Asked on Jan 16, 2012

What type of paint is needed to paint metal cabinets also what type of surface preparation is needed?

Peace Painting Co., Inc.Dan's of Central Florida, Inc.SawHorse Design Build


We just bought our first home and the kitchen cabinets are all metal and painted baby blue. The cabinets are in great shape but the color just isn't for us. Should we look into having them replaced instead of going through the trouble of taking them down sanding (if needed) and putting them back up? We have no problem with the cabinets themselves just the color. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
6 answers
  • Derrick, do you know what type of paint is on there now? In general you will want to clean them really well and sand them down. Sanding is just to rough it up a bit to give the new paint something to bite on. I would go wit using a good primer such as Kilz, followed by a high grade oil paint. If you can get one of those cup gun sprayers (like they use to do cars and such) to spray the paint (will need an air compressor as well) that will give te best results. If not, use the little foam rollers to apply the paint.

  • Derrick V
    on Jan 16, 2012

    Not sure what type of paint my guess would have been something with a little gloss because it shines a little Thanks for the help! ill definately try the cup gun sprayer i heard rolling it is alot tougher to get an even coat.

  • SawHorse Design Build
    on Jan 17, 2012

    If you like the4 style and the color is the only issue, then painting them is a great solution. Several things to consider. 1. If they were installed before 1978, they may have lead paint so test before prepping and sanding to avoid Lead poisoning. 2. Make sure you prime them before applying the top coat. They have probably been painted with an oil based enamel so you would need to apply a primer coat before considering any other than oil finish. There are some great painters here on hometalk so I will defer to them as to what the most durable finish will be. I prefer low VOC options since I am allergic to most chemicals/ solvents.

  • Peace Painting Co., Inc.
    on Jan 17, 2012

    Some good pointers there; they are worth saving for sure. If the cabinets top coat is 35+ years lead paint (there is a test kit avail) you can skip the sanding and use chemical deglosser. This is toxic, so use a respirator. It's always a good idea to scuff sand if you can, using a find sanding sponge to knock down the sheen. Then clean with a solvent called Naptha, available at The Depot. This will remove any grease with out leaving an oily residue (mineral spirits is too oily). Pay special attention to cleaning well around the handles where hand oil accumulates. Once you sand and clean, a primer is not necessary if you use a high quality finish paint, even if you are using a water base paint, it will stick. If you are going with a white color, use water base because it won't yellow over time. Other wise, you can use an oil product which is generally harder, doesn't get gummy over time and is easier to clean. There are some oil-in-water enamels that don't have the hassle factor of straight oil and are almost as hard as oil. These are available at quality paint stores like Sher-Will and Bennie Moore. If you can take the doors off and lay them down, you can roll almost as nice a finish as spraying without all the risks involved. Painting cabinets is the most involved painting project on a home and the cabinet painting industry uses highly developed materials not bought at paint stores, mostly catylized products. So pick the most durable paint you can easily attain and are capable of working with. Post a picture if you want and feel free to ask more. Best, Charles

  • Good call on the deglosser there Peace, I forgot that part and usually add it in when I answer these types of questions.

  • Peace Painting Co., Inc.
    on Jan 17, 2012

    Thanks Dan. It's teamwork (-:

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