8 Easy Steps To Paint Bathroom Cabinets

Quality bathroom cabinets are made to last a lifetime, but after some years they can start to show signs of their age, with chipped paint and a faded color. Old bathroom cabinets can look really bad, but if their materials are not damaged too badly you might have luck painting bathroom cabinets to give them a fresh look and help them last for many more years.

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To paint bathroom cabinets might seem like a simple task, and it is pretty easy compared to other home improvement projects, but painting bathroom cabinets should not be taken lightly. If you can follow directions and possess a lot of patience, painting bathroom cabinets is certainly a job you can accomplish.

In case you are wondering how to paint bathroom cabinets, we have created this helpful guide with eight tips for painting bathroom cabinets that will make the job easier. Using this guide will allow you to keep using your bathroom cabinets and avoid an expensive trip to the bathroom cabinet store.

Step One: Assess the Cabinets

You want to see how much work it is going to be to repaint the cabinets and you can make a plan of everything that will need to be done. Look out for holes that will need patching and see if you want to keep the same hardware or put a new hardware set on.

Make sure that the cabinet is still sound and that it will keep functioning for many years. If you find serious damage or rotten places, it may not be worth it to try to paint the bathroom cabinets.

Step Two: Clean the Bathroom

To paint bathroom cabinets, you will want to have everything out of the bathroom. Sanding dust, paint and other materials will go everywhere, and anything left in the bathroom could get dirty or ruined.

You should also get everything in the bathroom as clean as you can before starting your work. It is best to limit the possibility that something could get in your way while you are painting, causing you to have to pause and possibly letting the paint dry inconsistently.

Anything that can’t come out of the bathroom needs to be covered during this work. Put drop clothes or plastic sheets over anything that is not going to be painted. Covering the floors will be helpful, as paint will most likely drip onto it. Use painters tape to make sure that drop guards stay in place.

Step Three: Prep Surfaces

The first part of prepping the surfaces for painting is to remove the doors and drawers from the cabinets. You might consider taking pictures of how the hinges connect to the doors to help remember how they will go back together. 

If you are going to change hardware, you should fill the old screw holes with some painters putty, let them dry and then sand them. Anywhere else that has holes, chipped paint and other irregularities can get the same treatment. Fill the holes with putty or caulk, let them dry and then sand them to create a smooth surface.

Then you need to sand all of the surfaces that are going to be painted. You can use a fine grit, like 220 if there are not a lot of big differences in the surface. Sanding will help make all the surfaces more even and blended together, it also removes any oils or dirt that may be stuck on the cabinets.

Step Four: Wash Surfaces

The first part of getting the surfaces to be painted clean is to get all the dust off with a duster or a vacuum cleaner. Get as much of the dust off with a dry method as possible, that way you won’t need to use as much moisture when washing them. The cabinets will need to be completely dry to paint them, so you want to put as little moisture on them as possible.

Wash the cabinets with warm water and a few drops of dish soap. Put as little water as possible on the cabinets. First scrub them with a damp rag, then try to get some of the moisture off by rubbing it with a dry rag.

Wash the cabinets again, but just with water to get any soap residue off of the surfaces. Again, be sure to use as little moisture as possible, and wipe everything down with a dry rag to help it dry faster. 

Step Five: Prime Surfaces

The best paint for bathroom cabinets, where conditions can be humid, is a shellac or oil based one. A primer of the same type will help to hide the old color of the cabinets, and it fills in the surface more to make it look even more smooth. Primer also helps the actual paint to stick to the cabinet a lot better.

You want to use a primer that is the same brand as the paint you will be using. This will make sure that they are compatible and will stick together as best as possible.

For most bathroom cabinets you can use a hand brush to prime and paint, they are smaller and easier to manage with just a paint brush. You can use a roller too, but this requires more equipment like a paint tray, a roller and a roller pad. Clean the brush after use following the paint manufacturer’s instructions.

Let the primer dry overnight. You may need two coats of primer if the old color is showing through, but normally one coat of primer is sufficient.

Step Six: Paint

As you may be noticing, painting is one of the smallest steps of painting bathroom cabinets. About ninety percent of painting is the preparation of the surfaces to insure a good adhesion and a flat look.

Apply a thin coat of paint evenly to all of the surfaces you want painted. Be sure that you don’t put too much paint on your brush, in fact you should strive to put as little paint on the brush as is practical. Be careful painting the edges and corners, as paint tends to soak off of the brush there and then will drip down and look bad. 

Let the paint dry completely based on the manufacturer’s recommendation. Check to make sure that the coat looks the way you want. If you want the color to be more full or if you didn’t get it flat enough, apply a second coat of paint. The more coats of paint, the fuller and smoother it will look.

Apply as many coats as you need to make the cabinets look how you want them to look.

Step Seven: Reassemble Doors

You can now put your painted doors and drawers back where they belong. Getting the doors lined up with the hinges could be a little tricky, but with some patience you will be able to do it. The hinges may need to be adjusted.

If a screw hole is too big to put the screw back in, you can stick some toothpicks into the hole to give the screw something to bite into. Just be careful not to damage your new paint job when putting everything back together, work slow and with patience.

Step Eight: Final Clean Up

Clean the entire bathroom while there is nothing in it. Make sure to get all of the dust that you can out of the corners and edges. 

After everything is clean, you can move everything back into the bathroom and your work is done. Remember that painting is an extremely tedious task that takes a lot of patience. You will probably want to quit multiple times during this process, but if you stick with it you can get great results from painting bathroom cabinets.

Want more bathroom cabinet design ideas? Call us today to schedule an appointment or ask for a free estimate and design. Take a look at our bathroom cabinets on sale. You can also check us on Houzz anytime.


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