DIY

How’s It Holding Up? DIY Painted Kitchen Cabinets Update

February 22, 2016

Do cabinets that weren't sanded or primed before they were painted stand the test of time? Find out how our DIY painted kitchen cabinets have held up! All your questions (and some you didn't know you had) are answered.

This post has been a LONG time coming! I get asked at least 20 times per week how our DIY painted kitchen cabinets are holding up and today, I am going to tell you! But first, let's explore why people are so darn curious. I am pretty sure it's because our DIY painted kitchen cabinets were done without sanding OR priming. Yep, that's right! We wanted professional results with the least amount of work possible and that's exactly what we got. You can see our step-by-step tutorial on how to paint kitchen cabinets without sanding or priming here. And if you are new to my blog, here's a side-by-side comparison of what I am talking about.

before and after kitchen cabinets

Now, let's answer those BURNING questions about our DIY painted kitchen cabinets that people keep asking me.

How are they holding up?

Y'all, these bad boys are holding up BEAUTIFULLY. I've put together a video tour to show you just how serious I am. You can check it out–just scroll down a bit further.

Can you still see the wood grain? 

Yes, but it doesn't bother me one bit. I have some good footage of how much you can see the wood grain in the video, so be sure to check it out.

Are they easy to clean? Does cleaning them damage the finish?

They are SUPER easy to clean and it doesn't damage the finish at all. Want proof? Watch the video :)

Did you sand between coats of paint?

Nope!

Did you sand between coats of the topcoat?  

Nope!

For the proof that the cabinets are still holding up beautifully, watch the video below (the video will play after a brief ad).

 

ADDED September 2018: Now, I know there are LOTS of you out there that are going to read this and think it sounds too good to be true and/or have a zillion other questions that I can't possibly answer in one blog post. We still get questions about this post almost every single day (in fact, it’s the reason I finally had to turn my blog comments off a while back). Because though I detailed exactly how we transformed our oak cabinets with gray paint, people wonder how the process will work on different cabinets with different colors. So we got questions like…

  • Can I use this to paint my laminate kitchen cabinets?
  • How do you think the white paint color would work on my very dark cabinets?
  • Can I use this paint this over existing painted kitchen cabinets?
  • Did you REALLY not sand in between coats?
  • How much pressure do I need to apply when I use the deglosser?
  • How are your painted kitchen cabinets holding up now that it's been almost 5 years?

So after seeing the need to address all these questions and after countless requests, I finally decided to create a video training series for those of you that have questions and concerns that just can’t be answered in a single blog post.

My video series, Total Cabinet Transformation, is now available. If you want to update your kitchen, but can’t afford to replace your cabinets or hire a painter to paint them for you, this is the training for you. It’s short but thorough. In about an hour, you will know everything you need to transform your kitchen cabinets the “lazy” way. Minimal effort. Maximum results.

Total Cabinet Transformation Video Course-How to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

Total Cabinet Transformation Video Course-How to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

So there you have it!  Y'all, there is no question that we would do this project again. We got such a beautiful result for such a tiny amount of money and the results are long-lasting! So if you are on a budget but want to update your kitchen, be sure to check out our step-by-step tutorial on how to paint kitchen cabinets without sanding or priming here. You won't regret it :)  Oh, and if your husband or wife is skeptical, just show them the video. Hopefully, the video will convince the skeptics.

That's it for today folks.  Be sure to check out how our $20 DIY concrete vanity is holding up also–just click here.

DIY concrete sink

And you can check out the rest of the details of our $700 total kitchen makeover here and here.

kitchen makeover

Update 2020: Our kitchen cabinets held up BEAUTIFULLY until we renovated our kitchen in 2019. Want to see the what it looks like today? Click here for the full renovation. We had such a great experience painting our own cabinets that I painted Thea's cabinets when we gave her kitchen a budget makeover. For another easy way to paint your cabinets take a look at our tutorial here: How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets the Easy Way (2 days, no packing). And you can see her total kitchen transformation for under $1000 here.

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  1. […] Diy Painting Kitchen Cabinets How's It Holding Up? Diy Painted Kitchen Cabinets Update Size: 800 X 600 | Source: designertrapped.com […]

  2. Jennifer says:

    You said you didn’t paint the inside of your cabinets. can you show me a picture of what it looks like when you open them to get something out? does it look silly with oak inside and gray outside?

    • Tasha says:

      I don’t have a picture of that, but considering I only open them to get something out then I close them again, it hasn’t been an issue. If you feel like it would bother you, go ahead and paint them. Totally up to you and preferences! Good luck and thanks for reading!

      • Jennifer says:

        I have one more question…. I painted my island with the Driftwood like you did. After the 2 coats and the 3 coats of the sealant. I noticed that their are streaks of different color paint. Like a darker gray and a little lighter gray. but only when you look from different angles and with light. Did you have that issue? We used a foam roller on the center and brushes on the edges. Anything I can do differently? Want to figure this out before I start painting all my cabinets. thank you.

  3. Terri says:

    I’m redoing old laminate cabinets there’s a little peeling at the bottom of some doors, if I sanded it smooth, how would this paint do with that? Thanks so much

  4. Holly says:

    Can you till me where you purchased the handles that is on your cabinets? This is my next project this coming spring of 2017.

  5. Holly says:

    Can you till me where you purchased your handles on your cabinets? This is my next job this coming spring of 2017.

  6. Charlotte says:

    Your kitchen looks lovely, you post inspired me to paint my blonde oak kitchen cabinets. I used General Finishes milk paint, I mixed Linen and Millstone to get the color To match my countertop. I have really enjoyed use GF milk paint and the hard finish it has after drying, my first time using it. The only problem I had was that my cabinet doors were in bad condition, I had to repair some cracks and a lot of the varnish was worn off around handles so decided to sand the doors and caulk the seams. I didn’t need to sand any of the cabinet faces or body, which turned out beautiful. But on the doors as soon as I applied the first coat of the GF high performance varnish they became blotchy with a dark tan color, it seems that since I sanded the doors there was no barrier to prevent the old stain color from bleeding thru the paint. Ahhh, I had to prime all the doors with Zinser Bin primer and then repaint. Since we sprayed the doors we ended up using 2 1/2 gallons of paint. But it is still cheaper than replacing cabinets. Thank you for your post as it encouraged me to paint my kitchen cabinets. I even tiled the backsplash also.

    • Tasha says:

      Great troubleshooting! Glad it all worked out in the end and sounds like you did a great job. Thanks for reading!

  7. Jesse says:

    Since you said you can see the wood grain would you recommend doing a coat of primer even though they say not to? Or how do I prevent this problem from happening when I start my own cabinet paint project?

  8. Donna says:

    I have a cabinet that I want to paint –now it is just oak. It has smoke glass doors on top. i need Ideas of what and how to paint them. I want to paint the cabinet a chalky deep blue. Advise and Ideas Please.

    • Tasha says:

      I am not sure exactly what you are asking. If you want to paint the whole thing, I recommend popping the glass out and replacing it with a thin wood panel. I would not recommend painting the glass! Good luck!

  9. Pat says:

    Did you paint your walls, trim, and backsplash before painting cabinets? Did you also wash down the cabinets with some kind of cleaner before the deglosser?

  10. T Lam says:

    I was afraid to paint my cabinets until I came across your post. I followed your step by step and got beautiful results. Like you it took me weeks to finish this project doing my cabinets in four sections. This is not a project that you want to rush, the time invested WILL pay off.
    I’d love to share my results but don’t see a way to do so in the comments.

  11. Karen says:

    I was curious about your black doors – are those painted or stained? If painted, what kind and what color? Thanks!

  12. There’s GOT to be a correlation between me wanting to (re) finish my cabinets and you taking a follow up video on Feb. 19th this year when I was home giving birth to our son!
    Or maybe I’m reaching a bit.. Either way, guess whose going to paint her cabinets using your method! (Two thumbs) this girl!
    This is wonderful, so great to get not just an end result.. But a wear n tear result. ? Thank you!

    • Tasha says:

      Fate for sure! Congrats on your new son, and on your soon-to-be beautiful kitchen cabinets! Thanks for reading.

  13. Shannon says:

    How do you think the cabinet paint would work over cabinets that have already been painted?

    • Tasha says:

      I have never tried it, but this is what General Finishes’ website says about its milk paint: “General Finishes milk paints will adhere to a variety of surfaces including wood, fiberglass, PVC, vinyl, and most composite materials. Additionally, these paints can be applied over existing finishes, stains and other paints so long as the existing finish is fully dry. However, when painting over other finishes, it’s important to always test a small area first to make sure the paint adheres well to the original surface.” I hope that helps!

    • Joan Williams says:

      Hello Shannon, I am facing the same dilemma as you. I was desperate to paint our wood cabinets years ago and now it looks nasty and was thinking if this method would work over the existing paint. Did you ever get to paint over yours? Let me know how it turned out. Thanks.

  14. Natalie Rivera says:

    I’m so confused. You used a top coat and two diff colors for the cabinets? I’m gonna have to call the company and get some accurate info. I wanted to sand down and paint my bathroom cabinets white to brighten it up but I don’t have time with 5 kids

  15. Jen says:

    Do you mind sharing what color paint you used on the rest of the kitchen walls? (The bluish/greenish color)

    I’ve been planning to use a color by Sherwin Williams called ‘Sea Salt’, but the amount of light in my kitchen makes the color looked washed out, and basically ‘off white’ rather than the the color I want which is similar to yours.

    Thanks in advance, and thanks for sharing your projects!

  16. Sheila says:

    Can you use this paint on laminate countertops too?

    • Tasha says:

      I have never tried it, but this is what General Finishes’ website says about its milk paint: “General Finishes milk paints will adhere to a variety of surfaces including wood, fiberglass, PVC, vinyl, and most composite materials. Additionally, these paints can be applied over existing finishes, stains and other paints so long as the existing finish is fully dry. However, when painting over other finishes, it’s important to always test a small area first to make sure the paint adheres well to the original surface.” I hope that helps!

  17. Regina Lord says:

    I never sand either. It’s such a pain!! I’ve never had any problems.

  18. […] that we completely made over our kitchen on a tiny budget and y’all kind of went CRAZY for my tutorial on how to paint kitchen cabinets without priming or sanding.  This is what our kitchen looked liked when we moved […]

  19. Kathleen says:

    Love how your kitchen turned out! That was a good call making the island a bit darker, it looks so nice. I will be doing something similar in ours,

    Also will be looking for pendulum lighting like yours: did you find the at Pottery Barn? Thanks

  20. Chris Berkeley says:

    Hi Tasha, We have the same kitchen cabinets! We’re currently in the process of having them painted white, caulked crack and all, partly because of seeing your original post. My question is, do you know the name of this style of cabinet? I want to call them board and batten but that doesn’t seem to be correct. But they’re not bead board either……. I have a hard time describing them to people. What do you call them?
    Thanks,
    Chris

  21. Anita says:

    Hi. I just purchased a home and want to paint my cabinets. I love the way yours turned out. I wanted to ask about how the hinges are holding up as well. I have seen less than stellar results from painting metal that gets used on a regular basis. Are yours chipping or cracking especially around the friction points?

    • Tasha A. says:

      Hi Anita! Ours are holding up well, but I think it helps that the spray painted finish is not DRASTICALLY different from the original finish, as I expect there has been some chipping. It’s just not noticeable, if that makes sense. I wouldn’t paint black over brass, but if your new finish is close to the old one, I think it’s very worthwhile!

  22. Joy says:

    Would you say that milk paint is equaly suited for kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanity, bookcases, doors, and trim. I was leaning toward Ace cabinet, door, & trim paint as it has held up quite well on our windowseat. However, I am all about not sanding and priming.

    • Tasha says:

      Yes the milk paint works for all of those things but don’t forget you have to top coat it! Good luck!

  23. Nancy says:

    Beautiful job! A question, does the top coat have brush stroke/roller marks, or does the finish smooth out? I’m looking to do a satin finish and don’t want it to show brush marks – wonder if you can use flotrol to help ‘float’ the finish…

    Thanks! Much admiration!!

    • Tasha says:

      As best I recall I used a regular bristle brush. I have not noticed brush marks, but there could be some. This top coat is amazing! I recommend it. I have not used flotrol, so I can’t say if that would help. Thanks for reading!

    • Cindy says:

      This is so amazing! Your kitchen is so beautiful. The hubbs & I have been wrestling with the idea of redoing our cabinets with the rustoleum kit or to just try & save for new ones. My question is what did you clean them down with something prior to the paint job & what were the products used for the job? (Paint, top coat, & brushes/rollers used etc.) I’m not sure if you can even remember. After reading this, I am certainly going to try it but I just want to go the same route that you did. Thanks!!!

  24. Elle says:

    I love the look! I was planning on using chalk paint for it kitchen cabinets but I think I may use milk paint instead. I was wondering if the finish was smooth even though you didn’t sand at any time in the process.

    • Tasha says:

      Yes, I would describe it as smooth. I have used both and I STRONGLY prefer milk paint for kitchen cabinets. Good luck! Let me know how it turns out.

  25. Jackie says:

    This looks great! I just bought a home and am a COMPLETE diy beginner. Would this work in my bathroom? Considering that it would be exposed to a normal amount of steam from showering…

    Thanks!
    Jackie

    • Tasha says:

      Absolutely! There is no reason it shouldn’t work in a bathroom. Good luck and enjoy delving into DIYing your new home!

  26. Sarah says:

    What sheen did you choose for the top coat? Satin, Semi-Gloss?

  27. Margaret says:

    I am so happy to have found you, not that you were lost – I guess I was. LOL. Can this process be used on wood paneling? I have a panel led basement where my craft studio and office is located . I am thinking that a light color would brighten up the space and not make it so dungeon-like (10′ x 20′).

    Thank you for your time and inspiration

    • Tasha A. says:

      Hi Margaret! This process could absolutely be used on wood paneling, though you could probably use regular latex paint and save yourself some money! I just recommend the milk paint and top finish for things like kitchen cabinets that get a lot of wear and tear. For wood paneled walls, I’d stick with latex paint, just use a good primer first. I hope that helps!

  28. Stephanie Redfield says:

    Beautiful!! Love that you share so much about it bc you answer all my burning questions!! Thank you!!! Can’t wait to get started!

  29. Fabulous. This is great to know as I love the look of painted cabinet doors. I wish I could change the cabinet doors in our house but we love in a rental… not sure the owner would appreciate! haha

  30. Erlene says:

    You’re making me want to totally paint now. I always thought it took a lot of sanding and prep. Hmmm…may have to give this a try.

  31. doreen says:

    Cn you use this same technique on mica cabinets?

    • Tasha A. says:

      Hi Doreen! I have never tried it, but this is what General Finishes’ website says about its milk paint: “General Finishes milk paints will adhere to a variety of surfaces including wood, fiberglass, PVC, vinyl, and most composite materials. Additionally, these paints can be applied over existing finishes, stains and other paints so long as the existing finish is fully dry. However, when painting over other finishes, it’s important to always test a small area first to make sure the paint adheres well to the original surface.” I hope that helps!

  32. Shelly says:

    I want to paint my kitchen cupboards. I loved your tour of your kitchen. What paint and top products did you use? How long did it take from beginning to end. Did you spray or brush paint the doors?

  33. […] Last week I shared details about how our DIY painted kitchen cabinets (that we did without sanding OR priming) are holding up 22 months later.  I even included a video and a list of frequently asked questions.  Check out all the details of how our DIY painted kitchen cabinets are holding up here. […]

  34. Shonee says:

    Beautiful! I love that color and the hardware you put on them!! The before and after pictures are inspiring. Is that even the same kitchen?! ? Thanks for sharing!

    Shonee
    http://www.hawthorneandmain.com

  35. […] UPDATE:  IF YOU WANT TO READ ALL ABOUT HOW THESE CABINETS ARE HOLDING UP AFTER 22 MONTHS, CLICK HER…. […]

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