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Is It Worth It to Paint My Kitchen Cabinets
July 20, 2022

Is It Worth It to Paint My Kitchen Cabinets?

While the work it produces may be incredibly beautiful, and it can add value and distinction to your home, custom woodwork design can also be pretty pricey.

So, when homeowners are thinking about upgrading their kitchens, naturally, they try to come up with ways to save money.

And one of the ways they do this is by opting to paint or refinish things, rather than replacing them.

At any rate, if you’re not a master woodworker, it can be pretty tough to decide what to do, especially when the cost of new cabinets can run into the thousands.

But the truth is, you can only put so much lipstick on a pig, and if your cabinets were crappy before, they’ll still be crappy after you give them a new paint job.

That being said, how can you tell whether it’s worth it to paint your kitchen cabinets?

And how do you know if it’s feasible for you to paint or refinish your cabinets yourself?

Luckily, if you consider some of the most important factors, the right decision should be pretty obvious.

So, if you’re looking to upgrade your kitchen and you’re wondering, “Should I paint my kitchen cabinets?” then keep reading.

Because in this article, we’re going to break down everything you need to consider so you can decide whether or not this is a project worth doing, or one that you’re willing to tackle yourself.

Should I Paint My Kitchen Cabinets? Here’s What to Consider

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring a professional to do it for you, repainting your cabinets can be a costly venture.

Moreover, it’s not going to add any actual longevity to your kitchen, and it’s pretty much purely cosmetic.

If you have handcrafted kitchen cabinets that were made by an experienced carpenter and are still in good condition, chances are it’s worth it to put a fresh coat of paint on them, as they’re made to last a lifetime.

But if you have cheap mass-produced cabinets in your kitchen, chances are you could be wasting your time and money.

When customers ask us to paint or refinish their cabinets, we stress that the only time it’s advisable is if the cabinets are in near pristine condition, and were well-built to start with.

That being said, if you’re determined to turn kitchen cabinet painting into a DIY project, then luckily for you, we’ve laid out what needs to be considered, and what’s involved in this time-consuming project, so you can make a well-informed decision.

What Are They Made Of?

Kitchen Cabinets made of

When it comes to determining what kind of paint or finish you should use for your cabinets, you’ve got to know what kind of materials were used to make them.

If you want to avoid making costly mistakes, and ensure the finish of your cabinets is going to look good and last a long time, this is crucial.

That being said, if you’re not someone who does this on a regular basis, it can be difficult, if not impossible to know what kind of material they’re made of. And if you want to do the painting yourself, but you’re not sure, then you may end up having to consult with a professional.

No matter who paints the cabinets, many material-related considerations need to be made.

For example, it will be tough for the paint or stain to stick to a nonporous material like laminate, whereas wood is a much more porous material, and it’s going to absorb some of whatever paint or stain you choose to use.

All this has to be taken into consideration to know what kind of paint or stain to use and how many coats you’re going to need, and if you don’t know what the cabinets are made of, that will further complicate things.

So, if you’re dead set on doing this project yourself, and you’re not sure what your cabinets are made of, then make sure to seek the advice of a professional.

What Kind of Finish Do They Have?

Most kitchen cabinets will have some kind of glaze or stain on them, and you can’t just brush over that finish, as paint or stain might not adhere properly, and even if it does, it probably won’t look very good.

If you want to paint the cabinets yourself, you’re going to have to strip or sand away the finish, which is going to take a long time, and regardless of whether you’re using chemicals or sandpaper to remove the finish, it can be dangerous.

If you insist on doing this yourself, make sure to do it in a well-ventilated area, and you should wear safety glasses and a dust mask or respirator to avoid inhaling the dust from the finish or getting it in your eyes, as it could be toxic.

Likewise, if you decide to use a chemical to strip away the finish, like paint thinner, similar safety precautions should be followed.

When you’re working with something like paint thinner, you need to ensure it doesn’t make contact with your skin, so make sure to cover up.

You should also do it in a well-ventilated area, and wear safety glasses and a dust mask or respirator to protect your eyes and minimize the fumes you could be breathing.

If you have any doubts about how your cabinets were finished, or what kind of paint or stain you should use to refinish them, you should discuss it with a professional. Their expertise could prevent you from wasting a lot of time and money.

DIYing or Hiring a Professional

Professional Painting Kitchen Cabinets

As you can tell, painting kitchen cabinets can be pretty complex, and you have to know what you’re doing.

Still, there’s no doubt that many of you are thinking about turning this into a DIY project.

If that is something you’re serious about doing, aside from what we explained above, there are some other things you need to know.

First of all, painting kitchen cabinets isn’t anything like painting a wall or a ceiling.

For one thing, many of them contain intricate millwork, and it can be tough to put an even coat of paint on something like that.

Furthermore, you can’t just slap some paint on top of a cabinet and expect it to look good.

Asymmetrical brush strokes or uneven paint distribution will be much more noticeable on a cabinet than it would be on a wall. Ideally, a paint sprayer is required to make the paint job look professional, and they can be pretty expensive.

All things considered, by the time you buy all the equipment that’s required, plus the paint, and think about the amount of time it’s going to take you, it might end up being more costly than hiring a professional.

So, if you’re considering painting your cabinets yourself, make sure to keep these things in mind, and try to be realistic about whether or not it’s worth your time and money.

Overwhelmed by the idea of painting handcrafted kitchen cabinets? Still asking yourself, “Should I paint my kitchen cabinets myself?” Our master woodworker, Andy Ingram, has more than three decades of experience, a wealth of knowledge, and he can answer all your questions. If you want to learn more, give Andy a call at (250) 765-5608 or send an email to truwood@shaw.ca.