Kitchen Cabinets

We have ugly dark kitchen cabinets that are pressed board, not real wood. What is the best way to clean, prime and paint them. We can't afford to buy new.

  8 answers
  • Tinyshoes Tinyshoes on Jan 05, 2018
    A lot of elbow grease but good hot soapy water with a good cleaning solution of your choice. If it is greasy once you put this on a rub and it still has a coating of gook try taking a razor and very gently will be amazed at what comes very careful not to gouge. May need to sand..then prime and probably 2 coats of paint. Send pics!

  • William William on Jan 05, 2018
    Make sure they are clean and dry. Use a good degreaser. Remove the doors and hardware. Mark the doors and cabinets with tape where they go. Lightly sand the doors and cabinets to remove any gloss and roughen the surface for paint with 120- to 220-grit sandpaper. Use a tack cloth or damp rag to remove dust after sanding. Prime with a stain blocking primer like Zinsser 123, KILZ,or BIN and have it tinted to the color of the top coat. This will prevent dark or stained surfaces from showing through the top coat. Acrylic, or water-base, paints are low-fume and clean up easily with water. Alkyd, or oil-base, paints require good ventilation because the paint contains solvents that can irritate your lungs and make you feel sick. Alkyd options require mineral spirits for cleanup, but they provide a hard, durable paint finish. Whichever you use, buy the best-quality paint you can afford for a lasting kitchen cabinet finish. Seal with at least three coats with a water based polyurethane. Use a small foam roller and foam brush for a smooth finish.

  • Colleen Jones Colleen Jones on Jan 05, 2018
    I've done this to old dark 70's era cabinets. Buy a good primer - I used Kilz because it really resists bleed thru. You should wash down the cabinetry (inside and out of the doors and all exposed trim) with TSP or I used Spic N Span - old but excellent grease, build up cleaner. Use a rough cloth, and scrub surface good. Let dry overnight. Next use 100 grade sandpaper and rough up the surface of cabinets so they are ready to prime. Paint one coat and let dry thoroughly. Paint a second coat of primer lightly. I went from dark, dark fake walnut to a beachy light coral, so I worried about bleed through. But Kilz really seals the old color in and its also excellent to seal the pressed board as well. Consult your paint store (Ben Moore and Sherwin Williams) to make sure your top coat can really take daily use, grease and dirt that kitchen cabinets have to deal with. And the cleaning chemicals you'll use to keep them clean.
    BTW, remove drawer and door pulls and seal the holes with wood filler before starting. Then spend time carefully choosing your new fittings and drill fresh holes.
    I have always regretted not taking the time to paint all the insides white. If I had it to do again, I would do that as a separate project. Empty vacuum and clean insides; Use Kilz again to 'seal' in any old stains and let dry overnight. Painting inside is not simple and it is tiring, but it is worth it.
    Good Luck! BTW, buy 2 or 3 quality paint brushes for detail work and the mini rollers for the flat surfaces. A good brush should cost $8-10. Clean them well and they will last for years!

  • on Jan 06, 2018
    What I did was to wash with TSP then remove the doors and drawer fronts sand them then use a good primer and paint I used latex but you can use melamine paint as well they now look great . The sanding is to roughen the surface so the paint will adhere good be careful when sanding the edges so as to not break the edge tape but if you do you can replace it just use a dry iron to put on the new tape.

  • Clay B Clay B on Jan 06, 2018
    Sand as needed. Fill any holes dings and sand those when dry. Clean well with tsp. Prime with Kilz low odor latex version. Light sand Til smooth to touch. Then a quality satin or semi gloss paint. Good quality paint is about $50/gallon. Couple coats minimum. Lightly sand between coats , trust me. Makes big difference. Tip, if not paintIng white, have primer tinted towards the color you choose. Will help reduce number of coats you need of the expensive paint. only get primer or paint tinted as needed, as it’s not returnable once tinted. Get some thin vinyl bumpers or felt, and put them on back of drawers and doors, to prevent paint on paint contact, so no sticking.