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Why Is Paint Not Sticking To Cabinets? (Real Reason)

Paint not sticking to cabinets?…

When you are painting cabinets you can give them a fresh and updated look at a lower price point than an entire remodel job.

The cabinets must be prepared properly before you paint them for the paint to stick to the surface and dry properly as it should. The best finish results from clean, sanded cabinets that are primed first and then painted, this will stop you having any issue with paint not sticking to cabinets.

What Type of Cabinets are You Trying to Paint?

Paint not sticking to cabinets

Cabinets are available in a variety of materials. The most common cabinets are made of hardwood, plywood, particleboard, MDF, metal, laminate, and melamine.

Of all of these types of cabinets, the most common materials that you would find in a kitchen or bathroom to paint are hardwood, particleboard, and MDF.

It’s a point to note that MDF is usually used for the cabinet boxes and shelves and it can’t be stained or painted while it is also typically covered with either laminate or wood veneer instead.

Have The Cabinets Been Previously Painted

Any cabinet that has been previously painted will need to be thoroughly cleaned before you paint it. Kitchen cabinets may have embedded grease stains or smoke stains in the old paint that can rise to the surface and show through the new coat of paint.

The cabinets need to be perfectly clean and sanded also in order for the paint to stick to them properly. No matter what type of old paint is on the cabinets, the process of preparing them will be the same.

Cabinets that have been previously painted will need all of the hardware such as hinges, drawer pulls and doorknobs removed and they need to be cleaned thoroughly as well.

Painting over the hardware doesn’t give you a professional appearance and is a dead giveaway that you didn’t take the time to do this part correctly.

When you paint over hardware it will generally be thicker paint in these areas and, depending on the style of the hardware, it can cause the paint to run and pool around it.

You can consider installing all new hardware on your cabinets without painting them for a brand new appearance that is bright and shiny.

The Best Type of Paint That Will Stick to Most Cabinets

paint not sticking to cabinets

Semi-gloss paint is great for cabinets, especially cabinets in the kitchen. It has some sheen to it that reflects light and it is the most durable paint.

It’s also very easy to clean smudges and fingerprints off as it is washable and very resilient to being scrubbed.

Semi-gloss paint is especially great if you have kids in the house as well, because children are more apt to get handprints on bathroom cabinets while trying to clean them up.

Gloss paint is very shiny and will brighten up a room considerably. This type of paint works great for bright colors and very modern styled homes in the kitchens and bathrooms.

It is also very durable because it has more resin and binders in the paint, so it hardens well.

Eggshell or flat finish paint isn’t the best choice for kitchen cabinets or bathroom cabinets for that matter.

They don’t wash as well as a semi-gloss or gloss paint does and you can easily scrub right through the paint when you are trying to clean grease or other debris off it.

Are You Using the Correct Painting Equipment?

A professional painter may actually use a paint sprayer to paint cabinets, but most homeowners and DIY enthusiasts don’t really have the expertise to do this.

A mini roller works very well for painting cabinets. It’s small enough and is very easy to handle. You should choose a paint sleeve that is made of mohair, foam, or microfiber for the smoothest and most professional finish.

If your cabinet doors are flat, this painting method is very speedy.

You should invest in a good 2-inch brush for painting cabinets. If you decide to, you can paint the cabinets with a brush.

If your cabinets have raised portions on the doors, a paintbrush is best for these areas because the mini roller can’t get into all the grooves of the molding very well.

For the best technique, you can paint the flat parts of your cabinet doors with the mini roller first and then the raised portions with a brush so they have good coverage.

Paint not sticking to cabinets

Step-by-Step Instructions for Guaranteed Results!

1. Painting cabinets can be a bit of a messy job with paint drips. The best idea is to first protect all your countertops with rosin paper or brown builder’s paper.

2. Next, you need to remove the cabinet doors, your drawer fronts, and all the hardware from the cabinets.

3. It’s a good idea to draw a diagram of all the cabinets and number them. Then label the doors and drawers with a permanent marker as you remove them so you know which one goes where.

Write the numbers in the hinge area on the backs of the cabinet doors where they won’t be seen on your finished product. Cover the numbers in the hinge location of the backs of the doors with masking tape, so after using primer and paint you can remove the tape and see which door goes where.

Sometimes, in older homes, if you put a cabinet door back up after painting it in the wrong area, it may sag or not fit just right so that it doesn’t close all the way. This method helps you to dodge a big headache later on.

4. Clean your cabinets thoroughly with a degreaser such as TSP or dawn dish soap. Rinse them thoroughly and dry them off.

5. Sand all areas that you are going to paint with 120 grit sandpaper to scuff up the finish so the paint will stick to it. Just lightly scuff up the surface.

You can use a green adhesive pad to lightly sand the molded areas of your cabinet doors as sandpaper doesn’t conform to the intricate spots, like the adhesive pad.

6. Vacuum up all the sanding dust and then go over all the surfaces with a tack cloth to make sure it’s all removed.

7. Use an oil-based primer for your first coat on the cabinets, drawers, and doors. You want to prime the rear of the doors first and let it dry completely, Then primer the front of the doors and allow it to dry completely.

Next, you primer the edges of the doors.

8. Lightly sand all areas that you primered with 220-grit sandpaper, vacuum up the dust and use a tack cloth to clean it.

9. Examine all of the cabinets, doors and drawers for any imperfections. They are much easier to see if you have primered the surface already.

If there are any holes, dings or dents fill them with wood filler and wipe the excess off so that the surface is flat. If you have imperfections to correct, let the wood filler dry completely and then put primer on top of the wood filler.

10. Apply your first coat of paint to the cabinets in the same order as you did the primer. Re-sand the cabinets, doors and drawers and ad another coat of paint.

11. You can add a final coat of a sealant on top of the newly painted cabinets if you wish. It can protect your paint job for many more years by sealing it properly.

Apply your sealant in the same order as the primer and paint coats after your final paint coat has dried at least 24 hours for the best results.

12. Let everything dry completely. Remove the tape from the hinge areas to reveal the numbers that match your hand drawn diagram of where each door and drawer goes. Rehang your cabinet doors and insert the drawers.

13. Put all of the hardware back on after cleaning it or install new hardware if you wish. You can instead spray paint your hardware if you wish before replacing it on the cabinets.

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About Lisa Bohrer

Lisa is a native Texan who says she wears many hats. She is a wife, mother, grandmother, farmer, animal lover, fisherwoman, gardener, and college student. Lisa is a sophomore at Liberty University where she is taking classes to earn her Associates Degree in Creative Writing. She and her husband of 35 years fill their days with life on the farm raising goats and chickens, and then most evenings she can be found at the computer writing, or researching a topic that has piqued her interest.

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