We hear this question a lot right now and in fact, have spent hours talking clients through the many options on this very issue. Here is what we tell our clients, and we hope you will find benefit in it as well. . .

If the cabinets are in good shape, and you like the kitchen layout, then painting will always be less costly than replacing. Keep in mind that oak cabinets will always show the grain (even when painted) so if you don’t like that look, you may want to consider replacing overpainting.

We don’t recommend “re-facing” as most of the time the veneers used are plastic and don’t look like real wood. Not to mention, with this option, you’ll end up spending as much in the long run as if you had replaced the cabinets with a good quality entry-level cabinet line.

Painting is a very time-consuming process and not for the faint of heart. Be prepared for it to take a while and be patient. We asked a professional painter how to approach the project and here is what he had to say:

  1. Remove the Hardware, Hinges, Doors, and Drawer Fronts – Make sure to create a list of the door/drawer fronts so you know what goes where when it comes time to re-install them. Put the Hardware in Hinges separate bags and if you’re going to re-use, label where they go.
  2. Clean the doors and cabinet box face very well with odorless mineral spirits and a green Scotch Brite pad.
  3. Go over it with denatured alcohol and a clean, green Scotch Brite pad. You do not need to rinse this off!
  4. Prep the everything with a good, high-quality, stain-blocking primer like Zinsser’s Bullseye 123 Primer, applying at least two coats.
  5. Next: the fun part! Choose a paint color with a good quality paint like one from General Finishes, formulated especially for this type of application.
  6. Apply two coats of paint and then top it with two coats of General Finishes’ clear Enduro water-based polyurethane.
  7. Keep in mind that it takes time for these finishes to “cure”. That is to harden appropriately so they will be resistant to knicks and scratches. Notice I say “resistant”, because even the best paint job will wear over time in heavy use areas.

If this sounds like a painstaking process, replacing your cabinets is always an option! We understand when a set of shiny new cabinets catches your eye on Pinterest and you can’t quite seem to scroll on by… that’s when it makes sense to call in an expert designer to weigh in on whether painting or replacing is the best way to go! With over 40 years of experience, and 100’s of kitchen remodeling projects under our belts, the experts at Denyne Designs can help you decide if painting or replacing makes sense for your budget and lifestyle.