Painting My Kitchen Cabinets – What I wish I had done differently

Painting My Kitchen Cabinets – What I wish I had done differently


Nine months ago, I used this kit to paint
my kitchen cabinets. This is a story about what I would have done differently, had I known any better. I’m gonna try to show you the reality of painting your cabinets yourself. This entire project cost me $227.16! (Maniacal laugh) What you see over here is my kitchen cabinets that I’ve had to repaint — — and here’s a few more — — because they got so horribly scratched up. The reason why this kit appeals to
people is because it indicates that you don’t need to do any kind of stripping,
or sanding, or even use a coat of primer. And just like so many other things in life, if it sounds like it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Within the first month or two the drawers and cabinets that got the most
usage, like the silverware drawer and the glasses and plates, those cabinets and
drawers got so horribly scratched up. So here I am, nine months later, repainting
those cabinets and drawers. When I did this this project the first time around, I followed the instructions exclusively that are in the kit, with one exception.
Before I got started, I cleaned up my cabinets with TSP, which is “trisodium
phosphate.” What I found out later is that the TSP actually does the same thing as the deglosser, which comes in the kit. So essentially, I deglossed them twice. Once you’ve done that and they’re dry again, you go on to the bonding coat. And that’s where it starts to go wrong. This bond coat was not strong enough to adhere permanently to the clear coated
finish that was already on my cabinetry. So, as soon as our fingernails started
hitting it, or I tried to wipe it off with a sponge, it started to peel off. Even with two coats of that bond coat, it was not thick enough to not show the
brushstrokes unfortunately, but I left it that way because I just decided I wanted
to have that sort of country rustic look. After that it says go to the top coat. The problem with these top coats is, that a lot of them are polyurethane based. Which is a problem if you have cabinets
that are going to be hit by the sun a lot. Polyurethane yellows in the sun. Now there is another version of this kit for darker coated finishes, and then the
yellowing may not even be noticeable. But if you’re going for a white look like I
was, yellowing is going to be an issue. Okay, it’s a few days later, and as you
can see I’ve got everything back up and in place. In order to fix the doors and the drawer fronts that were the worst, I had to take them off, take them outside,
strip down the old paint, and then sand them down. Then I used a coat of primer,
and then I used this paint from the same kit, and the top coat, so that when I put
them back up, they would match. BUT if I were to do this again, here’s how it would go. Step 1: Use some TSP to clean up up all of the old cabinets. Just follow
the directions on the box. This stuff is great for getting all of the grime and
muck that gets stuck onto your cabinets. But it will also etch the surface a little
bit, so don’t use it for everyday cleaning. Step 2: do a little bit of sanding. You can hand sand the cabinet frames on the inside, but take the doors and the drawers outside and give them a really good sanding. Maybe use a palm sander if you have one or some other kind of power sander. You don’t
necessarily have to get all of the old finish off, you just have to get it
scuffed up enough for step three which is your primer. Now make sure you get a
primer that’s for wood surfaces, as opposed to what you would use on your
drywall. Even if you are gonna use one of the kits, add this step in. Step 4: I would do a little bit more sanding between the primer coat and the paint
coat. That just makes the finish a little bit nicer. And Step 5 is two coats of
paint. They do make special cabinetry paints. You can also use regular latex
paint that you would use on your wall. But it would be a good idea to buy an
additive that you can mix in there, which makes the surface a little bit harder
when it dries, so that it’s going to hold up better over time, and as you wipe it
down, and that sort of thing. If you do it this way, you shouldn’t even need a top coat. If you have pets that shed a lot, even if
you think you’re doing this in a room where your pets don’t normally go, you
end up with a lot of dog hair or cat hair on your body, which is going to
transfer onto your cabinets as you’re painting them. So just be mindful of that. Another thing is let these things dry longer than you think you need to. I’ve heard — after the fact — that it’s better if you have a deeper drawer pull here, like
a longer one. So that your fingernails don’t clip it every time you put your
fingers in there. I really thought I had done a lot of research, and knew what I was doing when I did this project. But it turns out that the best research is your own experience. So I’m hoping that you guys can learn from my experience, and do this project right the first time. Hello! Look! There she is. I can’t say that. “Drawer.” You’d be surprised how hard that is to say clearly for a southern girl. “Draw’r.” (Gibberish and vocal exercises)

100 thoughts on “Painting My Kitchen Cabinets – What I wish I had done differently

  1. BIN's is tricky to use, you would have been better served by using the sprayon version which would have rendered a better smoother surface upon which to paint, light sanding between coats of the primer. A quality flat latex paint and adding some Floetrol to thin the paint and get it to flatten out and minimize the brush strokes. Using a high quality brush would have given you better results, shooting the paint with a hand held good quality airless sprayer would probably have produced a more professional looking finish. Again, sanding between coats. Finally, using spray cans of water based urethane as a top coat, once cured would give you the hardness, chip resistance, cleanability and sheen you desired. Water based urethane is more resistant to yellowing. Kitchen cabinets can be resurfaced in such a way as to increase their appeal and value, it is worthwhile in my opinion, to spend the extra monies to achieve a higher standard of results. You were close, but no cupie doll, perhaps the next time will be the charm.

  2. A homeowner should never ever paint your own cabinets. You are cutting some poor illegal immigrants out of the work they fled here for!

  3. idk if I want to take advice from someone who's using an electric power drill to screw hardware onto kitchen cabinets

  4. TSP is great for cleaning garage floors and driveways..not cabinetry . if you don't rinse it well , TSP leaves a salt barrier between the primer and the wood'. This impedes adhesion of the primer and well… what do you know…finish starts chipping. That's what TSP is Tri "sodium" Phosphate .

  5. Or just hire a professional that's a great tip, Or At least talk to one before doing this yourself

  6. Thank you for taking the time to update us. Having recently become semi disabled it takes me 3x as long to do any project. Doing it twice would be something I just couldn't do. Thanks for all of the tips.

  7. A paint that doesn’t scratch off for me has been Heirloom Traditions. I used it on a metal bunk bed and it’s amazing. They have an amazing primer too

  8. Wish I had seen your video first. I painted my dark stained bathroom cabinets and did what the instructions said. Now I have to repaint because they yellowed and the paint scratched off. All that work and it’s a mess. So I will definitely take your advice when I re-paint these cabinets. Thank you.

  9. All I can say is amen! All of my kitchen cabinets are peeling and it is SO discouraging after so much work…and money.

  10. This was a great video! I never heard of a hard coat additive that I could add to latex paint! That's exactly what I need to touch up my painted cabinets. So happy that I came across this video! Thanks!

  11. Now you know ~ clean, sand, prime, sand, paint, sand, paint. Cheap tools & materials represent the single biggest mistake DIYers make when approaching these types of projects. Remember tools are an investment you make in order to achieve superior results. And once the job is done they can then be sold for 80-90% of their valueand in the end it will cost less than renting. These 2 HVLP systems are the best budget tools for painting cabinets and hold their value well: 1st choice: Fuji 2202 Semi-PRO 2 (2203 gravity version) & 2nd choice: Earlex HV5500.

  12. In my research before I tackle my cabinets, I’ve come across a few videos bashing the rustoleum cabinet kit. I think it’s safe to say do not buy the kit, just get the quality supplies separately!

  13. Great suggestion with the door handles being larger. We stripped, sanded, and painted our kitchen cabinets about 12 years ago and they lasted fairly well except around the small knob-handles. I just started re-painting then again and used large metal handles where you fingers easily fit. I also talked with Home Depot and they recommended a Behr urethane alkyd paint that is tough but cleans with soap and water. I sanded everything and did 3 coats with 4-5 hours in between coats. It looks fabulous and wasn't too painful. I have all above the counter top cabinets done and will march forward with the rest.

  14. It took me a finishing only a few cabinets with the kit before they started yellowing, and i sanded and used an oil primer! Rust-Oleum wouldn't refund my money (yes i had receipts) I then did my project with BIN and DV SureFlo. Really love my cabinets a year later

  15. Fortunately I had really great results with the rustoleum kit. I did go with the dark kit, and had it tinted to the second darkest color to cover golden oak cabinets so I wonder if that played a role in why I didn’t get brush strokes. I have not had any issues with any paint chipping or cracking even when using sponges and cleaners on them and they have been painted over a year. For me the worst part was the drying times in between the steps, fortunately we didn’t live in the house while I was doing this otherwise it would have been awful

  16. Good work though! Unfortunately the only way to make it last 10 years (yes 10 years under normal conditions)…is this tried and true way:
    https://youtu.be/K80DBMOCONc

  17. Fun, but scary fact TSP is also found in quite a few breakfast cereals…..loved the video though going to be painting my kitchen cabinets and this was helpful 😊

  18. Refinishing projects are tricky because the materials are always unique for each project. Prior experience doesn't guarantee success. One lesson that does spare you an experience like the video's: TEST your plan on a small scale beforehand. As you saw, doing the entire project with faith alone is risky. Instead, you should limit yourself to a single cabinet door or drawer. Be thorough and.patient. Allow the layers to dry or cure properly. Afterwards, punish it. If the finish fails easily, remove it and try something else.

    One caveat about Rust-O-leum: They make a huge number of products. Most you will never encounter because they are formulated for specialists. Some they will never offer homeowners because the products are toxic and require safety gear to apply. They have primers and paints that will achieve a factory finish, but these require a proper environment and spray equipment. When YOU contact Rust-O-leum, they are going to limit their advice to their products sold at Home Depot. Therefore, you will have to compromise and compensate.

  19. What a dumb and stupid idea! Even professionals don't do what you and every other stupid homeowner thinks they can do and have it look even close to good. What a dumbf—.

  20. what is your opinion on chalk paint like Annie Sloan. I see so many people using it to paint cabinets. Supposedly not necessary to sand the cabinets or strip the paint

  21. thank you! excellent advice! Btw, new englanders say 'draw' for drawer and even spell it that way!! aacckk!!

  22. Nice video. One thing I'll add. It looks like you're using a throw away brush. Spend the money on a good one. Cheap brushes give cheap results.

  23. Very helpful video!! I was gonna do the exact same steps that you did the first time without sanding anything…. guess this video comes as a heads up for me at the perfect time!!! Thank you so much!! 🙏🏽😊👍🏼

  24. I've used that 1-2-3 primer and that sticks to anything–I have done a bathroom vanity and after about 10 years, it's still holding up. But yes, I would clean and sand first, definitely.

  25. My phone is spying on me! I've just repainted an old wood cabinet that I did years earlier. When I told the lady what I was painting she suggested 'cabinet paint'. But I wasn't painting a professionally done cabinet and the paint was too thin.

  26. So glad I found this video. I am in the beginning stages of dismantling my cabinets to do just this exactly. Now I need to rethink everything. Thank you. Wish me luck.

  27. That Valspar Cabinet paint is awesome. I painted our bathroom vanities two years ago and they are still perfect.

  28. I am an apartment dweller and I bought a black cabinet paint kit a few years ago that I haven’t used as, I guess I have had some false hopes about escaping my 1 bedroom apartment so, there’s been a lot of ambivalence. What time I do have, I’m usually tired anyway. I realize that, typically, as an apartment dweller, you’re not supposed to do things like paint and retile. But, I’ve been here for almost 30 years so, I don’t much care, they’d likely find a way to not return my security deposit anyway and, I believe the protocol here is to replace the cabinets and appliances anyway, when a new tenant comes in. So, they’d tear down this stuff and get rid of the 1960s Welbilt avocado colored stove I have here anyway.

    This is going to sound weird and stupid but, if I ever do repaint the cabinets, I may not take off the doors and only do the outside. It would be the absolutely lazy version of cabinet repainting. Yes, the inside would be that 1970s brown but, better than nothing. I also have 2 cats so, it might be better that the doors stay up there, there’s no place to lay them flat here to dry anyway, without the cats showing me what a wonderful resting surface the newly painted doors are. If the cabinets didn’t have contours and it didn’t turn into the 7th Circle of Hell here during the summer, I might’ve considered using Contact paper actually since, although I have every kitchen tool available, I’m too busy to cook.

    Well, sure wish I could paint that oven but, I know that has to be an enamel.

  29. I used Krud Kutter degreaser, then liquid sander deglosser, then a coat of valspar bonding primer, then 2 coats of valspar cabinet enamel. Still holding up great a few months later…even with our 5 cats jumping up the cabinets to lay on the upper cabinets 🙂

  30. Anytime I do cabinets, counter tops or anything slick I use this stuff and never had any type of fail. KILZ Adhesion High-Bonding Interior/Exterior Latex Primer/Sealer

  31. get a pofessional painter stop ruing your cabinëts and stop listening to useless people thät have no idea what they are talking about on youtube..in the end it ẅill cöst you more then what a painter would

  32. I was going to try that product but when I saw that it chips and wears off I called for an expert and he priced respraying my cabinets at 4000.00 Canadian. Still undecided at this time.

  33. Oh wow, I am so glad I found this video, I have been wanting to.get this kit for my cabinets for a long time, so glad I didn't. Thank you, Thank you and Thank you ❤️ P.S. Just found your channel, I subscribed 😁

  34. Those kits are a total scam. I simply used one coat of kilz primer (which I already had), and 2 coats of the cheapest high-gloss paint, that I found at walmart. No sanding, no de-glossing, no stripping. Just primer, then paint. Its been 7 years and they are still 100% intact. Not a single chip! AND my cabinets don't even have knobs. So, every single day for 7 years, they've been touched and pulled on by everyone's fingers (a family of 5), and still not a chip in sight!

  35. Thanks for this. you sharing is going to save me a lot of headache later. I've been procrastinating on this because the impact (good or bad) the cabinet can have on the kitchen.

  36. Very helpful. Am in this process. Did not know about sanding primer between coats oe hard coat additive. Thank you.

  37. Not a fan of rustolium in general. Also, thanks for the tip on paint hardener. That was the last key in my plan to paint my cabinets white. I have a tip for you. Get a lazy susan bearing at Lowes or Home Depot for about $5 and make a simple rotating platform. Place the pointy pyramids on this platform and it is very easy and fast to rotate the doors while painting, just like frosting a cake on TV. It makes getting the edges and inside corners go much faster without walking in a circle hundreds of times around the doors.

  38. I wanted to say thanks for all the hard info for us! I've been looking at my small kitchen cabinets thinking I'm gonna paint them one day soon! Of course I added an extender on them kinda a gloss finish that made them look brand new, which means I'm gonna have to double sand that stuff off, LOL! But worth the look! Thanks again!

  39. I sprayed my oak kitchen doors with car primer (2k grey), and then brilliant white gloss car paint (2k) in my garage. They look good and the finish is wear resistant. A bit overkill using 2k paint, but having the equipment and experience of spraying car panels, it was worth it.

  40. I wanted too refinsh my cabinets too natural wood. However there had been a fire above stove 3cabinets we're burnt terrible. So ended up. Stripping, sanding,and painting with paint made for cabinets. Bher paints. 2 coats. Nice derable finish.the right prep means everything!!!! New hardware and hinges, looks very nice.

  41. I always clean, sand and prime. Two coats primer and two coats paint. Sand lightly in between each coat. Use good paint. Sorry you had to learn the hard way.

  42. Great update for all the DIY people before they get started. TSP was taken off the market years ago by EPA. Many people still sell box that says :TSP but often on back in small letters say: This does "NOT" contain TSP. Awesomen is cheep but will remove any dirt & grime before you get started. Wear a Good mask before you get started to save your lungs. 3M (N95) disposal mask respirator is fine and inexpensive. You must remove the shinny surface on your cabinets before primer & paint will stick. I'm Not a finish woodworker but ( 0000 fine steel wool) will break the glaze so primer will stick. Use dry paint brush to dust off before you start. Kilz is Great primer. Use the correct one. They make 2 types for oil or latex. Rust-Oleum make Great products and is all I use Use a High quality paint brush and finish in one direction so brush marks will not show.

  43. I just found your channel. I'm impressed by what you and your daughters are not afraid to tackle.It will take me some to watch your videos over time. I can't get side tracked today. I'm making a wooden drawer for one of my Singer cobbler sewing machine stands that's over a 100 years old. Keep up your Great work !

  44. The best primer I've ever used isn't really a primer. It's Walmart Colorplace flat paint. I found our accidentally that nothing in the world will remove that paint. I was doing a quickie paint job in one of my bathrooms and got a little on the front of my sink cabinet door. Nothing would take it off. I had to sand it and refinish the door or paint the doors. So, I painted. Fifteen years later, ha!, that paint is still holding fast. I've changed the color a few times and used water base poly to seal the paint on the cabinetry, but I swear that cheapo Walmart paint is indestructible. I did my kitchen, laundry room, and the ugly panel that ran halfway up the wall in my dining room as well. And it washes well too.

  45. Rule of thumb…"Nothing sticks to shinny." Always knock the shine off. (Yes, auto panting too.) Have you considered oil based paint? Great thoughts on TSP.

  46. bottom line,there are no quick fixes,where surface coatings are concerned the only way is the right way, you only do it once,
    so do the prep,no short cuts,otherwise you will be kicking yourself.

  47. Tfs. Sorry you had to learn the hard way. I'm going to do my cabinets at some point & will use your tips. 👍

  48. I am a pro painter who moved from auto paint to home paint products.
    this "kit" is a huge waste of money. it has many issues; the base coat
    (I used white) dries very rough and flat, this makes any glaze stain it
    instantly and within 3 seconds it cannot be removed (even with wet
    rags). this is no big deal for 3-6" width areas. but for large cabinet
    doors or cabinet sides its a real big deal. I struggled with this
    product for 2 days, gave up, started over with repaint. then realized it
    cannot be used to create a pro finish. my large area door fronts were
    streaked, smudged and looked like shit overall. in a last ditch effort
    to save many hours of my work, I bought a color matched (to a nice area
    of the glazed white) quart of porter eggshell and repainted the flat
    front areas and sides. it matched my glazed white frames dead on. the
    eggshell finish allows glaze to easily wipe completely off if needed, so
    the glaze hue is up to your touch as you wipe. make a mistake, it wipes
    off easy, not so with the "bond coat" it will not wipe off period after
    2-3 seconds. after the latex, I re glazed but only the inside millwork,
    edges and corners on all doors. i used a wooden stick (handle of a foam
    paint brush) to drag glaze along outer door edges here and there in a
    straight fine line. I finished with the top coat and I have cabinets now
    that rival the 1000 dollar units w factory paint. however, there was a
    day when I thought a total repaint had to be done due to horrible
    irregularities of glazing large areas. also the base coat covers
    horribly. I used 5 coats over a medium maple finish and some areas were
    still showing through. do yourself a favor, buy a very light off white
    color you like for a base, prep and paint the cabinets, then glaze with
    regular old wood stain (water based is best) in corners, edges and
    millwork, or along fronts as you see fit for the look you want. seal it
    with a simple satin water poly and be damn glad you didnt buy this
    "kit". you will save a lot of money and serious frustration.

  49. I am a pro painter who moved from auto paint to home paint products.
    this "kit" is a huge waste of money. it has many issues; the base coat
    (I used white) dries very rough and flat, this makes any glaze stain it
    instantly and within 3 seconds it cannot be removed (even with wet
    rags). this is no big deal for 3-6" width areas. but for large cabinet
    doors or cabinet sides its a real big deal. I struggled with this
    product for 2 days, gave up, started over with repaint. then realized it
    cannot be used to create a pro finish. my large area door fronts were
    streaked, smudged and looked like shit overall. in a last ditch effort
    to save many hours of my work, I bought a color matched (to a nice area
    of the glazed white) quart of porter eggshell and repainted the flat
    front areas and sides. it matched my glazed white frames dead on. the
    eggshell finish allows glaze to easily wipe completely off if needed, so
    the glaze hue is up to your touch as you wipe. make a mistake, it wipes
    off easy, not so with the "bond coat" it will not wipe off period after
    2-3 seconds. after the latex, I re glazed but only the inside millwork,
    edges and corners on all doors. i used a wooden stick (handle of a foam
    paint brush) to drag glaze along outer door edges here and there in a
    straight fine line. I finished with the top coat and I have cabinets now
    that rival the 1000 dollar units w factory paint. however, there was a
    day when I thought a total repaint had to be done due to horrible
    irregularities of glazing large areas. also the base coat covers
    horribly. I used 5 coats over a medium maple finish and some areas were
    still showing through. do yourself a favor, buy a very light off white
    color you like for a base, prep and paint the cabinets, then glaze with
    regular old wood stain (water based is best) in corners, edges and
    millwork, or along fronts as you see fit for the look you want. seal it
    with a simple satin water poly and be damn glad you didnt buy this
    "kit". you will save a lot of money and serious frustration.

  50. Great video, thumbs up!
    I looked at several different kits and wasn't really satisfied with any of them. I eventually ended up having the drawers and doors redone in Formica. It may not be glamorous, but Formica seems to be ideal for high-traffic and heavy-wear areas like kitchens.

  51. I painted my builder's grade cabinets with a semi-gloss oil-based paint 20 years ago. It was a little more work to clean up, but the paint dried smooth and rock-hard. It still looks good to this day. The paint was from Dunn-Edwards. It's no longer sold in the republic I live in due to VOC's and environmental concerns. What a shame. Meanwhile, the average person would have painted their cabinets three times over with latex paint, possibly even replaced them by now.

  52. THANK YOU………I was getting ready to buy a kit and paint mine. Thank goodness I saw this………I def subscribed,

  53. Great pointers and this girl knows what she’s saying! I just got done with my second house cabinet painting job. TSP, sand well, prime well (2-3 coats if you have older or grainier wood) , and several coats of the paint. This last time I used I urethane trim paint from SW and paid attention to using a quality roller. Have tack cloth, have extra fine grit sandpaper, get ready for a time-consuming project, and realize the money you save is something to really be proud of so take your time. Great video.

  54. Nice vid, now are you going to use Soft Close Cabinet Hinge that are adjustable and are concealed. That should help with the scratches as well. Not that expensive but have to measure things out right and there is a special tool to make the indention in the wood.

  55. I'm getting ready to paint my cabinets and really appreciate the great tips, I will certainly change up my plan and head back to the hardware store. Great video!

  56. sorry but the natural wood looked better and more modern. White looks like the 1950's, but any painted color looks outdated. Either go with natural or stain.

  57. other than just regular ole spray paints for hobby stuff , Rustoleum pretty much sucks , it ain't what it's cracked up to be , and DO NOT USE their tub and tile paints , it will fail and look like …….. you know

  58. Great video. I’m in the interior design industry and DIY projects. I agree with your modified steps to painting cabinets. Well done.

  59. I am getting ready to repaint my kitchen cabinets. One thing I am running into several months into after painting is cabinets feeling a bit tacky, like the are dirty. They are not dirty or greasy just a bit tacky.
    I tried different cleaning products or just water. The paint said it was for kitchens, paint before did the same. Any idea why?

  60. You have really learned A LOT! You said etched! (I said it teasing you, it was a 👍 but then…didn't explain what it is, I know because I looked it up before today & everyone else can too). I think it's a great video😃. I found a product to help smooth paint& it's great for those places people see with lots of light. Like the kitchen & bathroom. Thanks for helping & your bravery in admitting your oops.

  61. I painted my cabinets last year. I was going to use chalk paint, because no sanding was necessary. I cleaned them with Murphy's Oil soap, gave them a light sanding and used tack cloth to wipe the remaining junk off. After applying the chalk paint, I did not like the finish. So, I used a high gloss baseboard paint. Thus, the chalk paint acted as my primer. And I never removed the cabinet doors. The finish came out very nice, and has held up well so far. Thanks for sharing your experience!

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