The Initial Preparation
Our finishing projects begins with a set process for painting kitchen cabinets. We will take some before pictures to help with visuals later on in the process. We begin by drawing out a schematic of the kitchen on a piece of paper. The schematic keeps a record of where the doors and drawers are all located. This will provide a reference as we remove and number the cabinet doors and drawer fronts.
We like to lay down moving blankets or canvas drops on a sound surface. (Like a table or a counter top.) This is for us to remove hinges/knobs/handles. Once we remove said door or drawer front and we take a closer look at the condition of the door/drawer. Hinges are placed on the back of the cabinet from the location they came and will put hardware in a container. We like to number the drawers and door fronts in an inconspicuous area. (Like hinge locations or the back side of drawers.) We put a piece of tape over the number so it is easier to identify its location for installation.
A clean, dry, and dull surface is the linchpin of a successful cabinet painting project. You need the surfaces free of grease, dirt, and oils. If they aren’t clean, it won’t matter how good the primer is….it won’t adhere properly. So, at this time, we will take the doors and drawer fronts to our shop for a deep cleaning.
Cleaning The Cabinets
We begin the cleaning process with a degreaser (like Krud Kutter) and a set of hand tools and cleaning pads. Using very warm water, the properly diluted degreaser, and rags; we will scrub and wash the fronts and backs of doors well. On stubborn and overly greasy areas, (above stoves, beside stoves, and below sinks) we will use scouring pads, and some smaller tools to get into the profiles and cracks better. We like to wash the doors doors and drawers at least twice to help remove as much grease as possible. A follow up with another ‘wash’ as a final way to help remove oils, grease, and debris. This wash is a mix of denatured alcohol and water The cabinetry will let them soak overnight.
Deep cleaning all areas to be painted is best. It helps to eliminate surfaces contaminants that will interfere with proper primer adhesion later down the process. If you fail to clean, you will just spread the grease and oils around as you sand the surface. This eventually leads to product failure. At the job-site, we address the cabinet boxes and panels in the same manner as the doors and drawer fronts after we lay down drop cloths on the counter tops and flooring in order to protect the adjacent surfaces from the dirty water or cleaner. We wash/wipe down and clean the surrounding areas once we are finished with our area preparation.
Painting Kitchen Cabinets
Honestly, we prefer to provide a sprayed finish on everything but sometimes budgets don’t necessarily allow for the extra time and materials it requires for masking off an entire area of the home. If we are spraying the kitchen cabinet boxes and panels, this is the point in which we start to create a spray room. (If we are brushing and rolling, some of this is not necessary). Depending on the type of flooring present we will use the proper tape and tape out the perimeter and then lay down a breathable floor covering. We proceed with putting up our plastic sheeting over doorways with adjustable poles to secure it in place and by adding a couple zippers to allow access into the work area with equipment. We then prefer to set up our HEPA air mover/air scrubber in the plastic sheeting and and vent it to the outside of the house, through a window) to help reduce dust and some odors.
Using an air scrubber is the appropriate thing to do so that the family isn’t bothered by odors or dust while we work on painting kitchen cabinets. We also prefer to mask off cabinet door openings, walls, counter tops, appliances, and adjacent items that should not be painted.