Asked on Oct 20, 2017

Can my cupboards be painted?

KenHolly Kinchlea-BrownMezwestrope


My kitchen cupboards are not really fine wood with a grain I want to keep. Would love to paint but find a very few small places on edges that seem to be peeling --like contact paper. I can't afford all new cabinets. Is there hope for painting? New hardware is a given since there is no 'hardware,' only small round 'self' knobs.

6 answers
  • Linda Sikut
    on Oct 20, 2017

    Hi Mary Beth,
    If it looks like wood, it's probably veneer. Here's an article about how to fix veneer:

    Once the veneer is repaired and sanded smooth, you can start the rest of the paint job.

    Hope that helps.
  • Ken
    on Oct 20, 2017

    I think that Linda has overestimated your cabinets Mary Beth. If you say that the material looks like Contact Paper it probably is. I had a manufactured home that used particle board for everything but the doors and they wrapped it all with a plastic film like Contact Paper. The doors were a really nice solid oak.

    You can paint but I would expect that perfection will remain elusive. It's the same procedure as painting anything -- sand, sand, sand, clean, prime, paint. What I think will happen is some of the plastic wrap will come loose easily and some will hold on for dear life. Best you can do is remove anything that wants to come off and try to sand smooth anything that doesn't. Best of luck to you and let us know how it goes.
    • Mary Beth Packard
      on Oct 20, 2017

      Thanks for the down-to-earth answer that I'd suspected. Don't hold your breath to see how it goes -- it will be awhile before I try anything. Have to get my roof back from Irma and new front doors in a straight frame before I attack the cupboards. We were also in the process of painting the house when Irma came to call, so that has to be finished.
  • Mezwestrope
    on Oct 20, 2017

    It could be that you have thermofoil cupboards. The best solution is to remove the thermofoil and paint the mdf underneath. Here is a link for removing the thermofoil.

    • Mary Beth Packard
      on Oct 22, 2017

      Thanks for the suggestion. I have seen the UTube film and am probably going to learn to love the cupboards as they are for now, with a hardware change! The thermofoil would have to be removed from the part of the cupboard that is screwed to the wall. At 4'9" I don't think I can reach all of that and certainly do not want to take the whole cupboard down.

      Just need to figure out a new color scheme for that part of the kitchen, using what I've got. I just got a little too plucky after moving all the 'formal' dining room furniture around (used those foot sliders) and love the new look! At the other end of the kitchen is a 'breakfast' area where we eat most meals, painted lime green to go with a purchased table of lime and dark green with a red flower under glass for the top.
  • Holly Kinchlea-Brown
    on Oct 20, 2017

    Sand the places that are peeling and if necessary add plastic wood to make an even surface...I would use a chalk paint product with a polycrylic sealer.....other than sanding to repair blemishes and/or hardware holes, no other sanding is required...
  • Ken
    on Oct 20, 2017

    You remind me how fortunate I am to be living in southeast PA where weather events seldom threaten the house structure.

    I like to be thinking about upcoming projects and planning the process while still working on other things. It's good to have a plan. I actually bought the tile saw I used for my bathroom over three years before actually using it.

    If I had stayed in that house I really wasn't sure how I would handle a kitchen redo. I dislike particle board more every time I encounter the stuff but the kitchen design was efficient and reasonably attractive so it was tough to justify replacing everything. Loved the oak doors so I probably would have kept them and did a refacing of the frames with real oak, replacing shelves and sidewalls with oak plywood as needed.
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