August 02, 2019

How to Paint Laminate Kitchen Cabinets

DIY (Do-it-Yourself) projects are a fun and rewarding way to save money on home remodels. However, even some of the simplest DIY projects have challenges. For example, painting laminate kitchen cabinets requires a lot of patience and the right materials. If you’re planning to paint the laminate cabinets in your kitchen, read on for step-by-step directions for accomplishing the project without any hitches.

white painted kitchen cabinets

Helpful Tools & Materials                        

Before you begin, take inventory of the materials you’ll need to complete the project. Here’s a helpful list:

  • A dust rag and a cleaning cloth
  • Painter’s tape, or masking tape
  • An angled paintbrush
  • A mini foam roller
  • Paint trays
  • A facemask
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Laminate cleaner
  • Laminate primer
  • Laminate paint
  • A fan
  • Paint stirrers
  • A large cloth to cover kitchen surfaces
  • Rubber cleaning gloves
  • Snack bags or small containers

The Steps to Success

Once you’ve collected all the items needed for your project, set aside some time to begin preparations. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:

Prepare the Space & Cabinets

Preparation is just as important as the actual process of painting your laminate cabinets. To ensure a flawless paint job, follow these prepping steps:

  1. Empty your cabinets.
  2. Remove hardware – including handles, knobs, and pulls – and place them in snack bags or in a small container that labels where each belongs.
  3. Remove cabinet doors and drawers, being careful to label where each goes.
  4. Thoroughly clean cabinet surfaces with a cloth and laminate cleaner – this will help the primer adhere to the doors, not to dust or residue. You may want to use rubber gloves while cleaning.
  5. Tape off any areas that you don’t want to be painted with painter’s tape or masking tape, such as hinges and along any walls that make contact with the edges of your cabinets.
  6. Cover kitchen surfaces, such as floors and countertops, with a cloth for easy cleanup.
  7. Open a window or run a fan for ventilation as you begin painting.

Prime the Clean Cabinets

Because laminate cabinets are often finished with a plasticized or glossy surface, paint tends to slip off the material. To create a surface that the paint can adhere to, prime your cabinet doors and drawer fronts with a laminate primer before painting. Make sure your room is well-ventilated, and follow these steps:

  1. Pour some primer onto a paint tray, and begin by priming the edges of the cabinet doors and drawer fronts with an angled paintbrush.
  2. Prime the larger sections of the cabinet doors and drawer fronts with a mini foam paint roller. Make sure that you apply an even coat.
  3. Remember to keep your cabinet doors ajar once you’ve finished priming to help speed the drying process. It’s advised that you let the primer cure overnight before starting the next step.

Gently Sand the Primed Cabinets

Once your primer is completely dry, gently sand the primed surface. This step helps create a smooth base, free of fine paint lines and air bubbles; it also gives your cabinet doors a subtle texture, which can help the paint adhere to the surface.

  1. Using fine-grit sandpaper, begin sanding the surface of the cabinet doors and drawer fronts lightly by hand – this is especially important, as you don’t want to strip the primer off the cabinets.
  2. As you go, dust off the cabinet doors and drawer fronts with a dry brush. It’s advised that you wear a facemask while sanding and dusting to prevent respiratory irritation.
  3. After dusting, wipe down the sanded surface with a damp cloth or a tack cloth, making sure to remove all residue.

Start Painting

Make sure you purchase laminate paint, as it is specially blended for laminated materials. If your cabinets have dings or scratches, consider opting for a satin finish over a glossy finish, as glossy finishes tend to highlight the damaged areas. Before painting, make sure your room is well-ventilated. Then, follow these steps:

  1. Carefully open your paint can on a covered surface, and give the paint a good stir to blend the color.
  2. Pour about half of the can into your paint tray, and begin painting the details of your cabinet doors and drawer fronts carefully – areas around the wall and along the edges of the cabinets.
  3. Once all edges are painted, use a roller to paint the larger sections of your cabinet doors and drawer fronts.
  4. Let everything dry, and reapply the color if needed.

painted kitchen cabinets

Once your project is finished and your Cabinet Doors and Drawer Fronts are completely dry, reattach your cabinet hardware, install your cabinet doors and drawers, and enjoy your freshly painted cabinets!

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