How well do painted kitchen cabs hold up?

megfitzSeptember 16, 2010

Reason I ask is we want to paint our cabinets white. But every contractor, inlcuding painters, think we're nuts. They say it's hard to do and and will wear over time.

So for those who have painted cabinets, how long has it been and how are they holding up?


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If it is a mistake, it's one that a lot of people are making from what I've read (and one that I am going to be making soon). Not that that's much help if it is a mistake, other than giving us someone to commiserate with.

From what I've learned, using a high-quality paint and proper prep are key, but so far my knowledge is all theoretical. I hope that some people who have done this will share their experiences.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 1:30PM
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There are really a lot of factors involved in a decision like this. The fact is that if you take cabinets that have been previously stained and finished, and paint over that finish, the cabinets will never be as durable as if you were starting out with raw wood. But, if you do the proper prep and use the proper products, they will still be fairly durable.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2010 at 6:04PM
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The above posts are very true.

All I can add is..."Done correctly, painted cabs may outlast the so-so finishes on some construction."

Many cabs only have a coat or two of Lacquer sprayed on. There's many types of this of course, but lacquer does wear NOTICEABLY in a few years...


    Bookmark   September 18, 2010 at 12:11AM
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I have white painted cabinets. They are oak and orignally were stained and looked very dark, dingy, and dated.

I removed all the doors, scrubbed them, sanded them, primed them, and used sherwin williams paint--can't remember the exact type but it was for cabinets.

It was a wonderful improvement. The finish lasted for a couple of years. Then started to wear around the knobs. I did a touch up (no sanding--just quick primer and paint), but the touch up job began to wear in the same place in less than a year.

The cabinets look good everywhere except around the knobs. I am going to touch them up around the knobs again--but this time cleaning really good, sanding, priming and painting.

I would not paint cabinets that looked okay "as is." In our case, the cabinets looked terrible as is, and we decided that if the painting did not improve them, we would get new cabinets. Both my dad and husband were appalled at painting wood and were sure we would end up throwing them out and having to buy new ones. We were all pleasantly surprised at the outcome.

We will eventually get new cabinets, but with another touch up, I think we can hold off for a few more years.

good luck!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2010 at 7:49PM
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We have white painted cabinets in our kitchen that we believe are about 20 years old (corresponding with a remodel the previous owners did). There is some wear on the corners showing and the paint has flaked off in the area above where the coffee pot sits (steam got it, I assume). They could use a new paint job (and will get one when I get around to it), but considering how tough we are on our kitchen I think they are in pretty amazing shape. I think any kitchen cabinets (and these were not top of the line custom cabinets) that can be spruced up with a little paint after more than 20 years and three owners are pretty darn good.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 11:36AM
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I painted our ugly dark oak cabinets several years ago and they seem to be holding up well. My kitchen now looks bright and cheerful, rather than brown and dingy.

I like the smooth finish of an oil paint, but oil yellows, so I went on the web to find an alternative and Cabinet Coat paint was mentioned on many painting forums, so I decided to try it.

I think good preparation is the key to any paint job. I scrubbed the cabinets, sanded, primed with an alkyd made by Zinsser (OK, so I'm old fashioned) and finished with several coats of the Cabinet Coat paint. So far the finish has held up well. I have a few spots that got banged up, so I will be using an artist's paintbrush to fill in the chips.

One thing that helps keep the finish nice is to always use the knobs to open doors and never open doors with greasy fingers.

I can't tell you how much I enjoy my bright new cabinets. My kitchen was such a dungeon before and simply painting the cabinets white has made my kitchen a much more pleasant place to work.

I was able to obtain it from my local Ace hardware store. Just make sure you stir it very, very well and use a good paintbrush.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cabinet Coat paint

    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 9:52PM
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I painted my oak cabinets with CabinetCoat as the primer (a product by BM, I believe) and then BM's Advanced paint. 4 coats total. I noticed a small chip the other day so I got the paint out and 2 seconds later it was fixed. I think mine will last for some time and if they don't, oh well. It's still better than the oak.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2012 at 10:02AM
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We have white painted cabinets now and did in our former home. In our former home, I painted oak (builder's grade) cabinets and they turned out great. My only regret was not doing it sooner. I cleaned them well, applied a coat of liquid sander, a coat of Kilz and then semigloss white paint.

I echo loomis' comment about using cabinet hardware - when we built our home, we didn't install hardware on the doors for about a year and I was constantly cleaning fingerprints. Hardware was a lifesaver!

Our painted cabinets have have held up well in the past and our current cabinets are also wearing well. Love bright white cabinets!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 7:27PM
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