What Are The Cost Of Painting Kitchen Cabinets?

Doing it yourself allows greater creative control and cost savings, with materials averaging $200-$500. However, painting cabinets requires skill and precision to achieve an even finish. 

First-timers often underestimate the preparation work involved, like thoroughly cleaning, sanding, and priming the cabinets to ensure proper paint adhesion. Rushing this groundwork can lead to a sloppy final look with drips or brush marks.

Hiring a pro typically ranges from $1,000-$5,000 depending on your location and the painter’s experience level. While pricier, professionals have the expertise to properly prepare surfaces, recommend paints best suited to your cabinets, and efficiently apply coats for a seamless finish. Their workmanship and access to professional spraying equipment also ensure greater durability.

When renovating kitchen cabinets, homeowners face the decision of either taking on the project as a DIY job or hiring a professional painter. There are pros and cons to each approach that warrant careful consideration.

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George Nicola

George is a seasoned interior designer and property marketing strategist with over 13 years of experience. He specializes in transforming properties into visually stunning spaces, helping clients recognize the potential and beauty in each property. With an impressive international client base of exciting projects throughout Europe and America.

Painting the exterior of your home can be a challenging task, but it is essential to maintain the appearance and integrity of your property.

A fresh coat of paint can give your home a new lease of life, enhance its curb appeal, and increase its value.

In this article, we will provide you with a beginner expert tips on how to paint your home’s exterior, including essential tools and materials, surface preparation, paint application, and post-painting care.

If you are about to re-paint your house’s facade for a first time, this information is for you.

how long does it take to re-paint an old kitchen cabinets

On average, it takes 1-2 weeks for a professional painter to repaint old kitchen cabinets

Most professional painting companies estimate that repainting the cabinets in an average-sized kitchen takes 4-5 days of work spread out over 1-2 weeks.

The process involves multiple steps like removing doors/drawers, sanding, priming, painting, drying, and reinstalling. Professionals have systems to work efficiently but still need several days for prep, paint application, and drying time between coats.

For DIYers, repainting cabinets can take 2-4 weekends depending on experience. The preparation (removing doors, cleaning, sanding, masking) and painting process is tedious and time-consuming.

Proper prep is crucial for good adhesion and to avoid visible brush marks. Multiple thin coats of paint are recommended, with thorough drying between coats.

Key factors that affect project duration:

  • Cabinet condition – Damaged cabinets require repairs before painting, adding time
  • Paint method – Painting with brushes takes longer than spraying for full coverage
  • Drying time – Paint needs 1-2 days drying between coats, and 1-4 weeks curing time before use
  • Prep work – Thorough prep (degreasing, sanding, filling grains) is essential for smooth finish
  • Coats of paint – Multiple primer/paint coats are recommended for durability, adding days
  • Size of kitchen – More cabinets and doors/drawers will increase painting time

For a high-quality DIY repaint that will last, expect to spend 15-40 hours over 2-4 weekends.

Hiring a professional can reduce active painting time to 1 week but still requires 1-2 weeks total including drying/curing.

Proper preparation and using cabinet-grade paints will help the new finish last 5-10 years with proper care.

How to Estimate The Paint Expenses

Painting Kitchen Cabinets: Estimating Material and Labor Costs

Transforming your kitchen by painting the cabinets is an excellent way to revitalize its appearance. However, it’s crucial to estimate the material and labor costs involved in this project accurately. The following factors will help guide you through this process: 

Material Expenses: 

  1. Paint: High-quality paints designed specifically for cabinetry tend to be more expensive than standard interior paints but are well worth the investment due to their durability and resistance to chipping.
  2. Primer: Essential for proper adhesion of paint and ensuring a smooth finish.
  3. Brushes or Rollers: Tools required for applying paint evenly on cabinet surfaces.
  4. Sandpaper or Deglosser: Necessary for surface preparation before painting begins.
  5. Painter’s Tape & Drop Cloths: Protective materials that prevent damage during the painting process.
A person is holding up a hand in front of a kitchen during their first kithcen paint job
A person is holding up a hand in front of a kitchen during their first kithcen paint job

When estimating material expenses, remember that quality should always come first as investing in high-quality products may mean spending more upfront; however, it pays off regarding longevity and aesthetic appeal. 

Labor Costs:

The cost of hiring professionals can vary depending on factors such as expertise level sought after and regional variances in hourly rates charged by service providers within this field. 

Two men working on a kitchen in a home for their first kitchen paint job.
Two men working on a kitchen in a home for their first kitchen paint job.

According to industry estimates: 

  • Repainting a small kitchen (70-100 sq ft) ranges from $1,000 – $3,500 
  • Repainting an average kitchen (100-200 sq ft) ranges from $2,000 – $6,500 
  • Repainting a large kitchen (200+ sq ft) ranges from $5,000 – $10,000 

These figures include both material and labor costs while accounting for factors like size of the kitchen and number of cabinets. 

To ensure optimal results when repainting your kitchen cabinets without compromising aesthetics or functionality, invest wisely in premium materials that meet industry standards while catering to innovative trends. 

Consider seeking professional assistance if you feel unsure about your skills or simply wish to save time on this project. By accurately estimating material and labor costs, you can be better prepared financially for this transformative process. 

kitchen repainting Labor Costs

Diving headfirst into the ocean of labor costs, it is crucial to understand that painting kitchen cabinets can be a time-consuming and intricate process. Professionals are often required for this task due to their expertise in ensuring a flawless finish. 

Painting contractors typically charge by the hour, with rates ranging from $25 to $100 per hour depending on factors such as location, experience level, and project complexity. 

To provide an accurate estimate of labor costs involved in painting kitchen cabinets consider the following three key aspects: 

A 3d model of a kitchen and dining room for interior design.
A 3d model of a kitchen and dining room for interior design.
  1. Project duration: The time needed for cabinet preparation (cleaning and sanding), priming, multiple coats of paint application, and drying varies based on factors like size and design complexity.
  2. Number of professionals: Depending on the project’s scope and deadline constraints, more than one painter may be necessary to complete the job efficiently.
  3. Experience level: As mentioned earlier, professional painters’ hourly charges differ according to their skillset and proficiency; thus impacting overall labor cost calculations.

Keeping these elements in mind will assist in generating a comprehensive understanding of anticipated labor expenditures associated with painting kitchen cabinets. 

While navigating through this labyrinthine maze of cost estimation might seem daunting at first glance, arming oneself with thorough knowledge paves the way for informed decision-making regarding budget allocation for upcoming renovation projects.

Cabinet painting job activity organized into a timeline

Preparation (1-3 days before painting)

  • Cleaning cabinets – Washing down cabinets with TSP or other degreaser to remove dirt, oil and grease so paint adheres properly.
  • Sanding cabinets – Lightly sanding cabinets provides a roughened surface for paint to grip. Useful for glossy surfaces.
  • Filling cabinets – Using wood filler to patch holes, dents and imperfections for a smooth finish.
  • Covering wood grain – Applying filler primer helps create a uniform surface on open-grained woods like oak.

Priming (1-2 days before painting)

  • Priming cabinets – Applying primer coat helps paint stick to cabinets and prevents bleed-through. Oil-based primers work best.
  • Spraying primer – Using an HVLP sprayer allows you to apply primer more evenly than brushing. Works well for priming cabinet boxes.

Painting (2+ days)

  • Painting cabinets – Applying two coats of cabinet paint with angled brush for corners and roller for flat areas. Light sanding between coats.
  • Brush painting – Using high-quality angled brush to carefully apply paint around detailed cabinet trim and frames.
  • Repainting cabinets – Painting existing cabinets requires extra prep like deglossing before priming/painting.
  • Painting oak, wood, melamine cabinets – Process is same but may require extra primer/deglosser for these cabinet materials.

Finishing (+3-5 days to fully cure)

  • Sealing cabinets – Applying protective clear topcoat like polyurethane for added durability and washability.
  • Finishing cabinets – Doing final inspection for drips or missing spots and doing any final touch ups needed.

Prep stages for kitchen repainting per type of paint

A model of a kitchen with furniture.
A model of a kitchen with furniture.

The preparation work is consistent across paint types, while the priming, painting and finishing steps may vary based on your specific cabinet paint selection.

Here are the steps for prepping and painting common types of kitchen cabinet paints:


  • Clean cabinets thoroughly with a degreaser to remove any grease or dirt
  • Lightly sand cabinets to rough up the surface for better paint adhesion
  • Apply 1-2 coats of high quality primer like Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 or Kilz Adhesion Primer, following label directions for dry time between coats


  • Clean and sand cabinets as above
  • Apply 1-2 coats of shellac-based primer like Zinsser BIN Shellac Primer, following label directions
  • Shellac seals stains, knots, and odors and provides excellent adhesion for paint


  • Clean and sand cabinets
  • Apply lacquer primer like Sherwin Williams Multi-Purpose Lacquer Undercoater
  • Allow to dry per label directions
  • Apply 2-3 thin coats of lacquer paint, sanding lightly between coats
  • Lacquer provides a durable, glass-smooth finish but requires respirator due to fumes

Oil-Based Paint

  • Clean, sand, and prime cabinets
  • Apply 2 coats of oil-based enamel, allowing overnight dry time between coats
  • Oil-based paint levels nicely but has strong odor and takes longer to dry

Water-Based Paint

  • Clean, sand, and prime cabinets
  • Apply 2-3 coats of water-based acrylic enamel like Benjamin Moore Advance, following label for dry times
  • Water-based acrylic levels well and is low odor but may require extra coats

Paint and Primer in One

  • Clean and scuff-sand cabinets
  • Apply 2-3 coats of paint + primer like Behr Cabinet & Trim All-In-One
  • Allows skipping separate primer step but may require extra coats for full coverage

Bonding Primer

  • Clean and scuff cabinets
  • Apply bonding primer like Stix to form a grip coat on slick surfaces
  • Top coat with latex or oil-based paint

Etching Primer

  • Clean and scuff cabinets
  • Apply etching primer like Krylon Etch Primer to bite into glossy surfaces
  • Provides tooth for paints that don’t stick to slick surfaces

Vinyl Primer

  • Clean and scuff vinyl-wrapped cabinets
  • Apply vinyl primer like Krylon Fusion for Plastic to bond paint to vinyl
  • Top coat with latex or oil-based paint

Laminate Primer

  • Clean laminate cabinets with ammonia solution
  • Lightly scuff surface
  • Apply laminate primer like Giani Countertop Paint Kit Primer
  • Allows painting factory laminate cabinets with good adhesion

Cabinet Paint

  • Clean, sand, and prime cabinets
  • Apply 2 coats of cabinet paint like Sherwin Williams ProClassic Waterbased Acrylic-Alkyd
  • Cabinet paints are formulated for toughness, adhesion, and smooth leveling on cabinets

Rust Paint

  • Remove loose rust with sandpaper or wire brush
  • Clean with TSP or other degreaser
  • Apply 2 coats of rust inhibiting primer like Rust-Oleum Rust Reformer or Rust Tough
  • Top coat with oil or latex paint

Kilz Primer

  • Clean and sand cabinets
  • Apply 1-2 coats of Kilz Original Primer or Kilz Adhesion Primer
  • Kilz primers seal stains and promote adhesion on multiple surfaces

Stix Primer

  • Clean and scuff cabinets
  • Apply Stix primer to bond paint to slick surfaces like laminate, tile, glossy paints
  • Stix is a bonding primer that sticks without sanding or deglossing

Money-Saving Tips For Cabinet Painting

Painting your kitchen cabinets can be a cost-effective way to refresh their appearance, but it is essential to budget appropriately and consider factors such as cabinet size and layout, paint type, and labor costs. To ensure optimal results without overspending, follow these money-saving tips: 

  1. Choose high-quality paint: Invest in paint specifically designed for cabinets to achieve a durable finish. Expect to spend between $30-$60 per gallon for quality cabinet paint.
  1. Prioritize prep work: Properly clean, sand, and prime your cabinets before painting. This helps prevent uneven finishes or peeling paint that may require costly repairs later on.
  1. DIY vs professional services: Evaluate whether completing the project yourself would save more money than hiring professionals; factor in your time commitment and skill level when making this decision.
  1. Obtain multiple estimates: If hiring professionals, gather quotes from various contractors before selecting one. Compare their rates, experience levels, and customer reviews to make an informed choice.
  1. Repurpose existing hardware: Instead of purchasing new knobs and pulls, clean and polish the current ones for a refreshed look without additional expense.

By implementing these suggestions, homeowners can minimize expenditures while still achieving an impressive transformation of their kitchen cabinetry. 

In any renovation project, it is crucial not only to make informed decisions but also balance financial considerations against desired outcomes. Careful evaluation of available options will allow you to complete your cabinet painting project within budget while meeting your goals. 

Now that you have these money-saving tips at hand, plan how best to allocate funds based on your individual requirements and preferences for a successful cabinet makeover that won’t break the bank. 

How do you know what type of primer to use?

Here are some guidelines on selecting the right type of primer for different use cases when painting cabinets:

  • For new raw wood cabinets, use an oil-based primer like Kilz Original or Zinsser Cover Stain to seal the wood and prevent tannin bleed.
  • When painting over existing painted or varnished cabinets, use a bonding primer like Zinsser BIN Primer to help the new paint adhere properly.
  • For laminate or melamine cabinets, a shellac-based primer like Zinsser B-I-N provides excellent adhesion to slick surfaces.
  • If painting over stains or tannins on wood, a stain-blocking primer like Kilz Premium or Zinsser Smart Prime locks in stains.
  • For oak cabinets, which have porous tannin-rich wood, a oil-based primer helps prevent staining and knots from bleeding through.
  • When painting over glossy or slick surfaces, an etching primer like Krylon Etch Primer eats into the surface for better adhesion.
  • For a quick paint job, an all-in-one primer+paint like Zinsser Smart Prime cuts out the need for a separate topcoat.
  • To cover up wood grain or texture, build up coats of a high-fill primer like Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Based Primer.


The cost of painting kitchen cabinets includes expenses for materials like paint, brushes, primer, filler, and sandpaper, as well as potential labor fees if hiring a professional painter.

Carefully evaluating these factors enables creating an accurate budget for this home improvement project.

It’s also worth noting that repainting kitchen cabinets can provide homeowners with a valuable return on investment if planning to sell their home soon.

Studies show freshly painted cabinets can increase a home’s resale value by 4-7%, making it a smart upgrade when positioning the house to go on the market.

With the average kitchen remodel costing over $20,000, a simple cabinet paint job is a budget-friendly way to give the space a fresh, updated look that appeals to prospective buyers. The transformation can make the kitchen appear significantly more modern and valuable for just a fraction of the cost of a full renovation.

So for homeowners looking to increase their home’s sale price, repainting worn or dated kitchen cabinets is an affordable investment that can pay dividends when it comes time to sell.

The project costs certainly add up, but the potential ROI makes cabinet painting a strategic win-win for enhancing both beauty and equity in your home.

what gloss oil based paint for kitchen cabients

Here are the best oil-based paints for kitchen cabinets:

  1. Diamond Brite Oil Based Enamel Interior/Exterior Paint: A budget-friendly option.
  2. Glidden Door & Trim Interior/Exterior Oil Paint: Suitable for both doors and cabinets.
  3. Rust-Oleum High-Performance Protective Enamel: Known for high performance.
  4. Behr Oil-Base Enamel Interior/Exterior Paint: Versatile for both indoor and outdoor use.
  5. Valspar Cabinet and Furniture Oil-Enriched Enamel: Specifically designed for cabinets and furniture.
  6. Sherwin-Williams All Surface Enamel Oil Base Paint: Suitable for various surfaces.
  7. Valspar Door & Trim Oil-Enriched Enamel Interior/Exterior: Another option for doors and cabinets​1​.

best primer to use to paint my oak kitchen cabients

Oil-based paints make an excellent choice for kitchen cabinets if you don’t mind the strong smell and longer dry times. Be sure to take proper safety precautions.

Many homeowners find the end result is worth it for the extreme durability and beautiful finish. Using a semi-gloss sheen is recommended to provide the right balance of protection and aesthetic.

Some key benefits of using oil-based paint on kitchen cabinets include:

  • Durability – Oil-based paints create a very hard, durable finish that can withstand constant use and cleaning. This makes them well-suited for high-traffic areas like kitchen cabinets.
  • Smooth finish – The search results note oil-based paints level out beautifully to hide imperfections like scratches or dents in the cabinet surface. The smooth finish resists yellowing over time.
  • Good coverage – Oil-based paints adhere well to wood and generally provide good coverage, sometimes in just one coat. This can save on time and cost.
  • Scrubbable – The hard finish of oil-based cabinet paint resists stains and cleans up easily with just soap and water. This is useful in kitchens where cabinets get frequent use.

However, there are some downsides to consider as well:

  • Long dry time – Oil-based paints take much longer to dry than other types of paints, sometimes up to 16 hours. Proper ventilation is key.
  • VOCs – Oil-based paints emit high levels of VOCs, which can cause eye and throat irritation. Proper safety precautions are essential.
  • Limited colors – There are fewer color options available in oil-based paints compared to other types.
  • Strong odor – The fumes from oil-based paint can linger for weeks after application.
  1. Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Base Primer: This primer is effective for covering up stains on cabinets and provides a solid base for paint. It also seals knots in wood and prevents tannins from bleeding through the paint​.

  2. KILZ Adhesion Interior/Exterior Primer: This water-based primer provides high adhesion, making it suitable for cabinets with challenging surfaces. It ensures latex and oil-based paints adhere to even the most difficult surfaces​.

  3. Zinsser Bondz Maximum Adhesion Primer: This water-based primer is known for its ability to bond to hard and dense surfaces, preparing them for all types of paint​2​.

  4. INSL-X STIX Waterborne Bonding Primer: A latex-based primer that’s versatile and bonds well to hard-to-coat surfaces, such as laminate cabinets​.

  5. Zinsser Cover Stain Interior/Exterior Primer-Sealer: An oil-based primer that provides excellent coverage and also helps protect against future stains. It’s quick-drying and suitable for both indoor and outdoor use​​.

  6. Zinsser BIN Shellac-Based Primer: Recommended as the best primer for oak cabinets, it seals and covers up stains effectively. This primer also blocks tannins that can bleed through the paint, ensuring a long-lasting paint job​.

The primers listed above are suitable for oak cabinets due to their properties, such as stain-blocking and adhesion to smooth surfaces.

Always ensure that the chosen primer is compatible with the paint you plan to use and follow manufacturer guidelines for application and drying times.