Let me just start out by saying I hate Oak cabinets. I’m sorry if I offend some of you with that statement, but they just aren’t my style. And, frankly, in the words of the latest and not-so-greatest Bachelor, Juan Pablo, “Eees Okay!”
I knew immediately when we stepped foot into the house, before we even bought it, that we would be refinishing the kitchen cabinets. Don’t get me wrong, they were BEAUTIFUL wooden cabinets, but their yellowish luster really dated the house even though it was only 8 years old!
I had done my research on painting kitchen cabinets, re-staining kitchen cabinets, gel-staining kitchen cabinets – you name it, I researched it. I was prepared for the worst with this project. I knew we could do it, but every post I read said it took 3-7 weeks for them to complete their kitchen cabinets. I wasn’t too excited about the house being a wreck for that long. We dove into a few other projects before we built up the courage. A little landscaping here, a little DIY Pottery Barn bed building there, anything to put it off… but I broke down. My corneas now had 3rd degree burns from the fiery yellow hue of our oak cabinets. It was time.
I started by calling my crafty brothers. I have 3 brothers, but only 2 are really worth anything. HA! Totally kidding. But really, only 2 are crafty. They told me their techniques and the products they used which gave me a great starting point. After deciding, on a whim, that we would start our painted kitchen cabinets project on a Sunday afternoon, we headed to Lowe’s to grab our supplies.
Supplies For Painted Kitchen Cabinets
Here’s what we used:
• Power drill
• Krud Kutter Original (cleaner/degreaser)
• An old rag
• 1 3in Purdy Paint Brush
• WHIZZ 4-in Cabinet/Door Foam Roller
• WHIZZ 10-Pack 4-in Cabinet and Door Foam Contractor Roller Covers
• 1 gal Zinsser Cover Stain Primer
• Mineral Spirits
• 1 gal of Valspar Kitchen & Bath latex paint
• 1 gal Minwax Satin Water Based Polyurethane (be sure it says non-yellowing!)
Painting our Kitchen Cabinets
Kurt kicked off the process by removing all the hardware and cabinet doors with a power drill.
We brought the doors under our carport and sprayed with Original Krud Kutter (Cleaner/Degreaser) – If you haven’t used this stuff before, you need to. We let it sit for a minute or so and wiped clean with a fresh cloth, being sure not to spread the built up grease around. It needs to be removed – not smeared. Unfortunately at this point the weather took a turn for the worse. Since our carport is open, we hurried and moved everything inside of the house which is where the rest of the process took place. Yes. Our house was a complete disaster and we had a hard time maneuvering around cabinet doors, but I like to think this made us work quicker.
Once everything was set up, we started priming the cabinet doors with Zinsser Cover Stain Primer. THAT’S RIGHT – no sanding before hand. No sanding was a necessity for us due to the ample cabinet space our tiny house has. I used a good quality Purdy paint brush to apply primer into the grooves and Kurt came behind me and foam rolled primer on the flats. We make a good team. After priming the cabinet doors we called it a night.
The next night we got home from work and decided to prime the cabinets themselves. I primed the molding and harder to reach spots with the brush while Kurt rolled the flat parts. The painting goes pretty quickly. It’s the waiting for the paint or primer to dry that takes so long. Allowing your paint/primer to dry the proper amount of time before adding another coat will ensure you have a durable finish.
It already looked better with the primer on! (We chose to not make this a month long project by not painting the inside of the cabinets).
The next night we got home and began painting the cabinets and their doors. EEEEEEK – Light gray it was and I was beyond ecstatic. After purchasing a gallon of Valspar’s Urban Sunrise Kitchen and Bath from Lowe’s, we used the same tag-team approach to tackle the painting. Apply thin coats when you are painting cabinetry or any furniture for that matter. If paint/primer is applied too thick it will gunk up in the crevices and look sloppy. You can always sand a coat of paint that is too thick, but since we weren’t sanding we applied thin. The paint we bought was paint + primer, so even with a thin coat, it covered well.
After 1 coat of paint, 2 coats of primer, and 1 coat of polyurethane our kitchen cabinets are transformed! And the best part? It only took us 1 week! By applying 1 coat at a time after work, each coat had enough dry time to apply the next coat the next night.
I have to say, I love my kitchen so much more now ESPECIALLY since it didn’t cost an arm and a leg. There are still things I’d like to do (add a backsplash… maybe try to do a few glass front cabinet doors) but I’m thrilled at the moment. I bought new drawer cup pulls off amazon for less than $2.50 a piece, which is a very good price! Cup pulls at Lowe’s and Home Depot were going for close to $4.00 a piece. That adds up! The new hardware matches our cabinet knobs perfectly.
Our Painted Kitchen Cabinets – The Finished Product