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How to Achieve a Smooth Painted Finish on the Cabinet

When attempting a beautiful finished cabinet painting project, there are a few things the homeowner should keep in mind, and properly sanding your cabinets and doors is a must to get it right from the start. Cabinet painting is a very detailed system. Homeowners looking to undertake these types of projects should take the information in this article to be prepared for what it takes to produce beautifully finished cabinets.

Painting your kitchen cabinets is not like painting walls or doors in your home. You must follow a system. The first part of that system is to remove any hardware. The next thing is to properly clean your cabinets and then fill in any holes or grains that will show up in your finished product. The worst thing that can happen is to do everything right, and not fill in gaps or pimples, then you have to start over.

This article is about how to achieve a smooth finish and starts with sanding your cabinets. Depending on what cabinets you have, be it oak or redwood, you need to choose the correct sandpaper grit. The two different grits that homeowners should have on hand are 150-grit sandpaper and 220-grit sandpaper.

If you go with a grit coarser than 150 you will start to dig into your wood and those scratches will show up when you paint your cabinets and the scratches are really bad then you will need to fill them in and start the process again. Never go down on 150-grit sandpaper. Some people will suggest 120-grit sandpaper, but that’s wrong and should never be considered for your cabinet painting project.

First, you’ll start sanding with 150-grit sandpaper, because that’s what will soak into the sealant or other paint that’s in your cabinets to give your primer something to adhere to as well. When painting your cabinets, you don’t need to sand down to the wood. Sanding the wood only needs to be done if you are staining the cabinets a new color or for a fresh look.

Most people think cabinets need to be sanded down to wood to paint them, but that’s not true. Also, the purpose of sanding your cabinets is to remove the glossy sealant that is on your cabinets now. Glossy sealer is made to repel or create a poor adhesion of grease, oil, dirt, and paint. Once you’ve finished sanding the cabinets, make sure they are very dull and scratch-free.

Once you have sanded the first level of protection for your cabinets, you are now ready to remove any excess dust. If there is some dust that is not removed, the dust once prepared will give it its own sandpaper feel and your finish will not be smooth. It is best to clean the cabinets with a damp cloth once you think you have removed all of the sanding dust. Let the cabinets dry for a few minutes and repeat the process of cleaning them with a damp cloth or towel.

You are now ready to prime your cabinets. After your primer has dried properly, usually 4 to 24 hours depending on the primer you used and the manufacturer’s recommendation. This is when you put away the 150-grit sandpaper, you don’t need it anymore. Once your cabinets are primed, you will need to use 220 grit or finer sandpaper. Sand cabinets smooth because primer generally has a texture of its own. You are going to lightly sand the primer. You’re not trying to sand the cabinets hard, because you don’t want to sand down the primer and have to re-primer the stained areas of the cabinets.

Repeat the dust extraction process. Use microfiber cloths to remove dust, then use damp rags or towels to remove remaining dust. The next step is to paint your cabinets with the first coat of premium paint. Let the paint dry and sand your cabinets again between each coat of paint. You want to apply a minimum of 2 coats of paint.

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