Prepping the Kitchen Cabinets

Hi!

I am beginning to think that 2014 is the year of making big plans and then being ok when they don’t work out like you think. We still have big plans for the condo, but they’ve been delayed a little bit. Still, we’re on track to have several pieces of our kitchen plans done by the end of the month and I can hardly believe how it’s starting to come together!

About 4 years ago I painted the kitchen cabinets. They were cheap-looking wood and had water damage, and I had no idea what I was doing and used a brush to apply black and white oil based paints. It was a long, miserable project and I prayed that I would never do it again. After reading a lot of blog posts and getting a pep talk from Matt, I tried my hand at the bathroom cabinet and was encouraged that it’s actually doable! Bring on the kitchen cabinets 🙂

Here are what the doors looked like before we started prepping them. See how how bold and shiny they were?

Prepping Kitchen Cabinets - MrsBomb.com

Prepping Kitchen Cabinets - MrsBomb.com

And here is an up-close shot to show how obvious the brush strokes were-

Prepping Cabinets - MrsBomb.com

I’m typing this post with half-painted cabinet doors lying on our dining table (and dining area floor) but the insides of the doors are done so only 2 coats on the front are left! Thankfully, the actual painting part has been a breeze compared to the prepping, so that’s what I wanted to go ahead and share. We painted the bases of the cabinets completely before moving onto the doors, but I’ll just go through the steps we followed for both and just highlight anything that we had to do differently for doors vs. bases.

ONE. Remove the cabinet doors and hardware. Label as you go.

Prepping Kitchen Cabinets - MrsBomb.com

Matt took down the doors while I moved on to step two. I highly recommend using a drill… seriously… borrow from someone if you have to – it’s worth it! Because we wanted to get started on painting the bases right away, we left the hardware on the doors until we were ready to start prepping them. I took pieces of painter’s tape and attached the screws from each door next to the appropriate hinges; I took a third piece of tape and used it to label the door; we used a letter for each section of the cabinets and then numbered them from left to right.

Prepping Kitchen Cabinets - MrsBomb.com

When we were done with the bases and ready to start prepping the doors, I first had to take off the door hardware and the painter’s tape. I labeled the door with a Sharpie underneath where the hinge had been; then I labeled the inside of the hinges and taped all of the screws from a single hinge together and marked them with the door label and a “T” or “B” to indicate top or bottom of the door.

It looks like a jumbled mess but I got the next set neater!

Prepping Kitchen Cabinets - MrsBomb.com

I hope that I never have to do this again, but if I do, I’m going to remove the doors and the door hardware all at once. Then I’ll be able to tape up the screws and label the door once instead of redoing it. Just food for thought! 🙂

TWO. De-gloss.

I wiped down the surfaces with TSP substitute, like I did with my bathroom cabinet. I used Krud Kutter from Amazon and simply followed the instruction – spray a cloth with the cleaner, spray the cleaner onto the surface, wipe with dampened cloth, wipe with a clean cloth, and let stand for 10 minutes. It did a great job of not only cleaning the cabinets, but also de-glossing the paint to get it closer to being ready to paint by roughing up the surface a little bit to give the primer something to adhere to.

 

Krud Kutter

{via}

THREE.  Take care of holes.

*I’ve added this step from the original post because it’s important to drill or fill holes before you’ve sanded and wiped everything down.*

Depending on whether you’re removing, replacing, or adding hardware, your step will vary. Because we’re adding hardware, we drilled holes at this step. I won’t go into all of the details, but I will recommend using these templates, which are just a few dollars each at Lowe’s or Home Depot –

Liberty Hardware Installation Template

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If you’re drilling, take my advice and check everything several times. We had to fill in a lot of holes after we did several doors using the wrong holes on the template… not to mention the holes that we drilled on the wrong end of the door. Whoops!

If you’re removing hardware, fill your holes at this point with some wood filler and make sure that the hole is filled completely.

At this step, I’d also recommend checking the doors and bases for any other spots that you may want to fill or patch. We decided to leave the doors off of the cabinets over our sink, so I used some caulk to fill in cracks and putty to fill in holes we no longer needed.

FOUR. Sand.

We took a shortcut in doing the cabinet bases and left everything in the cabinets and drawers through the painting. I didn’t think that we would be able to do it because of the dust from sanding, but instead of regular sandpaper we used sanding sponges, which made the sanding dust negligible. We got them from Lowe’s for only $5 for a 2-pack; we bought one fine (here) and one medium (here). For all of the surfaces (bases and both sides of the doors), we sanded first with the medium and then with the fine, rinsing the sponges out as needed (at least one per door, as a general guideline).

Lowe's Sanding Sponge (Medium)

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Here are a few pictures to show how roughed up paint looked after we were done sanding  –

Prepping Cabinets - MrsBomb.com

Prepping Cabinets - MrsBomb.com

Prepping Cabinets - MrsBomb.com

Prepping Cabinets - MrsBomb.com

And here are the doors –

Prepping Kitchen Cabinets - MrsBomb.com

Prepping Kitchen Cabinets - MrsBomb.com

Prepping Kitchen Cabinets - MrsBomb.com

 

FIVE. Wipe.

 I wiped everything down with the Krud Kutter again to remove the sanded dust. The doors seemed to have more dust on them, so I wiped them down with a wet rag before using the Krud Kutter.

At this point, everything was crying out for a fresh coat of paint –

Prepping Cabinets - MrsBomb.com

Prepping Kitchen Cabinets - MrsBomb.com

See how the original wood is peeking through in some spots?

Next time, I’ll post about priming and painting and share some updated pictures! 🙂

*Update – I posted about the priming and painting process here!*

If you’re going to try this at home, I suggest reading this post from YoungHouseLove and particularly watching the video at the end of the post.

I’m linking up with – Carrie This HomeBy Stephanie Lynn, DIY Show Off, Your Home Based MomThe Girl Creative, Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity, It’s Overflowing, Inspire Me Monday, Cupcakes and Crinoline, A Bowl Full of Lemons, Home Stories A to Z, We Are That FamilyLiving Well, Spending LessRemodelaholicLink Party Palooza and The Inspiration Exchange

Prepping Cabinets for Paint - MrsBomb

Prepping Cabinets Before Painting - MrsBomb.com

  • http://www.tagsthoughts.com/ trish @ tagsthoughts.com

    I’m so glad you posted this today for WFMW!! We are looking at painting cabinets and would like to do them black just like yours – I will be referencing this post regularly through that process. Thank you!! And they look fantastic!!

    • Helen Archer

      Thank you so much! They’re finally painted and we finished hanging them last night so I’m going to post (hopefully) this week about the painting process. Good luck with yours! Oh and message me if you have any questions – I know how hard it can be and I’d be glad to help 🙂

  • http://pinspiredhome.blogspot.com/ Kim {Pinspired Home}

    Pinning this for when we re-paint our kitchen cabinets (hopefully soon)! The previous owners did a TERRIBLE job, so I’m anxious to do things right this time. 🙂
    Found you at Remodelaholic

    • Helen Archer

      Hi Kim,
      That’s exciting that you’re going to repaint your cabinets too! I think that the two biggest things I learned from the first time I did it were (1) prep thoroughly and 2) use a foam roller 🙂 Please let me know how yours turn out! (And feel free to message me if you have any questions because I’d be glad to help if I can!)

      • http://pinspiredhome.blogspot.com/ Kim {Pinspired Home}

        Thanks for the offer for advice! I have a feeling it will be project for next winter, but I’ll be sure to reference your post when the time comes. 🙂