Three steps to ensure ‘even finish’ when painting kitchen cabinets

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Learning how to paint kitchen cupboards, instead of replacing them, is a great cost-effective way of improving the heart of the home. While it may seem like a daunting job, an expert has shared how Britons can easily paint their cabinets at home in three steps.

Michael Rolland, DIY expert and MD of The Paint Shed, explained: “Painting kitchen cabinets is potentially the most dramatic difference you can make to your kitchen on a budget.

“You can either choose to refresh the current stain or colour, or to give the kitchen an entirely new look, choose a different colour for your cabinets. Painting kitchen cabinets is a relatively simple process.”

Step one

For the ease of wiping the cupboards down with a cloth, the expert said painting with a semi-gloss paint is recommended. Any flatter, and it will have a chalky feel when it is wiped.

The expert said: “Using a high-gloss paint will highlight every single brush stroke or roll mark, so unless you’re an exceptional painter, then a semi-gloss is preferable.”

Michael recommended using Modern Eggshell paints from Farrow and Ball or Intelligent Eggshell from Little Greene.

Step two

Preparation is key when preparing for a project like this, and it must be done if wanting to achieve a professional finish. 

This means clearing out kitchen cabinets and taping plastic sheeting to worktops and floors to help protect finishes.

The DIY expert said: “Clean your kitchen cabinets using a degreasing agent like Trisodium phosphate (TSP) to get any grease off of cabinet surfaces. 

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“Pay particular attention to areas around the handles, underneath the cabinets, and under the bottom of the edges of cupboard doors. This will ensure that the paint adheres to the surface properly.”

Step three

Give the cabinets a light stand with 220 or 400 grit sandpaper, depending on the finish of your cabinets. Cabinets with an open grained finish like wood will need a heavier grit sandpaper.

The pro added: “After standing, remove the cupboard doors, laying them flat and brushing on a primer such as Farrow & Ball Interior Wood Primer & Undercoat.

“When they are dry, flip the cupboards over to prime the other side. Once the primer is completely dry, give the cupboards a light sanding to smooth out brush strokes.

“For a really smooth finish repeat the process and use a finer sandpaper the second time. Then vacuum and wipe your cabinets with a tack cloth to clean away any debris.”

Homebase recommended thoroughly washing the kitchen cupboards with sugar soap before painting, rinsing with clean water and leaving them to dry.

Step four

Using a good quality brush or smooth roller, apply paint to the cupboards. The DIY expert recommended applying a thin coat before letting them dry flat to avoid drip marks.

When dry to the touch, turn them over and paint the other side, waiting a few hours before applying a second coat. Michael added: “Applying the paint in several thin coats is better than just two thick ones.

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“It not only gives a better, even finish but also makes it more hard-wearing.” Following these steps carefully is crucial for a professional finish without the price tag.

Homebase said: “Work from top to bottom and crisscross your strokes for an even finish. Leave to dry for eight hours before repeating.

“After 24 hours, apply the Maison Déco Kitchen Extra Strong Varnish to protect the surface. Always ensure to paint in thin layers to build up to your desired colour.

“Once finished, you can use gentle cleaning products and a non-abrasive sponge to clean your new kitchen cupboards.”

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