hold in the wood, so skip this step at your own risk.
In some cases, a liquid sander and deglosser can be enough for you to avoid sanding your cabinets altogether. Even if you still plan to sand them down, the liquid strips cabinets of their finish and can save you time and elbow grease. After the initial application, you may notice a light film over the wood. This can be removed by wiping the cabinets down again before you continue.
Sanding and priming are two steps in the painting process that many DIY homeowners skimp over, because it tends to be both difficult and boring, and the surfaces will be disguised by paint anyways. Painting over a leftover finish, however, will lead to patchy paint that may begin peeling in just a few short months or years. Take your time to strip the cabinets thoroughly if you expect a professional final product.
Filling in Chips and Scratches
Once the cabinets are sanded down, you can take the opportunity to fill in any old chips or blemishes. For small chips or scratches, clear nail polish can be used to fill in the hole subtly. Larger blemishes will require putty that matches the wood's color as closely as possible. After the polish or putty has dried, sand everything again so that it all sits flush. If all of this sounds like too much effort with too many potential complications, you may be better off hiring a painting contractor to handle your cabinet renovations with professional expertise.