Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How to paint your cabinets (a.k.a. a job not for the faint of heart)

     We’re finally done! Our cabinet painting adventure has taken the past month and maybe a bit more. So much for that online tutorial where it took only 15 days... 
     We started the project on the day we moved in by taking down all the cabinet doors and removing all the ugly brassy hardware and hinges. Tim was so gung-ho about starting the project that he had most of the cabinet doors taken down before I remembered to take a “before” picture. We tag-teamed the process. Tim took the cabinets down off their hinges with his drill and then I used a screw driver to unscrew the hardware from the doors and drawers.
The doors in their original condition. 
The original cabinet facings. Pardon the mess.
We also tore off the decorative woodwork on the top. It was too dated for the look we wanted.
Another look. Tim also took the plug-in box for the microwave and set it into the back wall of the cabinet and that looks much better now too. 
     Then the next day, I filled the holes from the previous handles on the door because our new pulls would only need one hole compared to the two from the old handles. I used Elmer’s ProBond Professional Strength Wood Filler. I just applied it with a putty knife and then scaped it flat. 
Wood puttying the original hardware holes. 
This is the box full of our old brass hardware.
     After a day to let the patched holes harden, we began the sanding. The neverending, monotonous sanding. So much sanding that we broke one palm sander and had to go buy another. (Actually two, because we wanted to replace my dad’s which broke and have one for ourselves). We did a first round of sanding using 60 grit sandpaper to really rough them up and then a second round of sanding using 220 grit sandpaper to smooth anything left. We used the electrical palm sander for the flat parts and then sanded by hand any curves and parts the palm sander couldn’t reach well. Halfway through the process, my aunt gifted us some supplies including sanding sponges, which we hadn’t known existed. And they make sanding by hand sooo much easier. I highly recommend them versus just folding up a piece of sandpaper to use. 
We sanded all the doors and drawers outside in the garage.
Sanding sponge = Greatest invention since the lightbulb. And indoor plumbing.
We created a barrier to prevent sawdust from getting all over the place while we sanded in the kitchen. Tim said it looked like we were going to murder someone like on the show Dexter. 
      After sanding for what seemed like an eternity, I wiped all the cabinet doors, drawers, and the cabinet facings down with a liquid deglosser to remove any remaining sawdust or dirt so we had a completely clean canvas before we began priming. Greasy kitchen cabinets are the worse for having gunk all over them. 
The deglosser helped remove any sawdust residue.
This is what the cabinets and drawers looked like before we began applying primer. 
     We primed the cabinets with a light coat of INSL-X Aqua Lock primer from our local Benjamin Moore retailer. You apply a really thin coat. It almost has a sticky, gluey texture which helps the paint to adhere. We primed the backs of the doors first and then the fronts. The guy at the store said one coat should do the trick. 
We applied primer with a foam roller and a brush. 
Then we set them outside in the sun to dry. Be careful of bugs, which love to come die on your freshly painted doors. 
We put each door on a couple pieces of scrap wood so that we could easily prime and paint the sides. 
     And then came the paint. We chose Benjamin Moore’s Advance Paint in Cloud White (a slightly taupey white) in a satin finish. It’s low-VOC, self-leveling, won’t discolor, and is really durable. We applied two coats, starting again with the backs of the doors and then finishing with the fronts.
Our paint was self-leveling, so it doesn't show brush strokes at all!
Freshly painted doors.
    After letting the painted doors and drawers cure for 4-5 days (read the instructions on the can), we began installing the new hardware and hinges. We bought hinges exactly like our previous ones except in brushed nickel so they would fit in the holes that were already there. We used 1.25-inch sized mushroom knobs in brushed nickel for all the cabinet doors and brushed nickel cup pulls for the drawers. We bought the knobs in bulk in packs of ten, which saved us a lot of money. One thing that really helped us was a guide by Liberty Hardware that has holes in it so you can line up and mark your holes for your knobs on the same place on every door. 
I used the hardware guide to mark the spot on the doors where I wanted the knobs. 
Then Tim just drilled through the door on the pencil mark I made.
Screw on the new knob and it's done!
Finished doors, ready to be hung.
     Then we matched up all the doors and drawers and attached them to the cabinet boxes. This wasn't too hard because most of our cabinet doors are different sizes. Afterwards, we did a happy dance and collapsed into comas for 3.5 days. 
Here's the finished product!
I think the white cabinets look much better with our wood floors. 
I have always liked the look of cup pulls on drawers. 
Finally we have so many cabinets in a kitchen, that I can store our wedding china.
We are so happy with the finished product and can't wait to see them with new paint on the walls. 
Here's the best "before" and "after" I could find.
      In case you're wondering how much this cabinet makeover cost us, I typed up a budget breakdown for all the materials we needed to do the project. Because either refacing or buying entirely new cabinets can cost several thousand dollars, we saved a lot of money by doing it ourselves.  

Here’s our entire budget breakdown:
Wood filler (Elmer’s ProBond Professional Strength Wood Filler from Lowe’s): $11.35
Liquid deglosser: $6.28
New sander: $29.97
Sandpaper: $27.39
Primer (we used INSL-X Aqua Lock primer from a local Benjamin Moore store): $40.59
Benjamin Moore’s Advance paint (in Cloud White in a satin finish): $48.79
New paint brushes (We used Wooster Silver Tip 2-inch angled brushes): $19.78
All new hardware (from Lowe's): $84.36
All new hinges (from Lowe's): $57.69
Hardware templates (by Liberty Hardware from Lowe’s): $3.97
Labor: Free!

Cabinet makeover total: $302.78