PART 2: Painting 30-year-old Oak Cabinets White
HERE'S WHAT I DID, WHAT I LEARNED, AND A FEW USEFUL TIPS...
STEP 1: SET UP & MATERIALS
Set up the workspace:
Set up for cleaning:
Set Up For painting:
STEP 2: REMOVE THE CABINET DOORS
Keep track of your cabinets!
STEP 3: CLEANING
If you want your beautiful cabinet makeover to last, and hold-up to daily wear and tear, the #1 most important thing you can do is CLEAN YOUR CABINETS FIRST! I can't stress this enough. Once your cabinet doors are detached, you will have to clean them thoroughly. And clean the cabinet bases too! And the drawers! And basically anything that is getting painted.
My 30-year-old oak cabinets were especially crusty, and it took about 5 hours to clean them.
If you don't like to clean, I suggest hiring someone who does to help you. Or invite your friends over and have a cleaning party!
My friend Mychelle was generous enough to help me, and it still took the two of us 5 hours!
Here's what we did:
STEP 4: PRIMING
How to apply primer:
STEP 5: THINGS THAT CAN GO WRONG WILL GO WRONG
Dead bugs! And other debris sticking to the cabinets:
Dried Paint Drips:
Steps to take to prevent yellowing when using White paint:
Choosing an off-white instead of pure white will also mask any yellowing from paint or topcoat. I chose to use a slightly off-white cabinet color, using a mix of Antique White & Snow White Milk Paint, instead of just the bright Snow White. General Finishes High Performance Topcoat is incredibly durable, but can yellow slightly over time, and this is more noticeable on Snow White. It's not noticeable on Antique White. Somewhere in the middle is also a good choice.
Another trick for minimizing yellowing: mix a little bit of paint (up to 10%) into the first 2 coats of topcoat. This worked like a charm with my cabinets.
General Finishes also makes a professional product, Enduro Poly, that can be tinted to match any color (including white) and does not yellow! It must be sprayed on though, so was not an option for my cabinet bases.
***UPDATE*** General Finishes just released a Brushable White Poly which is a non-yellowing white paint and topcoat in one! I'm looking forward to trying it out soon!
STEP 6: PAINTING & SEALING
REMEMBER: Wait until one coat of paint or topcoat reaches "room temperature" before putting on the next coat!
Like most of us, water-based paints like 70 degree, sunny weather. They dry quicker in warm, dry weather, and slower in cool, damp weather. Once you start painting, wait until your paint or topcoat looks dry and feels "room temperature" (ie. does not feel freezing cold) before re-coating.
WHAT I DID: Once the cabinets were cleaned, I layed out about 15 doors on top of paint pyramids on my tables. I sprayed one coat of "product" (primer, paint or topcoat), on each door, let it dry and then sprayed the second coat on the same side. Once dry, I'd swap in the rest of the doors and do the same thing. Next, I did the second sides with the same product. Once two coats were on each side, I gave my sprayer a thorough cleaning. Then I filled it with the next "product" and repeated the process. While waiting for things to dry, I'd go in and paint my cabinet bases to make the most efficient use of the drying times.
STEP 7: RE-INSTALLING THE CABINET DOORS
This is where you will be thankful for those numbers you put on your doors, and the map you made of your cabinets. Keeping the cabinet doors numbered is key to re-installing them! That and an electric screwdriver.
My decision to put new hinges on my cabinets came with a price: 5 screws per hinge. 58 hinges. Numb thumbs. Fortunately some of the holes lined up with the previous hinges, so they were fairly easy to position. But this is really a 2-person job! You can either mount the hinges to the cabinet doors first, then attach them to the base, or the other way around. I found mounting the hinges to the base first then having my husband hold up the door while I attached the hinge to the door worked for me. Once my hands got tired, we'd switch off. The final results were totally worth it!
THE AFTER PICTURES