This post was originally published on DIY Network’s blog Made + Remade in October 2014.
Hello from over here!
Things are pretty messy, don’t mind me.
There have been very few times when I get tangled in a project that feels like it will never end. Cabinetry refinishing just happens to be one of those projects.
A project like this one isn’t as simple as “wham-bam, clear the calendar, spend a single weekend painting, then call it a wrap.” The process of properly refinishing kitchen cabinets is practically an art form, an effort wherein one needs to don a special “perform exceptional attention to detail” hat and give it their all. The need for meticulous behavior isn’t all in the painting either. For a paint job on cabinetry to be perfection, there’s a whole pre-painting process involving sanding, cleaning, priming. I really can’t wait to tell you all about it in more detail once I’m done, because the cabinets are turning out really great, but for today, I wanted to duck in with an update on my progress.
As far as what you’re seeing up there, it’s our beautiful kitchen (I kid, but know what you’re getting into with a project like this)! The base cabinets are now a very light tan, a bit lighter than the sandy color that was there before. The big difference is in that the doors and drawers which were previously natural wood, now match. Many of the drawers back in place for our convenience (though they will not slid in completely for another few days to avoid them sticking). The cabinet doors, completely removed as shown above, are in the process of being painted.
You might expect that dry time with a modern formula, latex-based alkyd enamel like the one I’m using would be efficient – you’d be right in assuming that within a few hours, the cabinets are dry to the touch, but the cure time is longer, safely two days. To further complicate things, cabinets like these, with partial inset doors that sit within the cabinet face frame (as opposed to a cabinet door that completely overlays the frame), the time to cure the enamel is considerably longer – two weeks! – and that’s without accounting for 1 day dry time between coats, and 2 days dry time between flipping sides to paint both sides of the door). It’s nothing short of a marathon-style painting project.
A big reason I’m holding out on re-installing the cabinet doors before the full two weeks is to lessen the chance of the backsides of the painted doors sticking to the frame, risking damaging the paint surface. The dry time doesn’t apply only to the doors, but to the base cabinets as well. I focused my efforts on getting the bases done first. While they finish curing, I moved my focus upwards to the top cabinets. Tinted primer finally went up on them yesterday (manicure travesty, by the way), and the room is already looking a lot different. Time to get the final coat and color on the uppers to get a real sense for how the room will look!
There’s a good reason that homeowners will shell out a lot of money to let the pros tackle it, but this is a project that you can totally do yourself if you are very, very patient. Check back soon, because I promise this kitchen makeover that I set out to refinish is going to be wonderful when it’s complete.
P.S. If you’re wondering what type of cabinet door you have, this website was helpful in painting a nice picture.
P.P.S. Choose the right respirator for painting projects. I used an oil-based primer, so I went heavy-duty with the respiratory protection as shown in the first photo.
P.P.P.S. Once upon a time in my old house, I stained oak cabinets using gel stain. The kitchen transformation was remarkable, so if painting cabinetry isn’t your thing, I suggest you check out how you can transform your kitchen with stained cabinets.