Update Your Kitchen Cabinets in 5 Easy Steps

Learn the best ways to open up the possibilities of your kitchen cabinets.

Article 5 of 6

Step 1: Remove Doors and Hardware

First, remove the cabinet doors and all the hardware. Use a good degreaser to remove any grease and oils that may have built up on the cabinets over time.

Removing cabinet door

Step 2: Sand* + Prime

After prepping the surface, apply a test area of primer in an inconspicuous area. Extreme Bond Primer is recommended because of its excellent adhesion, cover and ease of use. Allow it to dry properly and test for adhesion. After verifying the adhesion is strong and the surface is clean and dry, lightly sand all the wood that will be painted so that your final coat will last longer and look better. Once you've sanded, apply the primer coat.

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Step 3: Sand again

Let the primer dry at least 24 hours and sand again using a "very fine" grit sandpaper. Gently smooth out the primer coat, then wipe the primed cabinets with a damp cloth to remove any debris before applying your first coat of paint.

Step 4: Apply First Coat

Using a 1" or a 1½" angled brush, first apply paint to the recessed or detailed areas of the cabinet door. Avoid getting brush marks on the flatter and smoother areas. Next, immediately paint the remaining flat areas of the door using a mini roller. Gently roll over any overlapping brush marks or paint drips to smooth the surface. Sherwin-Williams Emerald® Urethane Trim Enamel, Gloss, Semi-Gloss or Satin Sheen is a perfect choice for top coat paint because it has excellent flow and leveling characteristics, which means a smooth and durable finish on cabinets, doors and trim. As for brushes and rollers, the Purdy® ClearCut® brush and White Dove™ Jumbo roller are recommended.

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Step 5: Apply Second Coat

Let your first coat dry for about 24-48 hours, then apply a second coat in the same manner. Again, wait 24-48 hours and once the second coat is dry, you can reinstall your existing hardware, or add new hardware to complete the makeover.

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*WARNING! Removal of old paint by sanding, scraping or other means may generate dust or fumes that contain lead. Exposure to lead dust or fumes may cause brain damage or other adverse health effects, especially in children or pregnant women. Controlling exposure to lead or other hazardous substances requires the use of proper protective equipment, such as a properly fitted respirator (NIOSH approved) and proper containment and cleanup. For more information, call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (in US) or contact your local health authority.