Posted on: 10.07.2022 Posted by: Редакция Comments: 0

Improvements to your kitchen can greatly increase the value of your home. Installing new cabinets can significantly enhance the appearance of your kitchen and save you a lot of money if you have the patience and know-how to do the work yourself. Even if you are an experienced “do-it-yourselfer,” you may still have questions about what to do first when installing cabinets.

You should paint cabinets before installation, as it can be difficult to reach them and thoroughly coat them while they are mounted. Painting them beforehand ensures a more precise and even paint job and can also prevent drips and splatters on your walls, floors, and countertops.

In this article, I will explain why you should paint your cabinets first, how to prepare them for an even paint job, and what you can do afterwards to further customize your cabinets.

Why should you paint cabinets before installation?

You should paint your cabinets before installing them as it makes the job much easier. You won’t have to worry about masking off your kitchen and can access the cabinets from multiple angles.

Wall-mounted cabinets restrict your reach and require you to stretch and climb more to successfully coat the entire surface.

Painting your cabinets in a garage or outdoors means you don’t have to worry about protecting your countertops, walls, and backsplash from paint splatters. This is especially true if you plan on using a paint sprayer.

How long does it take to paint cabinets? Painting cabinets can be a time-consuming task. However, it’s important to take your time and make sure you follow the right steps, otherwise you may not be satisfied with the results.

Of course, many variables need to be considered, such as how many cabinets you need to paint and how long you can work on them at a time, but in general, painting cabinets should take 3-5 days.

How should you prepare to paint your cabinets?

Before breaking out your brush, there is some preparation work that needs to be done to paint your cabinets. After gathering the right safety equipment and finding a well-ventilated workspace, follow these steps to prepare for painting cabinets:

  1. Remove doors and hardware. If your cabinets are already assembled, you should first remove any knobs, hinges, and handles from the cabinets. You may also want to number the doors and drawers so you can put them back in the same places. Otherwise, they may not be perfectly aligned.
  2. Sand surfaces. Next, you’ll want to sand your cabinets if they have any finish on them. If the cabinets are raw wood without any coating or finish, they may still need a light sanding to help the paint adhere. Often, your cabinets will have a factory finish. I recommend using 120-grit 3M sandpaper because it’s easy to grip and has the right grit for the job.
  3. Clean thoroughly. Use a damp cloth or some gentle wipes to clean the cabinets inside and out. Look for any grease left behind from the hardware, as well as dust or dirt. Once the cabinets are dry, wipe them down with a tack cloth like the Trimaco 10506 SuperTuff Tack Cloth to remove fine dust particles from sanding that you don’t want trapped under the paint.
  4. Prime. If your cabinets are laminate, you’ll need to use a special primer, like Kilz Adhesion High-Bonding Primer. Check the drying time on the label, but a good rule of thumb is at least 24 hours, especially if you live in a humid and moist location.
  5. Buff. Use 220-grit sandpaper (or a sanding sponge – I like the 3M SandBlaster 9565 because it gets into all the nooks and crannies) to lightly buff the doors and exterior surfaces. Note: Make sure to wipe down the cabinets again with your tack cloth before proceeding with painting.

How do you know which colors to use?

Make sure to choose high-quality paints for your cabinets. Remember that people often touch the doors with dirty hands that have oil and dirt from cooking or eating. Your cabinets are also the most visible element in your kitchen, so you want to get it right.

Oil-based paints look great but are messy – Many professionals opt for oil-based paints because they dry faster than latex paints. Oil-based topcoats may provide a more durable finish that prevents accidental damage, and some experts agree that you get a nicer, smoother finish. However, oil-based paints are much less forgiving than latex, and cleanup is a much more involved process.

Latex paints are easier to apply and more durable – The quality of latex paints is very good these days. In nine out of ten cases, you’ll use latex paint when doing a DIY project. It’s much more user-friendly than oil-based paint, and the 100% acrylic formula is more durable and adheres better than vinyl latex paint.

If you don’t have much painting experience, 100% acrylic latex paint is the best choice.

Should you paint with a spray gun, brush, or roller?

With the various paints to choose from, there are also multiple application tools to consider for the easiest and most precise paint job.

When painting cabinets, you should opt for a paint sprayer as it leaves no streaks or sharp lines but still delivers an even finish that looks great. Brushes and rollers can sometimes leave textures in the final product, which can make your paint job look less appealing.

Paint sprayers provide the best coverage – This Flowood paint sprayer, available on, is easy to use and perfect for beginners. You can spray from any angle, and it will give your cabinets a smooth, even finish.

A paint sprayer is the choice of professionals as it leaves no brush or roller marks and provides you with consistent coverage.

Watch this video from Lowes on how to paint cabinets with a spray gun:

Brushes and rollers are great for precision – If you’re unfamiliar with a spray gun, you can paint your cabinets with brushes and rollers. You’ll need both flat and angled brushes to reach into all the corners. The Wooster Shortcut has a short handle, so you can get into the back corners without accidentally bumping into your wet paint.

For the larger, flat areas of your cabinets, a small roller is best. It will help you avoid the streaks that a brush can leave behind. Not to mention, it will make the job much faster.

Should you paint the inside of your cabinets?

There is no absolute right or wrong answer to this question, but based on feedback from professionals and DIYers, you don’t need to paint the inside of your cabinets.

Almost finished cabinets are made of wood inside, regardless of the color on the outside. So even if you paint the outside a different color, it will still look good if you leave the inside as it is.

The only exception might be if you plan on removing some of the doors or replacing them with glass, then you might want a more cohesive look. But even in that case, it’s not necessary to paint the inside of the cabinets.

My official recommendation is, therefore: save yourself the trouble and skip this step. Focus on the outside where people will actually see the end result.

When can you install your cabinets after painting?

After you have painted your cabinets with two coats, make sure to give the paint enough time to fully dry and cure before installing them. Follow the instructions on the label of your paint, but usually, 48 hours is a reasonable timeframe to be on the safe side.

Reattach your hardware, hinges, and handles (this is where those numbered labels come in handy). Be careful when screwing them back in to avoid accidentally splitting the wood.

Do a final check for any cosmetic flaws, missed spots, or damages. Now, you’re ready for installation!

What other cabinet adjustments can you make?

While you’re painting and installing your new cabinets, you can make some other simple changes to further upgrade the look of your kitchen. Here are some easy and budget-friendly ways to add new details:

  • New handles: A really simple way to personalize the look of your cabinets is to replace the handles. The AmazonBasics Twisted Cabinet Handle comes in 4 different finishes and is sold in a pack of 10.
  • Fun knobs: For a bit more fun and quirkiness, consider using some knobs instead of handles. There are countless options and designs, such as the Vintage Soda Cap Wood Cabinet Knobs from Reading in Rags.
  • Create organization: Since you already emptied your cabinets for painting and new installation, it’s a great time to reorganize your kitchen. For the inside of your cabinets, the Lynk Pull Out Shelf is perfect for maximizing space and providing easy access. A countertop organizer like the Ollieroo Countertop Organizer will help keep things tidy and organized in your space.

Final thoughts

DIY projects can be fun, rewarding, and a great way to make improvements to your home without breaking the bank. Replacing or painting your kitchen cabinets is the perfect way to give your home a significant update.

It is recommended to paint your cabinets before installing them as it allows you to give the cabinets a more thorough paint job and prevents paint from splattering on the surfaces of your kitchen.

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