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What to Know Prior to Painting your Cabinet Doors

Dec 6th 2019

We get questions all the time from people wondering what to know prior to painting cabinet doors? It’s a great question because even though painting cabinet doors is relatively simple, there are things you can do to make the job easier and the doors look better. Fortunately, with just a little planning and preparation upfront, people will think you had your doors professionally painted. Here’s everything you want and need to know before you get started.

Skip most of the prep

Painting cabinet doors that already have paint or stain on them is a big project involving sanding, stripping, filling, and a lot of mess. Since you ordered custom-built doors from The Door Stop, however, you can skip all these steps. Our “paint-grade” doors come fully sanded and ready for you to paint, which saves you hours of prep work.

Pick your paint color

When you paint your own doors, you also get to pick your own paint colors, which means you have thousands of options to choose from. Painting cabinet doors will give you endless design options to work with, which is both exciting and a little overwhelming. Imagine the overall design you want and the role the cabinet color plays. Decide if you want one cabinet color or two (or more) and whether you want darker or lighter shades. Narrow your choices down to a few general colors – white, blue, etc. – then start picking out individual shades you like. If you’re still conflicted about what to choose, buy a large piece of poster board, paint it your top choice, and hang it in your kitchen like a “test cabinet.”

Select a paint type

You can now buy “cabinet paint” that’s specially formulated for wood surfaces that see a lot of wear and tear. Don’t hesitate to buy this kind of paint, but don’t feel like it’s required either. In general, any high-quality acrylic paint works great for cabinets. It may be tempting to go with a glossy finish, but it tends to highlight imperfections, which is why most cabinets are painted in semi-gloss or satin. Finally, with paint, you tend to get what you pay for, and while you don’t need a “premium” product, you may want to avoid the cheapest paints.

Collect your materials

Since you’re able to skip so much of the prep work, you really don’t need a lot of materials to paint your cabinets like a pro. We do suggest spraying the doors for a higher quality finish but if that is not possible you’ll want roller trays, mini foam rollers, at least one high-quality paintbrush, and several sponge brushes. To round out your list, make sure you have drop cloths, gloves and something you can set the freshly-painted doors on that keeps their edges off the ground. Most home-improvement stores sell an inexpensive solution called “painter pyramids.”

Label each door

It’s easy to get confused by which door goes where, even if you have a small kitchen. Before painting cabinet doors, quickly sketch your kitchen cabinets and assign each door a number. Then write the number for each corresponding door inside of its hinge pocket and cover the number with a piece of painter’s tape. That way, when the doors are dry and ready to hang, you can simply peel the tape back and know instantly where the door goes. Trust us — this can save you a lot of time and confusion later on.

Prime first

Your doors may be brand new, but they can still benefit from a coat of primer underneath the paint. Primer helps to seal the door from stains and swelling, while also ensuring that the wood grain doesn’t show through the paint. Plus, it helps the paint bond to the surface of the doors and form a stronger outer layer. Priming can feel like a hassle, but it’s worth it, and since your doors are already sanded you can start applying the primer immediately.

Find space and time

Before you open a single can of paint, make sure you have a large, empty space where all your doors can dry. Ideally, it’s out of the way so that kids or pets don’t compromise the finish. It should also be a space where you can do the actual painting since you won’t want to paint the doors and then carry them elsewhere. Be sure to plan around the drying time as well. Different paints have different cure times, but you will typically need 24 hours for each side of the door or 48 hours total.

Pick your hardware

You’re making the effort to paint your doors perfectly, so pick your hardware carefully too. The knobs and pulls you choose will either complement or clash with your paint color and the rest of your décor. Fortunately, there are just as many hardware options as there are paint colors, and they come in a wide variety of sizes, styles, and price points. Find one that fits your budget, feels comfortable in your hand, and looks fantastic next to your cabinet paint color.

Painting cabinet doors the easy way

Some people love DIY projects and others loath them. If you fall into the first category, paint-grade doors from The Door Stop let you skip all the boring prep work and focus on the creative aspects instead. If you would rather not paint at all, consider ordering any of our doors with paint already applied. With The Door Stop, you have five stylish colors of Sherwin Williams paint to choose from. Make a selection, and our paint professionals will perfectly paint your doors before shipping them to your location. Once they arrive at your home, the doors are ready to hang without mess or hassle. Explore our selection to find a style you like, and browse this quick guide to learn how to order. If you have any questions, please consult this FAQ.

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