Update with paint
Summer is a good time to redo kitchen cabinets. The warm weather invites a more casual lifestyle, simple meals and barbecues can be prepared and eaten in the backyard, and there’s often more time to get the work done. Longer daylight hours stretch time too.
However, before planning a paint job, be mindful of how heat and humidity affect paint drying and curing. If your home is air-conditioned, this will help. Even though the paint will feel dry to the touch in 24 hours, allow a week for the paint to cure, or dry all the way through, Here are some tips for readers who want to renovate their kitchen cabinets with paint.
I want to paint my kitchen cupboards and need some help. The bases are wooden and the doors are ’80s style with wood bottoms and laminate-covered doors. How would I paint them? Thanks.
~ Mary Pat
Dear Mary Pat;
The good news is that these cabinets are still in sound working order, so rather than the expense of replacement, a cosmetic update will renew your kitchen. I did a Painted House show on this very theme and the results were remarkable. The ’80s style cabinets were originally white melamine with wood handlebars at the bottom.
The secret to a professional job is proper preparation. Proceed by removing all the cabinet doors and hardware (hinges). Wash the surfaces with TSP, which is a heavy duty cleanser that not only removes dirt and grease, but also some of the shine. Wipe dry and sand the clean surface with medium grade sandpaper to give it some tooth. Wipe away the sanding dust and apply a coat of high-adhesive primer with a low-pile roller and let dry overnight.
Apply two coats of water-based paint with a low pile roller. Fine-grade sandpaper should be used for a light sanding between coats. Finish with two to four coats of acrylic varnish, the high gloss is most durable.
The wooden handlebars were modernized with two coats of silver metallic paint and high-gloss varnish. It makes a neat tie-in to the steel appliances. To break up the monotony of so many cabinet doors, a few were painted a light blue.
We would like to add a bit of colour to our white melamine kitchen cabinets. The door surfaces are not smooth, but have horizontal lines imbedded about 5/8-inch apart boxed in with a smooth two-inch frame. Any suggestions on an application that would suit this design would be helpful.(Appliances are white.)
I’ve seen this design of kitchen (and bathroom) cabinetry in homes and condos built in the ’90s. One option is to develop a subtle highlight to the ridged section of the doors. Apply a basecoat to the doors — frames and centre ridges covered completely in a pastel colour of your choice, such as blue, green or orange. When the base coat is dry, tape off the smooth frame with low-tack painters’ tape, and apply a wash of white paint with a rag moving horizontally in the direction of the lines.
Wipe back with a clean rag, leaving traces of the whitewash in the lines. This is a very soft, veiled effect that adds interest and character. Before painting, prepare your doors according to the directions above.