Can You Paint Kitchen Cabinets Without Removing the Doors?

Image of a kitchen cabinet but Can You Paint Kitchen Cabinets Without Removing the Doors?The simplest and quickest way to update your kitchen’s style and the overall look is by repainting the cabinets. To do this, most painters recommend that you remove the cabinet doors, paint them separately, then replace them. However, this process takes a lot more effort and adds to the time needed to paint your cabinet. So, today’s article answers this question, Can You Paint Kitchen Cabinets Without Removing the Doors?

Yes, you can paint your cabinets with the doors still on. You can paint efficiently as long as you adequately protect the surrounding areas and use a paintbrush that can easily get into the hard-to-reach areas.

Painting your cabinets with the doors on actually offers the advantage of not having to wait for one side to dry before you continue or losing and misplacing some of the hardware. This article looks at how to paint kitchen cabinets with the doors on and offers expert tips on the different ways to do it.

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

When done well, painting your kitchen cabinets will breathe new life into your kitchen. Below is how to best do that.

Step 1: Gather Your Tools and Materials

Some of the tools you will need to paint are a brush and a paint pail. The brush you choose will depend on the type of paint you plan to use. If you are using oil-based paint, ensure that you are using a natural-bristle brush. You could also use a synthetic bristle brush that has been specifically designed to be used with oil paints.

If you are using latex paints, get a brush that has synthetic bristles. This choice is because natural bristles will expand when they contact water, causing a poor final result. Invest in a good-quality tapered brush as well as a trim brush. 

A paint pail is another piece of equipment that will make our work infinitely easier. Painting out of the can, my prove inconvenient as the paint drips will likely cause a huge mess.

A painter’s pail will have a side handle for convenient carrying, a magnet for holding the brush upright when it is not in use, and an inside lip to wipe excess paint off the brush.

Some of the other tools you will need include safety equipment, a cleaning bucket and sponge, a roller handle, which is optional, and a sanding block. The materials you will need include some rosin paper, masking tape, cleaning agents, sandpaper, primer, and paint. 

Step 2: Preparation

Before beginning to paint, you must get all the necessary preparations out of the way for a smooth and seamless job. The preparations include:

  • Assess the condition of your cabinets. If your kitchen cabinets were previously painted and the paint is in good condition, you can easily paint over that paint. However, if the old paint is peeling, cracking, and in overall poor condition, you will likely need to strip off the paint and work with a bare surface.
  • Protect the other kitchen surfaces from any accidental paint spillage. Protect the floors around your cabinets using drop cloths and use rosin paper to cover the countertops. You must hold down the paper with masking tape to ensure that it stays in place. 
  • You will have a much easier time if you empty y
  • our cabinets before painting. Also, remove all accessories from the nearby countertops and keep any furniture out of the way. 
  • Thoroughly clean your cabinets, especially if you have been using them for some time. While not usually readily visible, food residue, grime, and grease will keep your paint and primer from adhering. One mixture you can use to clean your cabinets is a mixture of water and trisodium phosphate. After cleaning the surface, be sure to wipe it dry using a clean rag.

Step 3: Sand the Cabinet Surfaces

Sanding your cabinet surface will help dull the surface so that your primer will adhere properly. This step is crucial for those who are painting surfaces that have a clear wood finish.

Use the sanding paper with the sanding block for flat areas and fold the sandpaper to get to curved and hard-to-reach areas. After you finish sanding, vacuum the surface to remove the dust and wipe it with a tack cloth or a damp cloth if you don’t have a tack cloth.

Step 4: Prime the Cabinets

Priming your surface before you paint is a great way to provide a stable surface for your paint to adhere to and hide any surface stains. Priming is also crucial when you are transitioning from a very dark color to a very light color.

Saturated colors will usually show through lighter paint, so a primer is a great way to gauge how the new color is covering. Other situations where priming would be necessary are if the surface you are painting is very porous and the old paint is very glossy. 

Apply the primer using thin methodical strokes while going in the same direction, and make sure that you cover all the surfaces.

While priming is undoubtedly important for some situations, you can forego it in others. Situations, where you would need no primer, include if your cabinets are extremely clean and in excellent condition, painting over one color with similar color, and using self-priming paints.

Step 5: Paint the Cabinets.

After the primer dries completely, you can then proceed to paint your surface. Apply a paint coat to all the surfaces you have primed and finish with top to bottom strokes, painting along the grain.

The secret to painting kitchen cabinets without removing the doors is to get a small artists’ brush that will prove helpful in going around the hinges and painting very narrow spaces.

Allow the first coat to dry fully (depending on the manufacturer’s instructions, lightly sand the surface and wipe clean, then apply the second coat of paint. The second coat could be your final coat, but if the color is not as saturated as you would like, you can add a third coat.

If you want to protect your cabinets and ensure they last long fully, you could cover the surface with a clear coat of polyurethane after the final coat of paint has dried completely.

How Do You Paint Cabinet Hinges Without Removing Them?

Painting door hinges is a process that is fraught with several potential errors. Applying paint directly over unprepared hinges will likely see much flaking since metal is not great for paint adhesion.

You will need to apply an acidic etching primer to your hinges to condition them. After protecting the nearby areas and applying the primer, coat each hinge with an oil-based enamel and allow it to dry fully. Since you are not removing the hinges, you will need to protect the adjacent surfaces from overspray. Keep opening and closing the doors to prevent sticking.

Do You Paint Both Sides of Kitchen Cabinet Doors?

Yes, it is important to protect both sides of your cabinet doors. These sides are also highly visible, so only painting one side would ruin the aesthetic and cause non-uniformity. If you are painting the cabinet doors without removing them, you will have an easier time since you don’t have to wait for one side to dry before painting the other side fully.

Does Spray Painting Door Hinges Last?

No, they do not. Most painters recommend against painting door hinges. The painting will ruin the integrity of your door hinges and cause them to have a reduced life span. If you are keen on painted hinges, you can purchase hinges that already have a primer coat on them and that you can repaint with special metal paint.

Should You Take Door Off Hinges to Paint?

You can remove the door, or you can paint it without removing it. Painting the door while it is in place allows you to save a lot of time and effort. The secret to painting doors without taking them off the hinges is to use a small artist’s brush to apply paint into those tight, hard-to-reach spaces.

How Much Does It Cost to Have My Cabinets Painted?

There is no specific figure for repainting kitchen cabinets that will work for all situations. The price of painting depends on factors such as the number of cabinets you have, the sizes of your cabinets, the materials you plan to use and the tools you may need to purchase, and whether you plan to do it yourself or get a professional to do it.

Answering the questions below in depth will act as a great guide to determine the approximate cost of the project.

  • Kitchen and Cabinet Size

The size of your kitchen usually determines the linear feet of cabinets in your kitchen that need to be painted. Most professional painters will charge you by the square footage of your cabinets, while others will go by the number of cabinet doors. You will also need to buy more paint and primer and more drop cloths for a bigger kitchen with bigger cabinets. 

  • The Cabinets Layout

The complexity of a paint job can increase depending on the layout of the cabinets. Cabinets with tight angles are installed in corners, or other constricted spaces are more difficult for a painter to paint without knocking against other surfaces. Some painters will charge more for the extra labor and time that this requires.

  • The Cost of Paint 

Higher quality or brand paint will likely cost much more than a standard brand. Before deciding on a paint brand to use, it is a good idea to consult with a professional on the wear you expect the cabinet to endure and what brand they recommend. If you choose to pay a professional, they will likely factor in the cost of the type of paint they use.

  • The Cost of Primer

If you choose to apply primer before the topcoat, you will also need to factor in this cost. Most good-quality primers will cost around 40 to 60 dollars per gallon. The amount you will need will depend on the square footage of your cabinets that needs to be painted.

  • Cost of Tools

If you are a first-time painter, the cost of the painting tools will likely add a significant amount to the overall cost. You will need to buy tools such as paintbrushes, tape, paper, a pint pail, and other tools you will need. If you are a frequent painter, we recommend investing in a high-quality set of tools for future use.

Should You Paint Underneath Kitchen Cabinets?

Choosing whether to paint underneath your cabinets or not is largely a matter of personal preference. Some prefer to paint it, while others stain it, and yet many others leave it as it is. Before deciding on what to do, below are some situations you should not paint underneath your cabinets.

  • If you plan to use white paint, the smoke produced during the cooking process will settle underneath your cabinet, making it require a fresh coat of paint often.
  • If you are going to put steaming appliances beneath your cabinets, any paint on there will peel often.
  • If you are not ready for the messy job that is painting underneath your cabinets. Painting underneath cabinets will result in drips, corners, and runs for each cabinet, creating a large mess.

Some of the reasons you can choose to paint beneath your cabinets are:

  • To get a uniform paint job in your kitchen.
  • If the surface underneath your cabinets has significant flaws.
  • For aesthetic purposes.

How Can I Paint My Kitchen Cabinets Without Brush Marks?

While fresh paint gives new life to your cabinets, brush marks can make your work look amateurish and messy. You can best avoid brush marks by spray-painting or using a foam brush. Spraying paint onto your cabinets is also much faster than painting them. 

If you choose to spray paint your cabinets, we recommend buying a sprayer instead of using canned paint. The reason for this is because canned spray paint will only be viable if you plan to spray only one or two cabinets since one can only cover approximately 20 square feet.

Buying canned paint for all those cabinets will dramatically increase the cost of painting. If you plan to continue doing DIY paint projects, buying a high-quality paint sprayer would be well worth the cost. 

Since it is difficult to control paint mist fully, we recommend removing most sections of your cabinets and painting the outside. Removing the cabinets will also allow you to achieve a smooth, drip-free surface if you paint on a horizontal surface. Remove the cabinet hardware and store them safely in labeled bags. Remove the cabinet boxes if you can, but if you can’t, paint them as they are. 

The process involves in spray painting cabinets is almost the same as painting using a brush. For preparation, you will need to protect the areas close to the painting site from spray paint, thoroughly clean the cabinets, sand the surfaces, apply primer, then spray the paint. When applying the spray paint, you must remain patient and apply lightly.

Rushing spray paint could lead to splatters, drips, and areas that dry unevenly because of too much paint. After applying as many coats as you feel you need, you can reassemble the cabinets and return them to your kitchen. If you want to update further and renovate your kitchen, this is also a great time to change the knobs and pulls.

Is It Cheaper to Refinish or Replace Cabinets?

The choice to refinish or replace will largely depend on the state of your current cabinets. If your cabinets are made from high-quality wood and are less than ten years old, refinishing them will save you time and money.

However, if your cabinets have significant damage such as warping, water damage, mold, and other problems that impact the material’s quality, you will need to replace them. Covering up such problems can only act as a temporary solution that adds avoidable costs. You can also choose to replace the cabinets if they are not in a style that you are comfortable having in your kitchen.

How Long Do Painted Cabinets Last?

If you follow all the correct steps and do the job well, painted cabinets should last you for several years before you need a new pain job. While areas that experience high traffic and use might wear out faster, you can easily correct this with a small paint job. To guarantee a long and durable finish, some of the elements you should consider are:

  • Skill

You must make sure you are skilled or at least knowledgeable enough of the entire process before you begin painting. If you don’t believe you are, it will overall be cheaper and less frustrating to hire a professional to do it for you.

  • Preparation

Preparation is just as, or maybe even more important than the paint job itself. Adequate preparation will ensure that your paint adheres truly and well to the surface.

  • Materials

You do get what you pay for. While you certainly don’t need to break the bank, buying high-quality products will ensure that your paint looks good for a good long while. 

Is It Better to Spray or Roll Kitchen Cabinets?

While these methods are great for painting kitchen cabinets, most painters agree that spraying your kitchen cabinets always gives the best results. A sprayer will apply the paint evenly to achieve a smooth, professional look and work much faster than a brush.

Rolling your paint on also gives great coverage and finish. Like the sprayer, this method is also preferable as it helps you do away with the unsightly brush strokes that using a hand brush may leave behind. You can roll or spray depending on your preference or do a combination of the two for your project.

How Many Coats of Paint Should You Put On Kitchen Cabinets? 

Most expert painters recommend using at least two coat paints on top of a coat of primer for your cabinets. However, you can increase the number of coats at your discretion, especially if you are painting a light color over a darker, more saturated color. Some paints, such as the paint and primer combination, are marketed as fully applicable in one coat since they are thicker, though most painters still recommend using at least coats.

How Do You Paint Kitchen Cabinets Like a Pro?

It is possible to paint your kitchen cabinets by yourself and get professional results. You need to ensure that you follow all the due processes mentioned above and use high-quality tools and materials. Proper preparation is the key to getting amazing work. Cleaning, sanding, and priming your surface will ensure that your paint adheres easily to the surface. Also, certain tools such as a sprayer are great for getting that smooth, even finish.

Do You Have to Prime Cabinets Before Painting?

Most paint manufacturers recommend that you apply a coat or two of primer before you apply the paint. However, priming will add high costs to your projects and take a lot of time since it is as much work as laying on a color coat. While it is recommended that you prime your cabinets before painting, it is not compulsory, and there are situations where you can get away without doing it. 

So, for what situations do you need to prime your surface?

  • To Cover Stains

A primer with stain-blocking properties will help hide stains and any other discoloration that could show through the final coat of paint. Primer also helps to prevent bleed-through from any colorings and natural blemishes on your material. 

  • To Provide a Stable Surface.

This function is especially crucial when you are dealing with porous materials. Primer will help seal the original material so that when you apply your coat of paint, it does not soak into it and needs more paint. 

If the surface is also too glossy, you will have a problem with paint adhesion since it may not lock onto the surface. Primer will provide a great surface for the paint to adhere to. 

  • If You are Painting a Lighter Color Over a Darker Color

More saturated paint colors will easily show through lighter and less saturated colors. A neutral-colored primer will allow the true color of your paint to show and help you achieve the look you were going for. 

The situations in which you may not need to use primer include:

  • If the Surface Is Very Clean

If the cabinets you are painting are extremely clean and in great condition, then you can get away with getting straight to the paint. Trisodium phosphate mixed with water is one of the best solutions you can use to get a perfectly clean surface. 

  • If You Want to Paint Over a Similar Color

If the previous color is close to the new color you are painting, the need for primer is greatly reduced though not entirely eliminated. 

  • If You are Using Self Priming Paint

Self-priming paint is a paint to which primer has been added and is thicker than regular paint. Since it is thicker, it forms a thicker coat, and some are advertised as only needing one coat. While it is still preferable to use primer then paint, this is a good compromise for surfaces in great condition.

How Do I Keep My Painted Cabinets from Chipping?

Chipping paint can quickly suck any joy you had from the new look of your painted cabinets. You can easily correct this problem and avoid it easier. Below are some of the ways you can prevent your painted cabinets from chipping. 

  • Do Proper Prep Before Painting

You must take your time and be patient when painting your kitchen cabinets. Avoid rushing through the preparation stage to get to the painting part quicker. Paint will usually peel from the surface because you did not prepare your surface well.

To get the best results, ensure you remove any old paint in poor condition that would keep your fresh coat from adhering to the surface. Even if the previous pant is in good condition, be sure to smoothen the surface by scraping and sanding any bumpy areas. 

Cleaning the surface is also of utmost importance. A clean surface offers the best binding for primer and paint. Use a grease-cutting cleaner on your cabinets to remove any grease that would prevent proper adhesion. Dust and grime will also give your cabinets a textured look far from the smooth look you want.

  • Use Primer

Although you can paint your cabinets without primer, most experts recommend using it. There are primers you can buy that are specifically designed to keep your paint from peeling. Look for primers that are advertised as ‘peel bonding’ or ‘peel stop.’

They also help form a tight bond that ensures that the next coat of paint adheres well to the surface. If your previous coat of paint is not chipping or peeling, you can apply this primer directly to the old paint.

  • Protect Your Paint With a Topcoat

A top coat helps to provide a protective barrier between the environment and the paint. This barrier is especially important for areas such as the knobs and handles, which come into frequent contact with your hands and fingernails, putting them at risk for chipping.

  • Tighten Hardware

Friction from loose hardware is a major cause of chipping in paint. Tightening any loose hardware will keep it from contributing to your paint chipping.

Do You Need to Sand Painted Cabinets Before Repainting?

You can choose to sand your cabinet though it is not a must in certain circumstances. The main aim of sanding cabinets before repainting is to dull and scruff up the surfaces so that your primer will adhere well to the surface. The sanding you will need will depend mostly on the main finish of the cabinet. Most sealed finishes will require at least a light sanding to roughen up the smooth surface.

You can choose to skip the sanding if you are moving from a newly painted surface to another or if your cabinets and raw and unvarnished. However, if you choose to skip the sanding, you will need to use a deglosser to remove any varnish from your cabinets and prime them so that the paint adheres well.

Final Thoughts

Painting your kitchen cabinets breathes new life into a tired, monotonous room. It is also especially important since the kitchen is the room where family members spend most of their time and is, in essence, the center of any home. Still, the question remains,

Can You Paint Kitchen Cabinets Without Removing the Doors

Yes, you can! If you are creative about it, painting with the doors on could be more efficient in the long run than removing the doors and painting them separately. 

We appreciate you for reading this article to the end, and we hope it has been educative and impactful. Talk to us about any questions, comments, and suggestions in the comment section below.