Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Samantha111July 30, 2011

I see lots of people are painting their cabinets. I'm thinking of buying stock cabinets for my kitchen and painting them. I had painted my current cabinets, however, and the seams between the cabinets have cracked. I have also seen this happen on trimwork. How do you handle the seams so they don't crack? I don't hear anyone talking about this issue.

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Samantha, I was hoping Faron or Paintguy would chime in on this as I can only offer logic vs. actual experience. It makes sense to me that the joints between 2 cabinets are going to move relative to one another, just like adjacent pieces of drywall, unless the cabinets are well attached to one another (which is not usually the case). For drywall, you must used joint tape, because if all you do is use joint compound, a crack will eventually form. I don't know if there is something similar available for cabinets, but to get a smooth finish, you would still need to feather out the edges of the "cabinet tape" with some sort of compound that would stick to the cabinets. Even then, with all the bumping and slamming cabinets are subjected to, I would not put any money on some kind of joint repair to hold up long-term.

If it were me, I would put somthing in the joint between the cabinets before painting so that the joints don't receive any paint, or maybe even take the cabinets down and paint them separately.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 4:02PM
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Joint compound isn't flexible, so you'd want to use paintable caulk...I just wish I could say with certainty whether or not the paint would crack over the caulk as well. My gut says no, but it may depend on how much expansion and contraction you have going on.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 4:37PM
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Yeah, I wasn't suggesting the use of joint compound on the cabinets, but rather some analogous product that will stick to the cabinet fronts and allow the edges of the "tape" to be feathered. Paintable caulk right in the joint might work, but I wouldn't bet the farm on it.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 6:05PM
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Yeah, we unfortunately used spackle on the old joints. I don't know how long it took to fail. Could have been many years for all I know. Other than that, the cabinets are not good solid ones and it was also a hack install (by someone else) where they were relocated prior to painting so they've probably had some integral as well as installation movement that wasn't necessary. So not the best of conditions. Although since wood expands and contracts I think it might be expected even under good conditions as on quality door joints for instance.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 11:51PM
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prime first, then caulk, then thin coats of paint sprayed of course.
wouldn't recommend home owner doing kitchen cabinets yourself.
way to much work. For a kitchen of say 20 doors and 10 drawers you would need a 1000 dollar sprayer, a couple of racks to vertically store the doors and drawers for drying, and about 2 weeks of time and at least 4 coats of material per side for a solid color. Maybe 7 coats if you are doing a glazed finish that requires clear coats. not to mention all the sanding and prep work before you even get to paint. Any questions? Do a bath vanity for a warm up just to see the work involved. I do it for a living, its a lot of work trust me on this one, if anyone on here tells you different they are either lying or their work if terrible up close.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2011 at 9:36AM
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