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10 Things Nobody Tells You About Painting Kitchen Cabinets

November 09, 20224 min read

If you want to update the look and feel of your kitchen, you have a few options. Cabinets are the face of the kitchen, so you want to get them right! Here are ten things nobody will tell you about painting kitchen cabinets—well, except our painters here at Chameleon Cabinet Coatings.

1. Don't Paint Laminate Cabinets

Painting your laminate cabinets may sound like a good idea—you can skip the sanding and stripping! You can paint it and go, right? Wrong. Laminate cabinets aren't meant to be painted. It works for a while, but the paint never adheres well to the surface beneath it. Stick to painting natural wood cabinets.

2. Don't Forget the Cabinet Interiors

If you're painting kitchen cabinets, make sure to paint the interiors. It may seem like a waste of time, but if you don't paint the insides, they'll look dingy and old and won't match the color scheme of your new kitchen.

The good news is that it's really easy to do. Just take off all the doors and drawers, get out your paintbrush, and go to town!

3. Start with a Clean Canvas

You can't apply a coat of paint to dirty cabinets! Start your cabinet painting project with a deep clean of your cabinets, inside and out, using a de-greasing cleanser. Take everything out of your cabinets and get rid of what you don't need. You can store your food, dishes, and Tupperware in a different room until the painting is done.

4. Latex Paint Needs Special Primer

If you're using latex paint, use a latex-based primer. Latex paints apply best over an existing finish, so if you're painting cabinets that have not been previously painted with latex-based paint, be sure to use a primer.

5. Label Each Cabinet Panel

When you paint cabinets, you take them off their hinges and paint them in the garage or outdoors. How will you know which cabinet goes where? Labels are the answer.

Use a permanent marker and painter's tape to label each cabinet panel, noting where it goes in the kitchen. If you hire a professional cabinet painting company, they will handle the logistics of painting each cabinet panel and drawer and putting them back in the proper place.

6. Choose a Semi-gloss, Gloss, or Satin Finish

When browsing paints, skip the matte or eggshell finishes. Semi-gloss, gloss, and satin paints last longer because they're easier to clean and more resistant to scratches and scuffs.

7. Dark Cabinets? You Can Easily Paint Them Lighter

If you're ready to move on from dark blue or black cabinets, don't worry! With a tinted primer, you can give your kitchen a new lease on life without having to rip everything out and start from scratch. Choose a primer tinted to 75% of your final cabinet color for an affordable update that won't break the bank

8. Use a Paint Brush, Not a Roller

If you want the best finish on your painted cabinets, use a two- to two-and-a-half-inch fine bristle brush instead of a roller. The bristles leave an even coat of smooth and level oil-based paint on your cabinet's flat surface, so you don't have to worry about drips or uneven color. The roller's texture can cause problems with adhesion and roller strokes that show through the paint.

9. Don't Be Afraid of White Kitchen Cabinets

White cabinets are a classic in kitchens, and you don't have to be afraid of mess and food splatter. Consider using a glossy paint finish for a bright look and easy wipe-clean maintenance.

You can also choose colors that complement white, like soft blues or greens. You can also paint your cabinets and drawers white—it will make them pop against the wall color!

10. A Professional Painting Company Is Worth the Investment

Your kitchen is probably the room you use most in your home, which means it’s also the most at risk of wear and tear. The kitchen cabinets are also one of the most important elements of a kitchen and one of the most expensive parts to replace. When you're painting kitchen cabinets, partner with a professional for a guaranteed professional result.

At Chameleon Cabinet Coatings, we’ve served southeastern Pennsylvania homeowners for years. We know painting kitchen cabinets is no simple feat, and we have the tools and experience to back up every paint job. With our extensive three-year warranty, you can call us anytime for a polish! Call (717) 431-6440 or email to schedule your consultation

cabinet restoration, cabinet coatings

Dave Fisher

Founder & CEO of Chameleon Cabinet Coatings

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"Chameleon Cabinet Coatings just left after installing my newly painted cabinet drawers and doors. Everyone who works there is an amazing professional. The “before” pics of my cabinets are really depressing, a kind of orange-brown, full of gouges and nicks (they’re around 70 years old). After the artisans a Chameleon worked their magic, the cabinets look amazing. I’m beyond thrilled. Everyone was so meticulous; upbeat; super polite; and really, really hard working. And they cleaned up as well. The best decision I ever made was calling Chameleon Cabinet Coatings. I don’t think even brand-new cabinets could look this fabulous."

Barbara Light

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