A contractor once told me that it was almost as expensive to PAINT CABINETS as it was to buy inexpensive new cabinets! WHATTTT! Sure enough, I had more than one person confirm this statement so I thought it had to be true. Actually, it can be very expensive to have someone paint kitchen cabinets. That’s why I decided to tackle this project myself. So how do you Paint Laminate Cabinets with NO prep work and no sanding?
I’ll show you how to paint laminate CABINETS with no sanding!
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Here is what the Island cabinets looked like before I painted them. After a bit of research and debate, I decided to go with General Finishes Milk Paint (No, this is not a paid post, just my opinion).
Let me give you a quick run down on supplies.
- Foam brushes
- Regular brushes
- Paint of your choice (I’ve shared what I’m using below).
- Degreaser or cleaner
- Top coat (I’ve also shared a few thoughts on this below).
HOW TO PAINT LAMINATE KITCHEN CABINETS:
- Remove the hardware. Please don’t hate me, but my laziness got the best of me and I did do something I regret; I did not remove the cabinets before painting. I DID tape the hardware and the areas inside the cabinets with blue painters tape.
- When you paint LAMINATE Kitchen CABINETS you need a good primer. Since laminate is a cheap surface that is often very slick and smooth, you need a product that will really “grip” and adhere to the cabinets. After reading lots of reviews, I decided to buy the Zinsser Primer, which covers all surfaces without the need of sanding. Im sure there are other good primers that would work too, I just decided on this one.
3. Before you prime laminate cabinets, clean them really well. If there is a lot of dirt that a good wipe down won’t remove, you need to use a “degreaser” to make sure the surface is completely clean.
4. After wiping down the cabinets and making sure they are totally dry, apply one coat of Primer.
Below is a picture of the cabinets with only one coat of primer. Because the cabinets are laminate and the finish is a bit shiny, I realized it was going to take two coats of primer.
5. Apply second coat of Primer.
6. Now it’s time to paint. The picture above was taken after the first coat. I used a foam brush for this part to eliminate brush strokes and still decided to use three coats!
7. Next you need to apply a top coat (don’t skip this step). For any surface that receives a lot of use, you absolutely must use a top coat. Because I used the General Finishes Milk Paint, I decided to also used their High Performance water based satin top coat.
A couple things to note;
- You could get away with 1 coat of primer, 2 coats of paint, and 1 top coat and it will look great. However, I have two small kids and my kitchen Island gets A LOT of traffic, so I wanted to make sure the paint held up well.
- Side note about the top coat. The polyurethane top coats are known for yellowing over time (especially when applied to white cabinets). My suggestion is to use a Polycrylic rather than a polyurethane. I used this product on my other Painting Laminate cabinets part 2 post. The milk paint top coat sealer is very similar to a Polycrylic top coat.
- The best way, in my opinion, to apply paint is with a good paint sprayer. I used a paint sprayer when I painted the rest of my cabinets. That being said, using the old paint brush and can give you good results too. I used a foam brush to apply the paint to minimize brush strokes and I think it turned out well.
Since this post I painted the rest of our laminate cabinets without using primer. You can decide for yourself how it turned out.
After about a year of living with our painted laminate cupboards, I wrote a comprehensive review on how our painted laminate cabinets have held up; with primer and without.
It’s always a good idea to explore all your painting options before you dive into a big project like painting cabinets. Also, I hope you can learn from my mistakes! LOL.
Check out my VIDEO on how to paint laminate kitchen cabinets
I hope this post has been a huge help if you want to know how to paint kitchen cabinets.
I promise that anyone can transform a drab kitchen with just a few coats of paint. You don’t have to be a pro painter to complete this project, and I guarantee you won’t regret it!
Seriously, if I can make a cheap veneer sticker look good with just a few coats, anyone can!
The post below is my second attempt to paint laminate cabinets with a different method. Spoiler alert: It did not work near as well as this one.
If you want to see my entire kitchen update for less than $4 K click HERE.