Painting kitchen doors

How to Paint Kitchen Doors

Changing the colour of your kitchen cupboard doors can be an instant transformation. If you feel like this is a job you can complete yourself at home, then you would be right – there is no need to hire someone. Be warned though, depending on what your doors are made of it can be difficult and the finish may not be perfect.

Below We have put together a guide to painting your kitchen cupboard doors to ensure you get the finish you want.

Remove handles and hinges

The first step you need to take when painting any cupboard doors is to remove the handles and hinges attached to them. This will leave you with a bare door to prepare to be painted.  Removing the hinges enables you to place the door elsewhere away from the cupboard to be painted, and removes the risk of damaging the cupboard by trying to paint with the door still attached.

If you want to paint the interior/exterior of the cupboard then be sure the remove the contents of the cupboard. Also, ensure that the remaining hinges are covered with masking tape to protect them from being painted.

Wash and sand cupboards

If you have painted the kitchen door before then it is advised to sand down the doors before preparing them for painting. To avoid damaging the doors try using 120 to 220 grit sandpaper. Using a fine sandpaper like this will smooth out the imperfections in the wood and prepare the surface to be painted.

Some kitchen cabinets can be tricky to sand due to uneven surfaces and ridges. A tip to sand these areas is to wrap sandpaper in something mouldable, such as a sponge, and use that to sand down the door. When painting over gloss or non-wooden cupboard doors this step in not required. 

Sanding kitchen cupboards

Although not always necessary, if your kitchen cabinets have been painted before, then you will definitely want to sand them down before you get started. Use a fine grit sandpaper and test in a small area to ensure you’re not going to damage your kitchen cabinet doors. 

The sanding process will make sure your kitchen cupboard doors have a super smooth finish once primed and painted. Be safe when sanding, go slowly and be sure to wear a mask as sanding creates dust. 

Use sugar soap to decrease your kitchen cabinets

Sticky finger prints, midnight snacks and food splatters can make your kitchen cabinets look older. But it can also prevent your new paint work from sticking to the surface. To avoid this, grab a sponge, some sugar soap and water and wipe down your cabinets thoroughly. 

If you don’t have sugar soap, white spirits can also work. Use a clean sponge and plain water to remove the sugar soap or white spirit solution, rinsing your cupboard down. Allow enough time for your kitchen cupboards to completely dry before moving onto the next step. 

Apply primer to your kitchen cupboards 

Primer is super important when painting kitchen cupboard doors, as it ensures your paint work lasts much longer. Not only that, but it also helps towards getting a super smooth finish as you will see less wood grain shining through. 

Knowing which primer to buy might be confusing as there are so many options. Make sure you check your cupboard door manufacturer’s guide to see which primer is appropriate for the material of your kitchen cabinet doors. 

Now you have your primer, use a paintbrush to apply it across your kitchen doors. Take care around intricate detailing and pay extra attention to uneven parts. Apply two coats of primer for a professional finish. 

Choosing the right paint for you kitchen cabinets

Before choosing your paint, you will want to think about the finish. Choosing gloss finish over matte will ensure your cabinets are easy to clean and wipe down. Choose a hard wearing paint as kitchen cupboards get a lot of love! 

You might also want to do a quick patch test to determine the texture and finish before committing to the entire project. Experimenting with bold colours? Just paint a small unseen area and wait for the paint to dry to see if you really like it. 

Painting kitchen cabinets

Now your kitchen cabinet doors have been sanded and primed, it’s time to start the painting process. Work slowly and methodically. You don’t want to rush through as you will be left with an uneven finish. Use a paintbrush to paint thin and even coats, allowing adequate drying time between each one. 

If your cupboards have grooves or intricate details, then use a smaller detail brush to paint over these to avoid drips. Once your colour coat has completely dried, then apply a top coat (if necessary), allowing full drying time. Once done, you can remove the painters tape carefully and screw the door handles back in. 

Top tips for painting kitchen doors

  1. Do not rush! Painting kitchen cabinets is not a quick job. Be sure to leave plenty of drying time between coats and steps. You don’t want to ruin all your hard work by not being patient enough. 
  2. Use the correct paint and primer. Oil based paint will give your cabinets a smooth and even finish, but water based paint takes less time to dry. Be sure to research which types of paint and primer is appropriate for your cupboards before getting started. 
  3. Sanding down your surfaces. A top tip is to keep sanding down between each coat of paint or primer. If you find that there are still grooves or uneven surfaces, use fine grit sandpaper to spot smooth over any areas once they’ve dried. Use a dry cloth or brush to remove any dust and then continue priming or painting. 

Now you’ve read our guide on painting kitchen units, it’s time to get started! If you think your kitchen needs a bit more work, then be sure to check out our range of kitchen cabinets and cupboards. We have shaker style, high gloss and handleless doors to choose from, matching your kitchen perfectly.

Selecting a primer

Next, once your door has been sanded down (if required) you need to apply a primer to the cupboard. This is particularly necessary with wooden doors as it stops the grain from showing up through the paint.

Shellac based primers are recommended for kitchen cupboards because they dry quickly. Try using a small roller for this job to ensure smooth coverage. Usually, the first coat of this type of primer drys within 45 minutes and Shellac primers are also good at covering the grain and any knots if your door is wood.

What paint to choose?

As the kitchen is the central hub of the home, it is a well lived in space and so the cupboards need to be durable. Semi Gloss, gloss or satin are favoured for kitchen cupboards because they not only provide a quality finish, but they are also wipeable and hard wearing – opposed to matt painted doors which are just impractical in the kitchen.

The paint colour you select will be highly dependant on the style of kitchen and atmosphere you want to create. Kitchen cupboards are usually a dominant part of the room and so the colour you select will have a big impact. Colourful cupboards can really make your room stand out, particularly against a white or black wall. However, it can be simpler to match your cupboards to the room to create a consistent look. Essentially, the kitchen design you choose you will have to live with everyday so think carefully about your choice.

How to paint over gloss

Painting over glossy kitchen doors requires a slightly different primer to wooden surfaces. Use a super grip primer for glossy surfaces, these will stick to the cupboard door better than other primers. These primers usually only required one coat but may take longer to dry, so be sure to account for this. Make sure your door is cleaned of any grease, some sugar water is sufficient to wipe down your surfaces beforehand.

Spraying or respraying

This may seem like the quickest option when it comes to painting or repainting your kitchen cupboards, but it can be the most tricky. First, you need to construct yourself a serial killer type lair by covering up the entire space with plastic sheets. It may sound obvious but paint sprayers use a fair amount of air to spray paint onto surfaces. As a result, things like dust and general dirt can be blown onto your cupboard door which can leave a less than desirable finish. The chances of this happening are quite high so have a roller on hand to even out the paint and give your doors a smooth finish.

Tip: Two coats should be the minimum amount you aim for to avoid a patchy or uneven finish.

Should disaster strike

If disaster strikes and the finish does not turn out to your liking, there is always the option to start again with a new set of replacement kitchen doors. With a huge range of vinyl, acrylic and solid wood doors on the market, you are sure to find something to suit your fancy. If not though, we offer a range of paintable styles for all budgets, which can be used from the start if you have a paint finish you have fallen in love with.

Finally, you may already have cupboards that just need a fresh lick of paint. However, instead of repainting them you could treat yourself to a completely new set from Lark and Larks. Get in touch with us to see how we can transform your kitchen or bedroom.