Painting brand-new cherry cabinets??

msmfJanuary 23, 2008

We are moving to a house with a new cherry kitchen. It is beautiful, but I have always preferred white cabinets. Would anyone consider painting new custom cherry cabinets, and if so are there any specific considerations you would recommend we think about?

Thank you!

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If I didn't like the cabinets, why not? Make sure to sand off the clear coat, use a good primer and paint and it should look very nice.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 10:57PM
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But then, I dislike white cabs.

I'd at least live with them awhile first...

    Bookmark   January 23, 2008 at 11:57PM
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My neighbor said you need to use a special kind of paint for the type of durability you need in a kitchen. Also, Do you need to get someone to spray the paint or can they use brushes?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 12:36AM
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I've painted cabinets, and it can be done beautifully, BUT I recommend that you live in the house for a few months before taking a paint brush to "beautiful" cherry cabinets. You may discover that something you thought needed changing actually grows on you (I know I have grown to like things about my house that I thought I would want to change when we bought it).

That said, painting cabinets is fairly easy, but time consuming. Personally, I don't like sprayed paint cabinets, and much prefer the look of brushed on technique. If done right, it will look like a factory finish, but sprayed on always looks ..sprayed on to me). Use a good paint. I did not use a "special" paint for kitchens -- just standard Dunn Edwards latex paint and a poly finish.

Start by removing all hardware and (if changing hardware0 filling any holes with wood putty. Sand off the smooth finish. Clean thoroughly with tack cloth (I actually vacuumed the dust with a shop vac, then used the tack cloth).

Get GOOD brushes -- I'm partial to purdy. You will want different sizes and shapes to take care of the different parts of the cabinets/doors. I liked a 2" angled brush for the stiles and nooks/crannies, and a larger straight brush (3 1/2") for the center panels and back sides.

Start with a good primer. Apply in thin (but not THINNED -- don't water down the paint) coats. Paint one coat on one side -- let it cure for at least 2-3 days -- the harder the better. Flip over and paint the other side. Let it cure. Flip to the first side, apply the next coat, let it cure, etc., until you get the color saturation you are looking for. With a light color, you will probably only need 2 coats.

After paint, I applied three THICK coats of clear poly to give the cabs an indestructible finish.

Always let it cure between coats, lightly sand any bubbles or drips. Clean with tack cloth before applying each layer.

Drill holes for hardware after paint has cured fully.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 1:23AM
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Just a suggestion but when we did our kitchen we drilled the knob and pull holes very first thing - before any sanding or painting. That way we could mark up the doors with measuring lines all we wanted, didn't have to worry about damaging the new painted finish, and knew we could fix any mistakes in drilling we might make. And then when we were done painting, the holes were already there, ready for the knobs.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 3:33AM
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I love white cabinets (and have them), but if I were to move into a home with beautiful cherry cabinets, I'd wait awhile before painting. Look at lots of pictures of kitchens with cherry cabinets, and see if there's a way (accessories, countertops, paint, etc.) to get the look you want without painting them. I've seen cherry kitchens that look dark and depressing to me, and others that are bright and cheerful. The rest of the kitchen makes all the difference.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 8:39AM
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well I cringe at the thought of you painting over nice cherry cabinets (which people pay an upcharge for).

I would suggest living with them for a while at least to be sure - and then if you do want to change, perhaps consider painting over a select few - so you keep some and have some painted as accent pieces for a wonderful two tone look

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 8:46AM
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I agree - wait. You may ultimately decide you do want to paint them, but since you seem to admire something in them since you're describing them as "beautiful" and the painted look merely a "preference" (iow, you don't actually HATE what's there now) maybe give them a chance for a while first?

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 9:01AM
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i say, don't do it...yet! hand painted are never as good as factory finished, IMO. why don't you take a few doors off and replace with some white doors from home depot or sherr's for a few weeks, to see if it makes the difference that you hope it will make. if it does seem better, than follow the painting instructions above...but yikes what a job. remember that kitchen cab finish is especially designed so that it does NOT take on dirt...therefore it will be tough to get it to take on paint also without a lot of elbow grease. good luck!
ps i wanted white, hubby wanted cherry. we got cherry...and i am fine with it now...

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 9:08AM
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I would also say wait--and I say this as someone who is planning to replace beautiful cherry cabs! But I have lived with them 8 years. I don't hate them but since we are doing other work anyway, and I need to replace a couple of cabs, the thought of trying to match something I wouldn not have picked in the first place made me realize I should just go with what I want. Which is white.

That said, part of me is still worried about this and when we are closer to actually doing the work, I will probably have to post to get all GWers to help me with my guilt/angst...

I should mention that if my cherry cabs had a door style I liked, I would find it even harder to replace them; but they don't. Shaker style full overlay (if they were inset would be better), and the uneased edges are getting fairly dinged over time.

When we do start work, my plan is to remove the doors, keep the boxes, and use new Scherr's doors. There are also a couple of cabs we are completely replacing (eg island). I am hoping someone on Craig's list or somehwere will want the doors, etc. and they will go to a good home. Even though I don't want it I do think the cherry is beautiful and it somehow seems bad karma to paint over it!!


    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 10:46AM
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I love both cherry and white cabinets. I had a hard time choosing between the 2.
We decided that we would put the cherry cabinets in, because we knew that down the line we could always paint them white. If you know you want white, go with the white, there is no sense living with something that you don't want.
My problem is that I always like 2 things and can't decide, at least you know exactly what you want.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2008 at 12:40PM
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@hollylh -- when you're ready to get rid of the cabinets, call your local Habitat for Humanity group. We donated our used kitchen cabinets and appliances to them. They resell (on eBay!) to raise funds and you get the tax deduction. Win-win!

I also have cherry cabinets a year and a half old and wish I had put in white. They're beautiful but in this space seem too dark with the black granite counter. My floors are white oak, backsplash is creamy tumbled marble. My golden walls are too warm; think I should try white walls or another color? Love to hear ideas! Thanks. .

    Bookmark   July 12, 2011 at 10:54AM
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