I have a friend that has been a professional painter for over ten years. In addition to painting walls, he has a lot of customers that inquire about painting their kitchen cabinets. While he will never turn away a good paying job, he actually tries to talk customers out of painting their cabinets. While painting cabinets may be a quick fix if you are looking to flip a property or quick sell your home, in the long run, painting will end up costing more in maintenance than simply installing new cabinets. Refinishing cabinets takes a lot more prep work than simply slapping a coat of paint onto the cabinets. In addition to removing the finish that is already applied, you have to sand, fill cracks/holes with putty, and rough up the surface to accept the paint.
Next you must make sure to wipe the doors down with a damp washcloth to remove any left over residue and let them dry completely before starting to paint. Like any other painting project, you need to apply a high quality primer evenly first, in order to have professional results. With a lot of cabinets, it is very hard to get a perfectly smooth finish that doesn't have brush marks? even for a professional painter. Believe it or not, the maintenance associated with painted cabinets is actually greater when compared to factory finished cabinets. The paint will tend to crack and chip more frequently, and they will need to be wiped down more often. Even after telling customers about all the drawbacks of painting cabinets, there were still a lot of customers that were willing to take the risk simply because it was too costly to install new cabinets.
Compared to buying brand new traditional cabinets, some people just couldn't afford the expense. After I started importing RTA Cabinets, he soon realized that he had a viable solution for customers that didn't want to deal with the maintenance hassles associated with painted cabinets but couldn't afford or just didn't want to spend the money for brand new cabinets. With RTA Cabinets being roughly 30-40% cheaper than what you find in the big box stores, they actually started to fall in the price range of many customers. I am happy to say that his painting business is not only thriving, but he is now selling and installing kitchen cabinets to the same clients that he is doing the painting for.
So if you are considering painting your kitchen cabinets, it is important to keep in mind this story from a professional painter.