Most homes have laminated cabinets in the kitchen because they are pretty cheaper than wood. But it must not stop you from enhancing the look of worn out, old kitchen cabinets who work pretty fine but look quite messy. Instead of replacing the whole cabinet with new ones, you can always paint the old ones to deal with minor wear and tear. There is no need to spend additional expense on contractors because, with a little effort, creativity, and useful tips, you can do this job yourself. Here you will learn about some professional painting techniques and find some helpful directions to get done with the task faster and easier.

Step 1 Preparing

To paint the old, laminated cabinets, you need to prepare the surface first. Start the project by removing all separable hardware from the offices such as knobs, handles and pulls. Use a screwdriver to loosen the nails off hinges to remove the doors entirely. It will enable you to paint the doors and cabinet interior including shelves easily in a better way with little mess.

Once you have detached all the hardware, see if there is anything left that you don’t want to paint but cannot remove either. Cover such fixed equipment with a painter’s tape to avoid getting color on it. Painter’s tape serves significantly when you use paint sprayers. But even if you are using brush or roller, painter’s tape is highly recommended by professional to complete the task faster with ease.

While removing the hardware, don’t forget to label each one of them. Use a marker and painter’s tape to mark each door, handle and knob so when assembling the cabinets, you will not face difficulty in finding the right matches. Place the nails and hinges in a plastic bag to not lose a single thing.


Step 2 Washing

Once you have disassembled the cabinets, you are ready to clean the surface to enjoy better paint finish. Use a degreaser such as trisodium phosphate to clean the laminated surface properly. Follow the degreaser manufacturer’s instructions and be very careful when applying the chemical. Cleaning helps to get rid of dirt and grease marks, to enjoy a smooth and even finishing.

Step WashingIf there are any damaged areas, fill them by using wood filler and use a putty knife to level the fills with the surface. Don’t leave the dents and holes untreated if you want a beautiful finish and smooth results. While filling the damages and break, avoid filling the hardware holes as it will make the assemblage of the cabinets pretty hard. Once the damages are fixed, and the surface is cleaned, leave it to dry completely so you may begin with the next step.


Step 3 Sanding

In this step, you will need sandpaper. Professionals recommended medium sized sandpapers, but anything ranging from 120 to 180 grit will do fine. When it comes to painting, sanding is an important step. It makes the surface rough enough for the paint to stick to it, so you don’t need to apply the paint repeatedly. Make sure you sand all the targeted area properly.

Step SandingWhen sanding, a lot of dust appears that can disturb your respiratory system. Thus, wear a dust mask and safety glasses and if you’re allergic to dust, take someone’s help to do this step. During sanding, waste is produced that you must remove from the cabinet by using the vacuum cleaner. After that, use a damp cloth to clean the surface and let it dry before moving to next step. Cleaning after sanding is essential otherwise you will not be able to paint the surface properly.


Step 4 Priming

Before applying the desired paint color, it’s essential to prime the surface with a high-quality primer. When it comes to laminate cabinet painting, work from inside out. While painting the cabinets’ interior, start from the back and gradually come towards the front. With sprayers, you can cover the corners and small areas easily by only making nozzle adjustments. Make sure you apply it evenly because stronger and uniform base generates better final finishing.

As far you are using a sprayer, priming a more solid surface is not an issue at all. You can cover large areas quickly with sprayers without needing any paint trays or creating any mess. Although priming doesn’t have to be perfect, paint sprayers can make it pretty flawless and even. A smooth, prime coat will give you an excellent base for paint application to enjoy smoother finishing.

Step PrimingWhen you have covered the surface with a primer, use a dry brush or unloaded roller to go over it once again to remove the bubble bumps and excessive primer. This step is called laying off, and it is essential to make uneven priming even.

After the cabinets’ interior, it’s time to prime the detached doors and drawers. Cover each one of them with the even coats of primer and let them dry properly. When priming the drawers, avoid the sides and bottom as they can cause the drawers to get stuck.


Step 5 Painting

Whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or pro painter, paint sprayer is a tool that makes painting easy and quick for everyone. By following a few directions, you can make the most of this advanced tool. Install the sprayer, pour the paint and plug in the unit to get started with the project. Start with the cabinet frames and adjust the nozzle settings to cover tighter corners and larger surfaces. For even spraying, do not take pauses and keep it in a smooth flow.

Step Painting>Afterwards, paint the backs of the cabinets’ doors and front of the drawers. Put them aside to dry. When the paint is wholly applied on the surface, then start painting the front of the doors. You must not paint the drawers sides or backs because it might cause drawers to stick. Also, don’t rush into painting the sides, let the first application dry entirely and then proceed with the next one.

Once you have painted the cabinet interior, exterior, and detached parts, it’s time for the second application. Repeated coats are not necessary, but two even applications generate a better result. Let the second application dry and set by consuming enough time before you put everything together. Allowing the paint to set and cure entirely provides better finishing and durable results.


Step 6 Finishing

The last step is to reassemble the cabinets. If you’re using the old hardware parts, here are a few steps to give them a lovely fresh finish. Get lukewarm water in a bowl and add a little dish soap into it. Dip hardware in the mixture and leave it aside for a few minutes. Afterward, scrub the hardware with a brush and wash it with clean water. Pat it dry and place on the cardboard. Now, apply the primer and proceed with paint spray. Apply thin and light coats for a better result.

Step FinishingTo keep your cabinet shelves safe and protected, consider lining them with padded or decorative liners. Afterward, assemble the cabinets by installing the drawers, doors, handles, and knobs. Take help from the labels and put everything together rightly. You may also put floral vases and candles on the counter for a final exotic touchup!


The Dos and Don’ts of Painting Laminate Cabinets

Dos Don’ts

It’s essential to remove the hardware when painting the kitchen cabinets. It allows the painters to paint the surface smoothly without facing any obstacle or taking unnecessary pauses. If hinges on the doors are not removable, mask them with painter’s tape. But if you can remove them by loosening the nails, it’s better to take down the doors and spray them separately in a larger area such as a garage. Removing all the detachable hardware makes the painting more comfortable, quicker and flawless. You will be able to paint every nook and corner of the cabinet without facing any trouble.


You should never paint the damaged laminate unless you fix it properly. If the laminate is peeling or contains a crack, it can disturb the bonding of paint with the cabinet surface and ruin the final finish. Use wood fillers to fill the breaks and holes and level them with a putty knife. Let the filling dry and then start painting. If the damage is far from fixing, consider re-facing the cabinets with new plastic laminate veneers. Applying paint to the damaged surface will undoubtedly increase the work and expense too.


If you think that you can paint the cabinets without sanding the surface, you are mistaken. Sanding is essential to create a strong bond between the paint and cabinet surface. Use sandpaper to roughen the targeted area and wear a mask to avoid getting dust allergy. You don’t need to sand it much but only make the surface rough enough to allow the paint get a stronger grip. Many people use a motorized orbital sander to get done with this step. Sanding saves you from repeated applications and reduces paint loss as well.


Did you know dirt and sanding waste can affect adhesion of the paint to the laminate surface? Well, now you know! Never leave the dust or grit behind after sanding. Clean the surface properly by vacuuming first and using damp cloth afterward. Also, use a degreaser to remove grease marks and stains. Make sure you clean every corner properly and let it dry before you start the priming procedure. A well-cleaned surface is not only smooth to paint but ensures flawless finishing as well.


It’s always good to double check the paint to make sure that it’s suitable for your job. Testing the paint beforehand saves you from peeling down the paint and redoing the whole process. Apply a small amount of paint to a hidden area of the cabinet to see if it works fine and serves the purpose. Let it dry completely to inspect its bonding power. If some bubbles begin to appear, it means the paint is not adhering to the surface properly. In short, a little test can save you from hours of redo work.


That old primer or paint in your garage is not going to serve the purpose here. For laminate cabinets, use specially formulated primers and paints that stick to the surface pretty fast and efficiently. Always go with a bonding primer that adheres to the surface in a single application and gives a beautiful base coat for oil-based and latex paints. There are also some paints on the market that don’t require primer coating and can stick to the surface on their own.


Primers and paints contain powerful fumes that are not good to inhale. Use masks and gloves to minimize your exposure to such dangerous gases released from the paints and primers. Promote better ventilation by opening the windows and turning on the fans. Keep your children and pets away from the kitchen and garage where the cabinet painting job is taking place. Another thing you need to know is that fumes catch fire pretty fast hence make sure nobody turns the lights on in the painting areas.


In this modern era of efficient paint sprayers, forget about the traditional paint brushes. With a paintbrush, you are more likely to face the brush stroke issue. Don’t leave them behind unsorted and use advanced sprayers to create a streak-free finish. With only two applications, you can enjoy a nice even result. Paint sprayers save you from additional work and never form uneven coatings if appropriately used. It’s time to give your paint brushes and rollers a rest and use sprayers to end the problem of brush strokes once and for all!


Laminate cabinets are way cheaper than wooden cabinets, but it doesn’t mean you cannot give your kitchen a fresh look without replacing them. You can paint the laminate cabinets yourself with a little effort and give your kitchen a new look. By following proper directions and using paint sprayers, you can do this task without taking any expert help. Just take care of dos and don’ts of painting the laminate cabinets and get started with the project. It’s time to repair the minor wear and tear by repainting the cabinets!