painted oak cabinets please post pics

LiliaRothchildJuly 21, 2012

Hi Everyone! We are updating our kitchen (see photo) and have early 90's Oak cabinets. We really cannot afford to replace the cabinets and would like to paint them in a "white". We are putting down a Carrara countertop with an Allegro white subway tile backsplash. Do any of you have painted oak cabinets? I would love to see before and after photos and would love to hear about your experience painting OAK. We are considering hiring someone to do it for us because of the prepwork involved.. However, I have read on this forum of folks that were not happy with their painted Oak cabs. Please let me know your experience and please post some photos with details on the color and materials used. Thank You! Can' wait to see them!

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Kitchen before:

After with cabinets painted Linen White and ubatuba granite:

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 2:21AM
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AnnKathryn your kitchen looks gorgeous! What a transformation! Beautiful, just goes to show what CAN be done. Great job!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 7:48AM
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Oh my! I am speechless! Your kitchen looks stunning! Thank you! Thank you! I have faith that it can be done! I love the color on your cabinets--what is it? We can't decide on the color and I have delayed our painters another week just to be able to pin down a color..

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 10:18AM
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Just saw that you DID put your paint color--Linen White. Sorry, I missed it the first time. Was this a Benjamin Moore color?

Also, I had a question for everyone. We are considering cutting out the panels on the 2 cabinet doors to the left and the 2 to the right of the stove and replacing them with glass. My husband and I are unsure if this will look ok--Any thoughts on that? Have any of you done this? Our GC said it can be done--but I am mostly worried about which way looks best---glass or no glass? Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 10:26AM
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You can cut out the center panels on the uppers on the stove wall without much fuss. I'm just not sure it adds to the "look" in your space. Not bad, but I'm just iffy on the benefit.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 10:56AM
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What kind of glass-frosted so it still hides the things inside or clear? If it is clear, be sure whatever you will put in there is ORGANIZED and PRETTY and matches the rest of the room.
I didn't paint my oak, but restained them instead. There is a lot of potential in oak cabinets:-) I should be getting my Emerald Pearl counter this week or early the following week.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 10:57AM
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Hi Lilia, looks like our kitchens came from the same era, built in 1991. Got the same connecting door on the dining room side of the peninsula. :) I did get new cabinet doors and drawer faces, plus crown molding. I had everything professionally painted (pre-cat lacquer in satin finish). I am very happy with how they turned out, considering how they looked before and the budget I was working with. It utterly changed the look of my kitchen...that, and getting rid of the soffit and hanging cabinet and the hideous fluorescent ceiling light. Good luck. Many people have done this and are glad they did.



    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 11:10AM
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I was hoping linelle would find this!

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 11:35AM
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Lilia - yes, I used Benjamin Moore Linen White. My painter did a fabulous job. It's all in the prep work. Some of the grain still showed through, but that wasn't an issue for me (it is for some people who prefer a more solid look).

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 11:44AM
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Ooops, it's annkathryn who has a door on the outside of her peninsula. My cats love being able to enter on one side and emerge on the other.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 12:02PM
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linelle that door was a pullout box - very hard to pull - that we used to store paper and plastic bags. It wasn't very useful, and no way for the cat to get in (fortunately)!

In fact all the cabinets in the kitchen could have been used as an example of how much space is wasted by framed cabinets. See the drawer bank to the right of the trash compactor? Four tiny little drawers, the top one not even tall enough to hold my silverware. I sold the house last year and am going with frameless cabinets in my new kitchen.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 4:30PM
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I love the stain! Nice to know that we have options. I was thinking about staining our island instead of painting it white--just to give a little contrast to the white of the kitchen. What color/brand did you use? It's a very nice color.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 12:33AM
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I stripped the original stain using Stripper-X. Then used 3 coats of Varathane in Dark Walnut. I did them myself. Quite a process and loads of time. They aren't PERFECT, but I saved around 8K doing them myself. If you can paint and sand and have someone to help you, you can probably do them in a week. I have no help and 2 kids(my husband watched my kiddos a few times while I stained, but he is worthless when it comes to paint or the like), so mine took-well-longer than they should have;-)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 12:52AM
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My cabinets were pickled maple (pink!), not oak, but they painted up beautifully. Go for it!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 6:30AM
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Yes, I painted mine myself and found it to be a labor of love. Its very time consuming, but not hard, you can def do it yourself and save tons of money. Our cabs were good quality and like new still from 1975, so couldn't justify ripping them out. Here is our before....

and after (sorry old pics from December and not finished kitchen :/

I had never painted cabs before and was nervous I would regret it when paint started chipping everywhere. But I luckily got in contact with a painter over the internet (Pearl Painters) in Oregon and I live in Ohio! He so kindly walked me through the process and what products to use. Here is what he told me and I did....

1. Fill in hardware holes you aren't using (like if you have two holes for handles and need one hole for knob pulls).
2. Cleaned with Krud Kutter
3. Sanded with 220 sand paper, then wiped down clean with TSP
4. Prime with an oil based primer, I used Zinzser from Lowes. two coats is what we needed, then sanded again.
5. Painted cabs with Benjamin Moore's Waterborne Satin Impervo paint and we chose Linen White color. I think I ended up with 3 coats. I used a little green roller that was very foam like that I bought at our BM store to paint cabs and had to use one of those cheap sponge brushes to get the inside trim.

It is time consuming, but easy work. I had our doors in our garage for about a month easily and just painted the bases where they were at in our kitchen (hung).

Good Luck! Your vision sounds beautiful!!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 9:27AM
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Missyv, those cabinets look new! AMazing transformation, it looks like a totally different kitchen! WOW! I would have never imagined that your dark stain would be able to be covered up... DId you sand down to the bare wood, or just enough to get rid of the finish? What is on your island? Is it granite?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 9:40AM
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Sophie Wheeler

If you are paying someone to paint your cabinets, you will not be that far off in price from replacing them. The prep work involved is extensive, and if done correctly, the labor charge for all of that is 3-7K. If you are paying less than that, then you probably aren't receiving the proper prep work for a quality job that will stand the test of time. And you can buy all new cabinets for that small kitchen for that price. With all the deals out there that American Woodmark/Shenendoah have going currently, I'd be very surprised if all new cabinets in white for that kitchen topped 7K. And that would include a tweaked layout that has goodies in it like a pull out trash and a couple of organizers.

Paint IS a great way to transform your kitchen. But it's only really a cost effective way if you DIY the job.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 9:43AM
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I painted my bathroom vanity which was oak.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 10:28AM
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We are in the process of painting our oak cabinets now. I can post pics later (when I'm not at work) if you are interested. We are doing the work ourselves. LIke the previous posters have said, it is time consuming. We bought a house in foreclosure and gutted the kitchen. I found great cabinets, in a horrible pickled oak finish, at restore. There is some great advice on this forum, and we also found a good article on painting cabinets on the this old house magazine website. Here is the process we are using:
(1) removed all doors and hardware--you have to fill in holes if you are changing hinges or knob position.
(2) rub down with liquid sander/deglosser. This cleans and roughs up the finish.
(3) Sand with 100 grit paper, vacuum, and wipe down with mineral spirits or tack cloth. Seems duplicative of step 2, but this what was recommended to us so we did it.
(3) Fill in grain, and fill dents. We used thinned down MH ready patch and applied with a paint brush. This was much less expensive than Brushing Putty and filled the grain well, but not perfectly.
(4) Sand with 220 grit paper, vacuum, and wipe down with mineral spirits or tack cloth.
(5) Prime (we used instl-x stix, which was expensive and I don't think it worked as well as the much less expensive kilz or zinzer primers
(6) Sand again with 220 grit paper, vacuum, and wipe down with mineral spirits or tack cloth.
(7) Caulk all gaps on doors and frames. We found we had to sand a bit again after this step, which meant more vacuuming and cleaning.
(8) Paint--we are using Ace Cabinet and Trim (we couldn't find cabinet coat in our area). This paint is good at concealing brush strokes, but does not coat as well as some other paints and takes FOREVER to dry. Not sure I would use again.
(9) Sand(again!!) with 220 grit paper, vacuum, and wipe down with mineral spirits or tack cloth
(10) Paint final coat.
(11) let cure (about one week).
(12) reattach hardware and hang
We just finished step 8. So I am not sure if two coats of paint is going to be enough. Started step one two weeks ago, and we probably have another ten days to go with the sanding, painting, and curing still to go. Not a quick process by any means. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 11:12AM
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I wonder where you get >>I have read on this forum of folks that were not happy with their painted Oak cabs. Over all, when someone has taken the time to do the proper prep work and wasn't trying to sleeze by with cheap and easy, the satisfaction levels are very high. And the results are overwhelmingly beautiful.

I find the most common question for people painting or "updating" their oak cabinets, or any cabinets in general, is how to hide the grain. This has also been extensively discussed.

I have painted oak cabinets. And right now, I also have painted (paint grade) maple, some weirdly stained cherry, and a few mystery woods. I've even followed the directions and successfully painted melamine cabinets that were too good to toss. They're now in my mudroom and look great.

If you do it right, it's a lot of work.
If you don't, you get what you put into it.
Your choice! :)

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 11:58AM
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I did not sand down to bare wood, just wanted to get that clear coating off that we had on our doors ...i think the Krud Kutter also helps with that process.

I wanted to say a few more things too :) You can sand in between every coat if you want, it just took so long, we had a ton of doors, that I did not. Honestly, I cannot remember how many times we sanded, but sanding just gives you a nice smooth finish, so the more you sand, the more soft and silky :)

And, the upclose shot is of the cabs we had made. I needed one new cab right there to meet the end of that counter top run, otherwise, the counter top would have been longer than where my top cabs ended. The cabinet maker did a great job making it for me to match my existing doors. He primed it for me and I painted it. The primer he used was VERY nice, I am not sure what it is, but it was more of a clear coating, not white like regular primer, and those doors feel very silky :) if you have that as an option, it would be worth it if not expensive....otherwise stick with what I said.

Also wanted to say we have been living a year now with the painted cabs and no problems at all. They wipe down well and no chipping. No regrets! Do it, you will be glad you did!!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 1:12PM
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I couldn't afford new cabinets either BUT there is hope!!!

Your cabinets will look awesome painted. Don't worry what others say about painted oak. I haven't had any issues and I'm so happy the orange oak and brass are out of my life :)

I used Benjamin Moore's Advanced paint and CabinetCoat as a primer. The Advanced paint levels beautifully! I haven't painted since 6th grade and I think mine turned out great! Take some time to check out my blog. I have all the steps and TONS of pictures of the process. It took me almost two months to paint all of mine. I put on 4 coats total!

Here is a link that might be useful: Oak Cabinets/DIY Kitchen remodel blog

    Bookmark   August 7, 2012 at 4:27PM
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