Wednesday, January 13, 2016

How I Repainted My Kitchen Cabinets

We bought our little South Philly house in May of 2014. I can't believe we are quickly approaching 2 years as homeowners! I was sold as soon as I saw the old wood floors, beadboard walls, large third floor master suite, and fairly large kitchen (for a row-home). The downsides? The kitchen was mostly builder-grade and the bathrooms got a shotty re-do in the mid-90s. You can only imagine...

As newlyweds (ish...ok it's been 3 years..) with a mortgage, there is little room in the budget for a complete kitchen renovation at this time. Don't tell my husband, but when that day does come, I have it completely planned out in my head (see my Pinterest board entitled "Kitchens")

This photo was from our first day in the house. Don't you love the tile and orange walls!? Doesn't get better! First thing I did? Take a hammer to that backsplash and got rid of it fast! Second only to covering that orange wall with white! Oh and hidden from this picture was the red dome light hanging above the island. Switched that out REAL fast with a sphere pendant light from One Kings Lane!

Anyways, I know a lot of people might be in a similar situation as I was, as kitchens are usually the main thing requiring updates in older homes. I actually did this painting project in March of 2015 (about a year ago), but wanted to share with you the steps.

This second picture was taken right before Project Cabinet Repaint. Note the white walls, white backsplash, new lighting and some other decor! (Even the d├ęcor has since been upgraded. This was taken about a year ago today!) Let me explain how I started...

Step 1: Gather your supplies

My first stop was to Lowe's Home Improvement! I spent $55 for plastic dropcloth, 2 nice paintbrushes, 1 gallon of primer (see below), a pack of 220 grit sandpaper, a small foam roller with tray, and gloves (not entirely necessary because you will be using water based paint, but I prefer to cover up!). 

Tip 1: Use Zinsser 1-2-3 Bulls Eye Primer. It is water-based, so clean up only requires soap and water and goes on very smoothly! Every tutorial I found during my research recommended this brand and type. 
Tip 2: Invest in high quality brushes! I did this, but later had to buy an extra brush and went cheap. I paid the price when I kept having to pick loose brush hairs off my cabinets! 

Step 2: Disassemble and remove hardware

Carefully remove each cabinet. I did not have to label each one so I would remember where it went, because most of my cabinets are all different sizes, but I would recommend removing the hinge and in the hole where the hinge was, write where the cabinet will return to (this area will not end up being painted over). Use your own strategy to keep the hardware for each door together so they can go back on the right one. If changing the knobs/handles, just keep the hinges together. 

Step 3: Clean the cabinets 

Using a degreaser (dishwashing soap and hot water works, or there are other options available at the hardware store), wipe down each cabinet and the structure to remove grease and grime and create a clean surface. I used soap and water and it worked well enough. 

Step 4: Sand the cabinets

Not all the tutorials I found included this step, but I wanted to make sure I did the process the right way. Using 220 grit sandpaper, I quickly sanded each door and the frame. Literally spent 20-30 seconds on each...real quick. 

Step 5: Prime away!

After brushing off the dust from sanding, start priming! I used a brush for this, not the roller. However, looking back, I would use the roller on the flat parts and a brush on the grooves. I did this with the actual paint and it went faster and put a thicker coat on. Let the primer dry overnight. 

Let me explain where I put the cabinets when I painted them...all over the living room floor! Not much room in our South Philly rowhome, but we lived like slobs for a week during the project, and it worked out. 

Here is my suggestion about this: make sure you elevate the doors when you paint them. This can be done on 2x4s or Home Depot/Lowe's sells specific things for this (like little triangle things- I forget the names because, well, I didn't use them.). Why do I suggest this? Because if you just lay the doors on your plastic dropcloth like I did, paint will creep its way under the door and get all up on the other side of the door and dry and look terrible when you are done (no matter how much you wipe drips off the sides). This is also why you should paint the fronts first, to prevent drips from creeping to the front then you have to sand them down...Consider this my lesson-learned :) 

Step 6: The final coats

Now it's time for the fun part! The paint! After perusing the internet for the best cabinet painting tips, the consensus was that Benjamin Moore Advance paint (in satin) is the way to go! It is water based, but dries like oil-based and creates a nice, hard surface (it's an alkyd). I chose White Dove, which was also highly recommended! It is a nice warm white that is not too yellow, but not too stark white! With my lovely orange countertops, I needed a warm color. The paint went on as I stated above- with a brush and the roller. It required 3 coats total and one on the inside. A lot of bloggers stated they did not paint the inside of the doors, but to cover up my blemishes (see step 5...), I swiped a quick coat on. I allowed at least 24 hours between each coat, although the can states it dries in 6. Better safe than sorry...

And since I have posted some photos on Instagram already of the final look, I will share a few below with you...


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