Painting Over Dark Wood Kitchen Cabinets
Sharon in Pennsylvania is looking to change some cabinets. What’s going on? Tell us about them?
SHARON: I purchased this home and it’s an older model home. It has the cabinets about 50 years old. They’re dark; they’re heavy; they’re just outdated cabinets. And instead of purchasing a new whole cabinet set I would like to know could y’all tell me a way that I could update my cabinets?
LESLIE: Are they solid wood?
LESLIE: Are you looking to paint them or stain them?
SHARON: Well, I’m trying – it’s a country – it’s like a country-theme kitchen. I want to bring it up to date.
TOM: Well, a country-theme kitchen I think would be a good candidate for painting the cabinets; maybe doing some …
LESLIE: Yeah, I mean it could go any way. It could go pickling; it could go a whitewash; it could go even a crackle finish. I mean there’s a ton of different …
SHARON: What about if I could brighten my kitchen up? Since it’s so dark with that dark wood and I also have dark panel in there.
LESLIE: Well, I think paint is excellent and it’s also quite simple to apply. It does take a bit of elbow grease and a whole bunch of prep work but if you do everything right and do everything in the proper steps in order, you’re going to get that paint to stay. And to keep with the country theme there’s something called a crackle finish and I think first what you’re going to want to do is you want to make sure you clean those cabinets very, very, very well. You want to get off all of that grit and grease and grime that’s been building up there over the years of this use in the kitchen. And you can use an orange cleanser; you can use trisodium phosphate – called TSP – to give it a good washing; and then I would use something called like a liquid sander and it’s basically a liquid lotion that sort of roughens up the surface of the cabinet just to make it a little bit more happy to adhere to paint or primer; and then you want to use a good – would you use an oil-based primer in the kitchen, Tom?
TOM: Yeah, I would use an oil-based primer only because it’s more durable for the kitchen cabinets with all the banging that goes around. Plus, you know, you want to make sure that those surfaces are super cleanable.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. I would do an oil-based primer and then if you really want to brighten things up and give it a country look, maybe you want to do a base coat of like a sage or like a light green or a lemony yellow; something that’s like soft and pretty. Do that in a flat finish then apply a coat of the crackle paint and then apply a super high-gloss white on top of that and you’ll see that the white paint crackles away a little bit and then that base color that you put on – whatever color you choose – sort of shines through in all these crackly, age-y techniques. But it really does make a nice, country effect and if you’re not into that, simple topcoat of any color paint that you like, as long as you go with a glossy paint, will really stand up to a kitchen.
TOM: Sharon, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.