Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Kitchen cabinet make-over

Over the New Year holiday, I painted our kitchen cabinets. Thankfully, there was no asphyxiation involved – I used latex paint.

When we moved in, the kitchen cabinets were dark brown. The cabinetry had been updated by a previous owner with new doors and drawers. The doors are beaded hardwood, while the cabinet framework is made of a lesser quality wood (maybe MDF or HDF). The drawers are interesting…they consist of plastic tubs, with wooden drawer fronts. The tubs are easy to clean, but do not hold as much as a conventional drawer because the sides are curved. The kitchen had potential to be a bright and happy place, but the dark cabinets were really bringing it down. I decided to paint them white to match the current door and window trim and the future wainscoting.

Choosing the paint was a bit of an ordeal. I first purchased KILLZ latex primer and Behr semi-gloss latex paint. I then did some research on the internet and realized that I needed an oil-based paint. It holds up better than latex in a high-use area, like a kitchen. I didn’t want to deal with the smell and clean-up of oil-based paint, but I also wanted the finish to last. Mike and I returned the paint and primer and consulted the Home Depot paint department on paint choices. We were informed that, with the recent advances in latex paint, it was nearly as durable as oil. According to the employee, the only advantage of oil is its “self-leveling” properties (which I later found out means that it doesn’t show brushstrokes). We walked out of Home Depot with items identical to those I had returned: KILLZ latex primer and Behr semi-gloss latex paint. I should have trusted my first instincts!

Once home, I washed the surfaces with TSP. Mike followed behind me with fine-grit sandpaper and a tack cloth. He then removed 110 screws and 22 hinges to detach the cabinet doors. I moved the doors and drawers to the basement to paint. (On hindsight, we should have removed the surface-mounted hinges and then washed and sanded. There was invisible rust/grime/dirt beneath the hinges that bled through the paint.)

Most of the internet references I found on how to paint kitchen cabinets gave instructions to paint the doors and drawers in place (i.e. do not remove them). That was not an option for us because the hinges on our cabinets are a fancy shape and mounted on the outside of the doors (surface-mounted). We would have had to either 1) paint the hinges or 2) do an elaborate taping job. Even if the hinges are on the inside of the doors, I recommend removing the doors and drawers so that you can paint them in a horizontal position. I was able to apply fairly thick coats without worries of drips on the faces. One coat of primer and two coats of enamel left me with glossy, white doors and drawers. I cleaned up any drips around the edges with an X-acto knife, after the paint had dried.

Unfortunately, I had to paint the framework (stiles) in its installed, vertical position. Because of drip worries, I applied thinner coats. It took one coat of primer and three coats of enamel to get even coverage. I couldn’t use a roller because it applied too much paint and resulted in drips. I had to use a brush for all of the paint application, and ended up with those dreaded brush marks. Oil-based paint may have eliminated the brush strokes, but I think it may have been more runny and drip-prone. I would have liked to have tried a foam brush to minimize brush marks.

I am updating the cabinet hardware. The existing hinges are rather ornate and I would like to keep them. However, they were a dirty brass color, so I painted them silver with a spray paint formulated for metal. I used four light coats and got good coverage while maintaining movement in the hinges. I bought 110 zinc screws to match the new hinge color. Finally, I ordered cobalt blue knobs to replace the present metal knobs. The knobs will match the future blue countertop. I am allowing the doors and drawers to cure in the spare bedroom while I await the delivery of the knobs.

Even without the doors and drawers, the paint job makes the kitchen look much brighter. I considered going with a white and yellow color scheme, working with the original appliances and counter top, but they desperately need replacing. The next two tasks will be ordering a new counter top and stripping the walls. I will begin tackling the walls this week – removing painted layers of wallpaper. Whee-ha!

11 Comments:

Blogger Brit said...

dude. you said knobs.

10:31 PM  
Blogger Kasmira said...

Yes, when I referred to them as "pulls," Mike refused to understand me. Why can't he be as sophisticated as I am?

5:06 AM  
Blogger Mira said...

Hi I was googling about whether I can spray paint my cabinet hinges and I got your blog post as one of the hits. I planned to buy new ones actually but ours is the overlay type and its so hard to find the exact kind. I dont want to drill new holes anymore so I thought of just painting them to match the new silver hardware I wanted to buy. Well its hard to find new pulls too with 3" hole interval. Anyway, if I may just ask, what brand and kind of spray paint did you use and how are they? Hope you can help me, thanks, Mira

2:31 PM  
Blogger Kasmira said...

I used Rust-o-leum spray paint (available at Home Depot) in hammered silver. I applied two or three light coats. I'm very happy with the results. No chipping, cracking, or flaking so far.

9:09 AM  
Blogger scarygary said...

Hi I would like to see a picture of you cabinets I'm in the process of doing the same thing to my cabinets and you have a nice city
scarygary

6:16 PM  
Blogger Kasmira said...

scarygary - I'm afraid this is as far as we got! The kitchen is still a mess.

5:15 AM  
Blogger kitdec said...

Kitchen cabinets are something you use every day, yet you probably never take the time to appreciate them. They seem simple enough, but there is actually more than plenty involved behind the scenes. There are many things to consider regarding kitchen cabinet refacing, cabinets materials, finishes, door designs, and even information on hardware. http://kitchen-cabinet-refacing-design.blogspot.com

12:37 PM  
Blogger Kitchen Cabinet Refacing said...

Kitchen cabinets are something you use every day, yet you probably never take the time to appreciate them. They seem simple enough, but there is actually more than plenty involved behind the scenes. There are many things to consider regarding kitchen cabinet refacing, cabinets materials, finishes, door designs, and even information on hardware. http://kitchen-cabinet-refacing-design.blogspot.com

4:43 AM  
Anonymous Carrie said...

I painted my cabinets as well, and while it was a very tedious, the results was VERY worth it! I used latex-based primer and paint as well, and I was very happy with it. I would recomment doing both sides of the cabinets if I was to do it again- I took the easy way and just did the outside and felt it was lacking a "Quality" workmanship. Live and learn!

6:36 PM  
Blogger Dori Luke Designs said...

I am working on my bathroom cabinets right now (found your post via googling how to spray paint the hardware). For the cabinets I used KILZ primer 2 coats) and Behr Semi Glass Bright White (2 coats) over Medium Oak (early 90's! ick!). So far I love the results, but still need to paint and re-install hardware. Thanks for your helpful post!

~Heather @ www.dorilukedesigns.com
My last post: My top secret cure for a rough day (shh!)

8:19 AM  
Anonymous mills pride cabinets said...

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7:29 AM  

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