We have several projects in the works right now... usually I wait until we're finished to share pictures, but this time I thought I'd take you along with me (especially since it takes me so long to complete anything these days). I've had repainting our kitchen cabinets on my list for too long to count now... this isn't particularly a fun or exciting post, but if you've ever considered painting cabinets, I thought it might be a little helpful. This is also where I interject a disclaimer that I am not a painting expert, particularly in the cabinet department, but I thought I'd share a few things that I learned along the way.
Tip #1: Never underestimate the power of paint
This was what our kitchen looked like when we purchased our house (this was actually taken on a walk-through, but you get the idea). It was certainly not my ideal kitchen, putting it mildly. We've lived here three years now and we are still working on the kitchen, but the most dramatic change by far was painting the cabinets. It's also one of the most affordable ways to makeover your kitchen. In our case, although the cabinets were ugly, they were rock solid and in great condition... there was just no reason to replace them when all they needed was a little TLC.
Was it fun painting the cabinets? Definitely not... but I would do it again in a heartbeat. Justus and I
painted them almost two years ago exactly and we worked on them for hours one weekend.
(You can see a peek of our new flooring here... I LOVE it... but we still have the trim to tackle.)
Tip #2: Invest in good quality paint
Our cabinets, walls, ceiling and trim are all painted Simply White by Benjamin Moore. The cabinets, ceiling and trim were painted with semi-gloss, but I used eggshell on the walls. I used latex paint because I was pregnant when we painted them the first time... I suspicion that oil-based would probably have better results, but I've never tried it, so I can't say for sure.
Yes, Benjamin Moore paint is expensive, but it is so worth it! I usually compromise a bit and purchase the Super Spec, which is a little cheaper.
The first time we painted the cabinets, I removed all the doors, and sanded all surfaces lightly before applying one coat of primer and then three coats of the Simply White.
Tip #3: Buy a cabinet paint roller
Our local paint store advised me to spend the $6 on this little cabinet roller. Oh my goodness, that was the best $6 I may have ever spent... every time I go to the paint store, I just want to hug the man in gratitude. Unless you really want the brush strokes on your cabinets, this is your go-to item... it is quick, easy and accurate when applying the paint. I just about was able to paint everything with this roller... there were only a couple places that I had to use a brush. I personally love the smooth finish it leaves, and I've also used it many times since for painting doors.
Tip #4: Go light on the paint
I don't know about you, but sometimes I tend to want to use a lot of paint because I think that it might mean I don't have to paint so many coats. Usually that is not the case and then I have to deal with drips. Especially painting cabinets, go easy on the paint... it might mean you have to apply one more coat, but my experience with this roller is that if you apply light coats, it dries quickly and leaves a wonderful, even finish.
Tip #5: Repainting
Well, two years passed since we painted our cabinets... two years of cooking, opening and closing cabinet doors too many times to count, spills, you name it. It was time to repaint the cabinets... they were showing their wear. I would have to say that although they were badly in need of repainting, I was surprised they had lasted as long as they did. This time around all I did was remove the pulls... I left the hinges on. I repainted every surface, but my main focus was on the doors. I went with two coats... the above picture shows only one coat, which really was sufficient for most areas, but there were some spots that I felt needed two.
I spent three days on this project this week but only about 2 1/2 hours total... I put one coat of paint on every evening after the girls were put to bed and then allowed the paint to cure the following day. I have put off this project for so long, but it really was effortless... I wish I would have done it a long time ago. Now I know that repainting the cabinets is really a simple task.
Tip #6: Save time by not rinsing
This was a tip I learned only last year and I will forever be thankful to Linda with It All Started With Paint for sharing this on her blog... I wish I would have known about it all the years I painted and had to rinse my brush and tray every. single. time I had to take a break. Maybe I'm the only one who doesn't know this... but just in case you were like me, you can put your brush in a ziploc bag and it will prevent the paint from drying... just take it out the next day and you're good to go. In this case, since I was using a tray and roller, I just stuck everything in a garbage bag and closed it up tight. Never once did the paint dry up and then it was a simple task of getting it out the next evening to apply another coat of paint. Obviously, I wouldn't go too long without rinsing, but in this case, I didn't rinse until the third day.
Tip #7: If you use a roller, do not try to touch up with a brush later on
This was a lesson I learned the hard way. Several months ago there were a few spots that were driving me crazy so I just took a brush with a dab of paint and painted the spot. I can't explain what happened, but over the months since, the spots where I used a brush turned dingy, the paint looked crackled and it also looked dirty. Not good! You can see a few of the spots in the above picture next to the hardware (as usual, I forgot to take a "before" picture so I found this one from a couple months ago and zoomed in). Lesson learned - from now on I'll get out my trusty roller.
Tip #8: Remember that you can fix any mistakes
Although we had a few spots in this area that were looking really bad, when I put the hardware back on, I let out a huge sigh of relief. It's nice to remember with painting that you can always fix it...
Using a Sealer
This time around, I used a top coat sealer. Rust-Oleum sent this to me after our New York trip... this is part of their cabinet transformations package. I applied a very light coat of it... the next morning I could see a faint shine and it feels slightly different to the touch, like the paint is harder. It feels like it left a good cure and I'm hoping it will be a good barrier of protection against minor chips, stains, etc. I'll let you know in a year or so!
I can't tell you how relieved I am to have this task completed... our cabinets looks clean and crisp again and I'm ready to move on to the next step... in the next few weeks I'll be painting trim once Justus puts it up, refinishing our sink and installing a new faucet.
Oh, what a long post... I hope it might be helpful to at least one of you. If you have any questions or any advice, feel free to leave a comment!
Have a great weekend! I'll be outside planting my garden today... (smile)