Updating Oak Cabinets

June 24th 2008
Updating Oak Cabinets

Q. We want to update our oak cabinets in our kitchen by painting them white. I would appreciate any tips that would make the finish as durable as possible.

A. Before attempting to paint cabinets, see whether the surface can be sanded and roughed up so that it will hold the paint (test an inconspicuous place). If the job is not done properly, paint will peel in no time.

- Remove cabinet doors and hardware.
- Wipe surfaces with a clean rag saturated with mineral spirits. You may have to do this multiple times, since older cabinets typically have a heavy buildup of grime or wax. Change rags frequently to avoid re-depositing dirt.
- Wash surface with the Shell Busey Home Cleaning Formula.
- Rinse well with clean water. Allow surface to dry completely.
- Prime surface with an alkyd-based primer-sealer. Let dry over night.
- Finish with melamine paint for a more stain-resistant, washable and durable finish. Cloverdale Paint Melamine Paint is very DIY friendly. Two coats should be enough, depending on the look you want.
- Each coat may take two or more days to dry -- temperature and humidity determine this. Make sure each coat dries completely and is not tacky to the touch between coats.

A good paint finish takes time and patience; including drying time, up to a week but the job is within the skill level of most homeowners. Alternatively, try taking cabinets to an auto-body shop, which already has spray equipment to provide a smooth, hard finish, or rent a sprayer yourself. Another option would be to just replace the cabinet doors. There is a Cabinet Refacing Service available through Shell Busey's Home Service Referral Network by calling 604-542-2236.

Shell Busey