Paint Metal Kitchen Cabinets in 3 Steps

  • 2-10 hours
  • Beginner
  • 50-150
What You'll Need
Wire brush
Steel wool
Paint stripper
Spray paint

Metal kitchen cabinets are an attractive, durable addition to any kitchen. Because they can be stripped and refinished without any danger of warping the metal, they are also a very desirable choice for homeowners who enjoy frequently changing and updating their kitchen. Painting your metal kitchen cabinets is not only non-destructive, but also very simple.

Step 1 - Preparation

Strip any existing paint off of your cabinet. There are several ways you could do this. Using paint stripper is the least labor-intensive way to strip the paint from your cabinet, but it can be difficult to develop a technique that works for you. Paint stripper has a tendency to evaporate before it can complete its task. You can counteract this tendency by placing your cabinet in a plastic bag after applying the paint stripper. When you remove the cabinet from the plastic bag, you can remove the remaining bits of paint. A wire brush is the best tool for this, but you may need to use steel wool to completely remove the paint.

Step 2 - Primer

Primer is essential when working with metal cabinets. Of course, it is an essential part of any painting project, but it is particularly important when you are working with metal. Because metal is so vulnerable to rust and corrosion, it is very important that you do something to help prevent corrosion from occurring. Primer is a great for this job because it is a sealant. This means that it prevents moisture and other destructive elements from entering the surface of your metal cabinet. In addition, if you plan to make a dramatic color change, primer aids in fostering and preserving color integrity.

When applying primer to metal cabinets, the easiest method is to use spray can primer. It is affordable, simple to use, and spares you the hassle of dealing with brushes. Primer should always be applied in several thin layers rather than in one thick layer. This is to optimize its performance as a sealant and to prevent unsightly dripping and running. Spray a thin layer of primer over your cabinet, and let it dry for several hours. If you have the time to let it dry for a day, that would be preferable, but a few hours will do in a pinch. Once that coat has dried, apply another. When that one dries, apply another. You could repeat the process many times, but a few coats should do the trick. After applying your last coat of primer, let it dry a bit longer than you let the previous coats dry, and then move onto the next step.

Step 3 - Painting

As with the primer, spray paint is your best bet in this situation. Apply the paint in several thin coats. You don't want it to run. Let it dry for an hour between each coating. Paints with less pigmentation will require more coats, and thicker, darker paints will require fewer coats. Once you are done, allow the cabinets to dry overnight. Once your paint has dried, you can reinstall your cabinets.

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