How To Paint Metal Cabinets

by Debra

in Cabinets

How To Paint Metal Cabinets
In our desire to help everyone solve their 1950’s style ranch remodeling questions… problems with kitchens are among the most pressing issues.

June wanted some information about how to paint metal cabinets. Some lucky remodelers will be able to rip out cabinets and replace. But… what if you want to keep the integrity of the 50’s style?

photo credit: sheriffmitchell

I have 50ish metal kitchen cabinets that are painted white. I would like to refinish them in a gloss color. Should I strip them? I am concerned about bare metal rusting. Should I sand/Steel wool the paint to a smother finish before repainting?

There is no need to sand all of the paint off the cabinets, just use a fine sandpaper or steal wool. Sand enough to just scuff the surface so the paint can adhere correctly.

It is best to remove the cabinets and paint them outside because you will need to use an oil based enamel or epoxy paint, and the fumes can be a killer. I have read that a few homeowners have actually taken their cabinets to an auto body shop to have them sprayed. That will guarantee a flawless finish, but I am not sure on the price.

If that is not an option, then you may want to rent a sprayer. Painting with a roller or a brush will usually leave marks on the surface. This is unavoidable, no matter how much of a perfectionist you are.

So, here are the steps, if you plan on attempting this on your own:

1. Remove the hardware.

2. Wash the cabinets with a detergent soap to clean off all the grease and stains that have accumulated over time.

3. Scuff the surface with a fine sandpaper or steal wool

4. Paint with enamel or epoxy paint

5. Spray the cabinets and let dry or get a bid from a body shop who will spray them for you

If you are hesitant or unsure about taking on this huge undertaking, start with one cabinet door, see how it comes out. If you are unsatisfied, then you may need to bite the bullet and hire a professional. You can have someone come in and spray the inside and outside of the cabinets for a few thousand dollars depending on your location and how many cabinets you have.

I hope this helps you learn how to paint metal cabinets! Don’t hesitate to ask me about your 1950’s Ranch Remodel Painting Questions!


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