How To Paint Kitchen Cupboards Without The Fails

How To Paint Kitchen Cupboards Without The Fails

When your client calls you in to paint their kitchen cupboards and cabinets, it’s usually because they don’t want to make a mess of it themselves. Painting kitchen cabinets is a great solution when it comes to updating a kitchen without ripping everything out and starting all over again.

Painting kitchen cabinets and cupboards is a brilliant option for stylish homeowners who still love the kitchen that they’ve designed but want to bring the colour bang up to date.

Paints for kitchens mean that homeowners can give their kitchen a fresh new feel without the hefty price tag, but it has to be done carefully to avoid that ‘painted-over’ look and feel. This is why so many homeowners are turning to the professionals to transform their kitchen with the help and support of professional-level paint products that will get oohs and aahs for all the right reasons.

There’s also a number of homeowners that are now opting to paint their brand new kitchen – maybe to capture the light from a new extension or because they simply couldn’t find the tone that they were looking for in the kitchen combination that they love everything else about.

Setting the scene with preparation for painting

As professional painters, decorators and joiners know, there’s more to a paint job than breaking out a fresh paintbrush. The secret to the finest finish starts even before the paint is opened and that’s especially important when it comes to painting the smooth surfaces of kitchen cupboards. It is important to follow these steps, even if you are painting a brand new kitchen that has just been installed.

Sanding will help to roughen the surface of your cabinet so that your paint finds it easier to stick to as well as a smooth, even finish to your paint. This is especially important if you’re painting kitchen cabinets that have already been painted. As with most paint jobs, removing the existing colour is key to ensuring that it doesn’t peak through your new layer. You may imagine that a white or light colour won’t change the new colour, they can still impact the look of the new colour on top. This would be intensified with a darker colour.

When sanding your existing cupboards, you’re also making sure that you’re not adding too many layers to the surface as too many layers could cause the doors to stick or misalign when opening and closing.

What do I need to paint kitchen cupboards?

Once you’ve sanded and removed all the debris caused by sanding, it’s time to line up your paint and primer. While this may be saving the homeowner hundreds – or thousands – of pounds when compared to a new kitchen, skimping of paint products isn’t an option.

Alongside quality paint products, brushes and rollers, you may want to explore kitchen cupboard spray paint for the sleekest finish. With all types of paint jobs, good ventilation is key to keeping fumes to a minimum but spray painting will require protective overalls and masks to prevent you from inhaling the fine droplets within the spray.


Prime time

Before even thinking about applying wood paint to the kitchen doors that you are planning on painting, it’s time to invest in a good quality primer and ensure that you spend time applying it to your kitchen cupboards with care. Even though you won’t see the primer once the cabinets have been painted, your primer sets the scene for the colour layers so it has to be right.

To make sure that you have got the right primer for the job, you can test a patch in a hidden area. As you apply the primer, watch closely for bubbles appearing on your primer work. If you see bubbles popping up, it means that your base surface is not clean enough. You may need to return two steps to the cleaning stage, having sanded away your primer and gone back to the base layer.

Sayerlack Primer

Second-time Sanding

Once you’ve completed your primer, it can be tempting to head straight into the painting process, but painting kitchen cabinets is hugely revealing – more so than other paint jobs – and the smallest imperfection will be clear to the naked eye.

This is possibly the step that makes the most difference between a domestic paint job and a professional finish.

This layer of sanding can be done manually and it requires very fine sandpaper. Rather that sanding away large lumps, the second sanding is simply removing any dust from the surface. It’s also the best way to get rid of any roller fluff or stray paintbrush hairs that have become stuck to the primer. When getting rid of this layer of sanding dust, a vacuum will help you to get into the smaller nooks and crannies.


You might have opted to mask before priming but, if you haven’t yet masked, now is the time. When it comes to paint and cupboards, extreme caution is required during the paint, and masking tape is essential to delivering a high-class and professional finish.

Even the steadiest of hands can cause a small drip. While this can be wiped off a surface, if a droplet of paint gets into the opening and closing mechanism, it could impact the functionality of the cupboard – no matter how good the finish may look! This is especially critical when painting brand new, unused kitchens as your clients will want everything to be great looking and working its best when you hand it back to them.

Masking tape is an essential item for professionals planning the spray kitchen cabinets. While many are familiar with masking tape, it may only be paint professionals that are aware of masking paper. Held in place with masking tape, masking paper absorbs any droplets from spray painting or flicks from a roller or paintbrush and dries out quickly. Easy to scrunch up, it is easier to dispose of and more sustainable than plastic film. As the masking paper holds excess paint, it ensures that paint does not flake or crack off plastic sheeting and fall onto pristine, freshly painted surfaces.

Pro Mask


Colour Matching

With the range of paints on offer covering every tone, shade and hue under the sun, homeowners have become used to matching their paint colours to almost anything, from a favourite summer dress to the colour of their favourite Spring flower. The same goes for getting the right white – or off-white.

At Ultrimax, we take colour matching very seriously. Not only do we have to get the exact shade required but we have to make sure that we can recreate it when it comes time for a touch up. That’s why we utilise the revolutionary and cutting-edge Colormax® technology. As well as a science-driven approach to creating colours, our expert team of paint technicians are on hand to help you to deliver the paint that your client is looking for. With a range of different paints which can be tinted to any colour including, water-based paints, polyurethane paints, acid catalysed and pre catalysed paints, there’s a paint in every colour to match every paint job.

Time to Paint

While we recommend wearing gloves once you start to prime, if you haven’t donned painting gloves now is the time to put them on. Designed around the needs of paint professionals, our painting gloves are 5mil thick and robust enough to ensure that they won’t rip or tear during your paint job, but they’re responsive enough to give you great grip and have a textured surface for an extra tight hold.

Getting the right paint for the job is important when it comes to getting a kitchen project right. It will depend on the homeowner’s preference but it can help to guide them through with questions that they might not have thought of.

Wood paint is the option for kitchens, but is the homeowner after a gloss finish, with an eggshell, or a matt wood paint? Sayerlack’s water based matt top coat can be mixed to any colour profile and has a hardness that is equalled only by its smoothness. This top coat doesn’t rely on chemicals for its performance but it’s environmentally-friendly composition is both kind to the environment and the user – and can be used to spray kitchen cabinets.

For clients that want a natural finish that lets the beauty of the wood shine through, Sayerlack Water Based Lacquer self-seals to protect the wood with a FIRA 6250 severe use rating and can be tinted or completely transparent. Quick to dry, this water-based lacquer is also environmentally friendly and has a matt finish.

Are water-based paints really robust enough?

Water-based paints are increasingly being adopted and accepted as the right product for the job and the right product for the world around us. As well as being less hazardous, water-based paints have improved dramatically as the technology around these products has developed. With a dramatic reduction of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) being emitted through the use of water-based paints and increased regulation, these paints deliver an experience that generates less odours, are less flammable and reduce your disposal fees as they are not a hazardous waste product.


The secret to drying

This may be a harder sell to your clients, who will need a functioning kitchen back as soon as possible, but newly painted kitchen cabinets should be left to dry for around 7 days after painting. The paint takes time to absorb into the wood.

You may or may not have painted the inside of the cabinets. If you have only painted the outside and the doors, you may be able to negotiate a date at which you can return the doors – once properly dried – to their carcasses.

Taking time with a kitchen painting project is the key to a fantastic finish, whether you opt to spray paint or stick with a roller. Ultrimax has got you covered for anything that you could need to turn a tired and lacklustre kitchen into the heart of a home. Contact us for more information or techical advice for painting kitchens.

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