Painting Kitchen Cabinets Using Latex Paint and Acrylic Polyurethane

Painting kitchen cabinets is a big project, and it's tempting to just slap some paint on them and be done. However, you want it to last. This article discusses tips and the process for getting a finish that is long lasting and professional looking.
Today, I am sharing our painting technique for painting a set of kitchen cabinets. There is tons of information on the subject and I actually have another post about removing the wood grain look but today I am concentrating on the process of painting and updating these old cabinets.
These cabinets were purchased from an impending kitchen remodel for super cheap ($325 for 13 cabinets). Since these cabinets were already removed, it made the job easier for spraying the paint. However, you may not have this option. In that case, a small dense foam roller can be used to create a smooth finish. If you are truly looking to keep brush strokes to a minimum, I highly recommend a sprayer, though.
Of course, the first step is to remove all of the hardware and doors. The surface needs to be cleaned thoroughly to remove any dirt, grime, and pre-existing finish such as a lacquer or varnish.
After all of the finish and areas are sanded smooth, apply 1 layer of stain blocker and 2-3 layers of primer, sanding between layers with 220 grit sandpaper. Using a sprayer will save time and get the smoothest finish but it will take some practice to use correctly. We sprayed 4 coats of latex paint.
Because these cabinets are white and I have a young, enthusiastic son, we wanted to create the most durable surface possible. These cabinets received a protective clear coat of Benjamin Moore's Acrylic Polyurethane. It provides excellent resistance to damage caused by abrasion, household chemicals and water, alcohol and food stains.
After the cabinets and drawers are dry, everything is assembled. However, the surfaces are not truly "dry". If I were to close all my drawers so that there was paint to paint contact, and then opened them a day or so later, I risk the paint sticking together and (horror) pulling some of the paint off. This is called the cure time. Therefore, after installing the doors and drawers back on the cabinets, I left them slightly ajar to allow the paint/poly to cure. I used them as normal. It took about two and a half weeks for mine to fully cure inside, but I have read that it can take up to 60 days to fully cure.
If you would like tons more tips and tricks, as well as the complete process, you can learn more about it in the link to the article below.

Rachel Beach
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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  • Lisa Korba Lisa Korba on Jun 11, 2016
    Hello, what finish is the latex paint? Semi gloss, satin? I know there is a polyurethane, and I think its called polyacrylic maybe, and 1 of them yellows after time. We are a very low income family living off my husbands SS disability, my cabinets are very similar to the ones in your picture, except mine have a cathedral top insert and some have some creepy old gold, white and frosted art deco glass in them with some of them actually missing some of the glass, I am going to use hardware cloth in place of all the glass. So my question is does it matter at all what kind or brand of latex paint we use? Since we plan on using the clear poly finish at the end anyway. And we will be using like the Tsp, scrubbing them, sanding, stain blocker, and we have tons of Kills left over from painting the whole house, Would that be a good enough primer? I would like to add we used it in our mobile home when we moved in to cover over nicotine stained walls and popcorn ceilings 1 coat did the trick before we painted and it hasnt come through, we bought all of our paint from Walmart its been 5 years and my walls have been washed, scrubbies have been used on them and zero paint has come off, nothing has bubbled, peeled or chipped. I know that the cabinets are a bit different but I just cant afford 60.00 a gallon. Also can you add the link for getting rid of the wood grain please? Thank you so much for your post. Oh one more thing, how long did you wait in between the stain blocker, each coat of primer, and the paint and the poly coat.

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