HOW DO I PAINT IT? Cabinets, front doors, and floors ate three of the most transformative paint jobs you can do (besides walls.) Here’s how to get them right.
Here are 4 key Steps:
Keep in mind: Patience and attention to detail are the main skills you need to get a professional-looking job.
Clean it! Dust, dirt, hair, fuzz and even barely visible grime can get swept up into paint, keep it from adhering properly, and muck up the finish. Clean surfaces with soapy water, then rise well and let dry. (Any residue will prevent paint from sticking.) If the surface is greasy (pretty common in kitchens) or has mildew, clean with a mix of 4 oz trisodium phosphate (TSP), 1 qt liquid bleach and 4 qt water.
Sand it! Sanding smooths nicks and scratches, plus dulls texture and shine, which is extra important to help paint stick to slick surfaces like a metal front door or polished wood floors. Use a power sander to quickly sand flat surfaces. For small or contoured areas, just grab a sheet of 120 to 220 grit sandpaper. After sanding, vacuum with a brush attachment and wipe down surfaces with a tack cloth.
Prime it! Pros agree that applying a separate primer is worth the effort for surfaces that get a lot of wear and tear like cabinets, floors, and doors. Primer blocks out moisture, covers stains, and makes paint stick. It’s especially helpful when painting a light color over a dark one or if you’re painting a floor that has been stained. On wood, apply it with a brush or roller in the same direction as the grain.
Paint it! Apply paint in thin coats. Allow at least an hour of dry time between coats for water-base paints like acrylic and latex – more if the weather is humid, the color is dark or the finish is high-shine. When using an alkyd paint, let each coat dry overnight.
Find the right tool for the project.
Rollers cover large surfaces quickly and eliminate streaks brushes leave. Look for a roller cover with a short nap (about ¼ inch) for painting smooth surfaces like cabinets and doors. A frame that locks the cover in place will prevent slipping.
Use a 3 inch flat brush to coat flat surfaces like cabinet doors. A 1 or 2 ½ inch angled sash brush gets into corners, nooks, and crannies.
A small handheld sander makes quick work of paint prep.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE? Painting cabinets is usually a 3 to 5 day project. Be prepared to remove all hardware, doors, and drawers. Then sand (if wood), clean, paint, paint again, let dry, and finally re-install everything.
ANY SPECIAL TOOLS? Painters’ pyramid stands are little plastic trianges that raise door a couple inches to make painting fronts, and backs easier.
WHAT PAINT DO I USE? Alkyd paint yields a more professional and durable finish, but it takes longer to dry. If you prefer latex paint, opt for a satin or semigloss finish for faster drying. Latex also make wiping up cooking messes and spills easier.
SANITY SAVER Label each door and drawer with masking tape. Store the hardware and hinges for each in separate labeled baggies.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE? Take conditions into account. A dry day between 40F and 90F is ideal paint drying weather. Start early in the morning so the door dries in time to rehang it before dark.
WHATS THE PREP? Removing and re-installing the door is the main challenge, but it’s recommended. If you must leave the door up, remove as much hardware as possible or cover it with painters’ tape, and use a doorstop to keep the door in place during prep and painting.
WHAT PAINT DO I USE? Try an exterior paint, which can reduce fading, mold, and flaking. A semigloss finish can prevent scuffs and marks. A quart is usually enough for a standard door.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE? At least two days. You’ll need to sand, clean, prime, and apply at least two coats. Remember to let each coat dry at least on hour, areas with restricted airflow may need longer.
WHATS THE PREP? Painting wood floors requires less sanding than refinishing them. For a single room (under 120 sq ft), you can use a handheld power sander to scuff glossy surfaces. Wear a mask while sanding. Remove dust with a damp mop or cloth.
WHAT PAINT DO I USE? Use a long-handled roller (and a brush for corners) to apply primer and at least two coats of floor paint, which dries fast and has scuff-resistant properties.
GOOD TO KNOW Floor paint can be tinted to any shade just like wall paint.
GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR PROJECT!