How Much Does Kitchen Cabinet Painting Cost?

Kitchen Cabinet Painting Cost

A fresh coat of paint can revitalize the look and feel of almost any area of your home. This is particularly true of a kitchen. Painting can bring color and light to a space. Many homeowners choose the relatively less expensive option of fresh paint over a total kitchen remodel. Budgeting for fresh paint in your kitchen may not cost as much as you might think.

On average, the cost to paint kitchen cabinets ranges from $382 to $1,064. The median cost found nationwide is $697. If it is necessary to remove the old finish from your kitchen cabinets, you may find the job cost approaching $7,000. For do-it-yourselfers, the cost of supplies to paint your kitchen cabinets should run between $200 and $600.

Kitchen Cabinet Refinish Costs Low-End Cost High-End Cost
Average Cost to Paint Kitchen Cabinets $382 $1,064
Cost per Square Foot $3 $10
Cost to Spray Kitchen Cabinets $400 $1,000
Preparation Costs for Kitchen Cabinets $600 $1,500

These ranges of costs all have factors that to consider when planning your kitchen refinish project. Labor is, of course, one of the key components of any job and one reason many homeowners choose to paint their kitchen cabinets themselves. If you intend to refinish walls, trim, and doors, you can expect additional costs and materials.

Getting Ready to Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Any professional painter will tell you that the quality of the finished job depends largely on the quality of the prep work. Getting surfaces ready to paint is as important as the paint and how it is applied. In general, preparing kitchen cabinets for painting is included in the job bid unless your cabinets need special preparation.

Addressing Needed Repairs

Inevitably, you will find areas on your kitchen cabinets that need repairs. This can be wood damage, poor original construction, or normal wear and tear. Nationally, the average cost to repair kitchen cabinets before painting is $297. In general, repairs can range from $131 to $464.

Dismantling the Kitchen

Most professional painters will remove any built-in appliances such as cooktops, ovens, and microwaves. In some cases, the vent hood will be removed as well. Nationally, the cost to remove and reinstall appliances before painting your kitchen cabinets is $15.15 per appliance. The range of costs for appliance removal runs from $14,18 to $16,13 per appliance.

In addition, the cabinets must be empty. This job usually falls to the homeowner, who must remove everything in the drawers and cabinets before the painters begin.

Getting The Cabinets Ready

Before anything else, someone must prepare your kitchen cabinets for their new coat of paint. The hardware and pulls must be removed. Sanding and cleaning the old surface to prepare it for fresh paint is essential. In general, professional painters charge between $2 and $3 per square foot to do surface preparation on kitchen cabinets.

Under some circumstances, the old finish on your kitchen cabinets must be stripped off. This can involve sanding or using chemical strippers to remove the finish. In most cases, you can expect this part of a kitchen paint job to cost between $600 and $1,500.

Application Options

The professional painter you hire may give you a choice of brushing or spraying the paint onto your kitchen cabinets. Before you make this choice, you should understand these methods and the pros and cons of each one.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets with a Brush

Brushing paint has been the traditional method used for thousands of years. Brushing offers several advantages.

  • Brushing and rolling paint are usually cheaper because there is less preparation required.
  • Many people believe that a brush applied paint is more durable than sprayed paint.
  • Brushing paint usually gives better coverage and uses less paint for the same square footage.

Brushing also has its disadvantages to consider.

  • Brushing paint typically takes longer, which incurs more labor costs
  • The drying time for brushed on paint is longer than sprayed finishes. The paint coverage is thicker, which takes longer to cure properly.

Most professional painters estimate costs based on the time it takes to prep and apply the paint. Brushing paint onto kitchen cabinets typically costs $3 to $10 per square foot. Some painters will estimate the cost on the running feet of cabinets. These costs are usually between $30 to $60 per linear foot.

A few paint contractors charge based on the number of doors and drawers on your cabinet.  In this case, the cost is usually around $100 per door, $25 per drawer front.

Spraying Paint on your Kitchen Cabinets

The alternative to brushing is to spray paint onto your kitchen cabinets. Generally, an airless paint sprayer is used to apply interior paint. Spraying does have its advantages, but many times, the disadvantages making spraying unattractive to homeowners. Some of the pros of spraying paint include:

  • Spraying paint on kitchen cabinets is usually the fastest method. A skilled painter using an airless rig can usually apply paint to an entire kitchen in just a few hours.
  • The finish you get with sprayed paint is often much more even. There are no brush marks or uneven spots. The sprayed paint can get into small corners, nooks, and crannies that are hard to get with a brush.
  • Most kitchen paint jobs that are sprayed cost less because of the reduced time, which translates into fewer labor costs.

The pros of spray painting kitchen cabinets are attractive. However, you must consider the downsides of spraying your kitchen cabinet paint.

  • It is hard to control where the airborne paint goes. Overspray can be a huge problem with an airless spray rig. You may find paint in parts of your home that you never intended to paint.
  • While spray painting kitchen cabinets is quick, the preparation time is usually longer. Anything you don’t want to be painted requires masking and covering, including wall surfaces, tile, flooring, and appliances.

Spray painting the cabinets in an average kitchen runs between $400 and $1,000. Suppose you feel adventurous and want to tackle the job yourself. In that case, most home improvement stores rent professional-grade airless spray rigs for $40 to $120 per day.

The Alternatives to Repainting Kitchen Cabinets

If you want a new look for your tired kitchen cabinets, there are other alternatives to paint. You may elect to reface or resurface your kitchen cabinets. On average, the cost for resurfacing or refacing kitchen cabinets is $1,600 to $9,500.

  • Resurfacing your kitchen cabinets can involve new stains to change the color and new surface finishes such as varnish, lacquer, or urethane. You can expect resurfacing your kitchen cabinets to cost between $1,600 and $3,900.
  • Refacing your kitchen cabinets can give old cabinets a completely new look. Applying thin veneers to old cabinets can make your cabinets look brand new or just built. Applying veneers also requires applying a finish. Overall, you can expect a refacing job to cost between $4,200 and $9,500.

Don’t expect to perform either a resurface or reface of your kitchen cabinet yourself. These options require special skills that are best provided by a professional with the proper training.

Choosing the Type of Paint

Before your kitchen refinish job begins, you must decide which kind of paint you want your painter to apply. Paint comes in two varieties, oil-based and latex.

This chart should help you understand the differences in these paints and give you an idea of the better paint for kitchen cabinets. Of course, the advice of your professional paint contractor is always good to have.

Factors in Paint Selection Latex Paint Oil-Based Paint
Composition Water-based Oil-based
Ease of Use Thinner and easier to apply Thicker and harder to apply.
Finish Matte, Semi-gloss, gloss Semi-gloss and gloss
Drying time 1 – 2 hours Days or even weeks
Primer Not required Required
Durability Not as resistant to staining. It won’t crack or peel as easily More resistant to staining. May yellow or change color over time. Cracking can be a problem
Odor Little or no odor The odor may be a problem for longer periods
Toxicity Non-toxic It can be toxic depending on the tints and the oil base
Clean-up Soap and Water Requires paint thinner to clean tools and brushes

There are more downsides to oil-based paints than latex paints. However, the better durability of oil-based paints makes them a better choice for kitchen cabinets that get a lot of daily wear and tear.

In general, the cost of high-quality latex and oil-based paints is comparable. You can expect either to cost between $20 and $70 per gallon. New technologies in paint colors make almost any color in the rainbow available in either type of paint.

Do-It-Yourself or Hire a Professional?

Many homeowners routinely paint parts of their homes. One consideration for taking on a kitchen painting job yourself is the cost -savings you can accrue. There are some things to consider if you are contemplating painting your kitchen cabinets yourself.

Pre-Painting Preparation

Anyone with much experience painting knows that proper preparation is the key to a professional finish. To properly prepare your kitchen cabinets for painting, there are some key parts of the process.

  • In some cases, you may need to remove old paint, stain, or lacquer from the surfaces of your kitchen cabinets before applying your new paint. Many latex paints and some oil-based paints won’t adhere properly to old varnish, lacquer, or other finishes. Surface preparation may involve using chemical strippers that can be hazardous. Failing to remove the old finishes can, in some instances, cause your new paint to fail quickly.
  • You must remove the hinges and pulls from the doors and drawers. Proper preparation for the kitchen cabinet surfaces requires that you have access to every inch of the surface to be painted. Hinges and pulls make it almost impossible to adequately prepare surfaces for refinishing.
  • Depending on the type of paint you are using and the old finish, you may need to apply a coat of primer to the surfaces of your kitchen cabinets. Follow the paint manufacturer’s recommendations closely to ensure that you get the best possible finish on your kitchen cabinets.
  • If you intend to use an airless spray rig, don’t forget that every surface in your kitchen that you don’t want to be painted must be covered. This includes sealing any doors leading to the rest of your home. In some cases, getting ready to spray paint in your kitchen takes longer than painting.

The preparation of your kitchen cabinets for a new finish can be tedious and time-consuming. Professionals who perform these preparations regularly have the tools and the knowledge to do the job more efficiently and effectively. Often it is the preparation part of the job that leads do-it-yourselfers to hire a professional.

Consider the Time Involved

For many homeowners, the time involved to do a professional paint job makes hiring a professional much more attractive. Consider that the typical homeowner may spend 15 to 50 hours prepping and painting an average kitchen. A professional paint contractor may accomplish the same job in 8 to 20 hours. The additional expense can be worth the time you save and the results you get.

Do You Have the Tools and Equipment to Do the Job?

If you must purchase the right tools and equipment to perform the refinish of your kitchen cabinets, you may not save any money at all. High-quality paint brushes are expensive. Tape and paper tools and supplies can add to the cost. Cleaning materials, ladders, and the rental of a spray rig can add to the expenses above and beyond the paint cost.

Professionals already have the proper tools and equipment. These are part and parcel of their job, and they tend to use the best that they can find. Purchasing professional-grade equipment for a single job is not economical, especially if the equipment goes unused after your job is complete.

Giving Your Kitchen a New Look

Painting your kitchen cabinets is a cost-effective way to give your kitchen a fresh new look. Painting certainly costs much less than a complete kitchen makeover. Whether you hire a professional paint contractor or decide on a do-it-yourself project, a fresh coat of paint can add value and livability to your home.

Dennis Howard

Dennis is a retired firefighter with an extensive background in construction, home improvement, and remodeling. He worked in the trades part-time while serving as an active firefighter. On his retirement, he started a remodeling and home repair business, which he ran for several years.

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