REFACE, REPLACE, OR PAINT YOUR KITCHEN CABINETS ?
The choice is yours so make sure you weigh all your options so that you will behappy with your decision.
At Classic Kitchen Fronts we want you to be a satisfied customer and to do that we will take you through the
decision process step by step. If you are unhappy with the look of your kitchen, you need to have answers to
the following questions in order to make an educated decision.
1) How much of a budget doI have to work with ?
2) Am I updating my kitchen to expedite the sale of my home ?
3) Are there any timerestraints ?
4) Am I happy with the layout of my kitchen ?
5) Are my cabinets structurally sound ?
6) Would I like to add more cabinets and/or counters ?
7) Is my kitchen functional ?
8) Would I like to enlarge my kitchen ?
9) Are my cabinet doors in good condition ?
10) How much of a mess am I willing to deal with ?
11) Do I have the time, energy and know how to tackle the job myself ?
Painting or refinishing a kitchen could be a viable option forsomeone with a very small budget. As long as
you are content with the layout ofyour kitchen and your cabinets are in good condition, no chips or cracks. Hereare
some pro’s and con’s to painting and/or resurfacing a kitchen. Justremember, “There never seems to be enough time
or money to do the job right,but there is always enough to do it over again.” Another words, whatever option
you decide togo with, get it right the first time.
PAINTING YOUR KITCHEN CABINETS
Beaware that even the highest-quality paint job can't cure the evils of poorkitchen design or hide
fundamental structural flaws in cabinets. Cheap cabinetsgrow especially frail with old age. Thin sides and backs,
which are oftenveneered with vinyl paper, can peel or delaminate. Undersize particleboardcabinet bottoms or shelves
sag or even break. Hanging rails, particularly onupper cabinets, might begin to pull loose.
Although you can replace doors and drawers, widespread structural problems suchas these would render cabinets a
bad bet for refinishing, or much of anythingelse. You would be better off replacing them.
The fact is, a good painter will spend 60% to 70% of the overall painting time on preparation of the surface.
More time will be needed if you are planning on using your existing cabinet doors. The flat surfaces of your
cabinet boxes can be cleaned, filled, primed and sanded fairly quickly. The cabinet doors on the other hand require
a lot more work. This is because the cabinet doors typically do not have a continuous flat surface; add to this,
the doors are the most used part of your cabinets having the most wear. Depending on what condition your cabinet
doors are in, the time spent sanding and stripping the old finishes off can be very time consuming and costly.
90% of what you see on the front of the cabinets is the doors, it is important that they look good. The only way
to do this work properly is to remove the doors from the cabinet boxes. This can create another problem; trying to
re-hang doors with the old non-adjustable hinges. What makes this even worse is when you are painting everything
one solid color. Any mis-alignment in the doors, that most likely already existed, now becomes magnified. This
problem can be solved by replacing the old non-adjustable hinges with an easy to install, fully adjustable, heavy
duty euro style hidden hinge as shown in Figure #1. When replacing your hinges, you need to be aware that not all
euro style hinges are fully adjustable. What’s amazing to me is, professional cabinet makers always use a fully
adjustable hinge like in Figure #1 and non- professionals, who have less experience, always seem to get stuck with
a difficult to install, non or limited adjustable hinge as seen in Figure #2. Be careful when purchasing, it may
not be wise to go with the cheapest.
We have found that these problems have lead to there being basically two types of residential painting
contractors, the ones that still are painting cabinets and the ones who used to paint cabinets! The reason why most
painting contractors eventually stop offering cabinet painting is the home owner’s high expectations. The reality
is, the quality and condition of the existing cabinet materials will mostly determine the quality and durability of
the paint job. If the existing materials are in bad shape, requiring more prep work, the cost to paint them will be
more. This can turn into a vicious cycle, the higher the cost, the higher the expectations. Eventually, a good
painting contractor will have enough jobs that go bad that they will stop offering cabinet painting altogether.
The problem the “do-it-yourselfer” can run into when fixing up their home, especially when painting their
kitchen cabinets, Is remembering what it had looked like before. If you do your own home improvement there is
a good chance you may have done something like this or had a friend or neighbor call you over to show what they had
done to their home. In all fairness, I am sure what they have done looks 100% or even 200% better than what it did
before, but here is the problem, I don’t remember what it looked like before, all I know is that it doesn’t look so
So, before you decide on painting your cabinets or have them painted by a contractor, stop and ask yourself this
question. Is it worth trying to paint a door that look like this? (Figure #3). Then, the next step is to
decide if you are going to do the work yourself, or hire someone. Not all, but most decide they don’t have the time
and hire someone. The first problem you may run into is finding a good painting contractor to do the work. As I
said earlier, a lot of them have had bad experiences painting over old cabinets. You may find it is best to take
the roll of a project manager and have a meeting with your painting contractor. Ask them what it would cost and
what you can expect if they were to paint your cabinets, Since the doors require the most work to paint, what would
the cost be if they were new? You may find that they will be more receptive to painting your cabinets if the
doors are new.
It is important to remember that your home is most likely to be your single largest investment. To protect your
investment, you may need to spend a little more money than you originally planned. Also, don’t set yourself or your
contractor up for failure by trying to slap some paint on something that really should be replaced.
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