Does Cabinet Paint Chip?

Kitchen cabinet paint is no different to auto body work. It will chip if you hit it.

However, in order for paint to stick and feel smooth, surfaces should always be prepared properly. After 40 years in the painting business we have learned one thing that sets our work apart from others, paint chips far less, adheres to a surface much better when old finishes are clean and sanded back down to the wood again.

Sanding greatly improves paint adhesion, durability and overall look.

Kitchen cabinet painting

Before Painting, Priming or Undercoating

⚠️ When is comes to kitchen cabinet painting, it is very important wood surfaces are extremely clean and porous (never shinny). The deeper paint gets absorbed into wood, the less chance paint will chip or be as noticeable. See flood coating

(sanding is particularly important when painting darker wood cabinets light colours or shades of white)

Note: We never use lacquer because it yellows, cracks and chips at corner joints with expansion. Benjamin Moore Acrylic paints however are the best choice when it comes to kitchen cabinet paint because it never yellows, it is more durable and flexible and comes in any colour you desire!

Can I paint kitchen cabinets without sanding?

Can I paint kitchen cabinets without sanding?

If you are painting cabinets that have never been installed or varnished. Yes. But if there is any sign of food, oil from your hands, build up of grease near pulls and corners etc... you need to completely remove it all. If you don’t... paint will always chip or peel the moment you clean or hit those areas. Cleaning is the MOST IMPORTANT step.

Products like degreasers or TSP never work for older cabinets. If they actually worked we would be millionaires. In fact we never use TSP


Preparing kitchen cabinets for paint

Before any cabinet painting we always follow these steps in this order.

If  you do not follow these steps, the chances paint will chip easier, crack away from the wood are greater.

bad cabinet preparation

There are no short cuts to how we finish cabinets. Its all about preparation.

Preparing the wood

  1. Scrape and remove any grease, crud you find and that includes tight to the corners and grooves. 
  2. Use a cleaning solution (NEVER TSP) to clean after you scrape. We recommend Spray 9 and sometimes solvent, Acetone, lacquer thinner but generally Spray9 works the best.
  3. Sand the entire piece until you do not see any gloss finish. Its paramount the entire piece of wood doesn't have shiny lacquer. The finish must be dull. We generally sand further than just the surface and will usually sand into the bare wood where the pulls and corners get the most handling of years. The deep paint goes into the wood, the better the bond. Its as simple as that.
  4. Air blast and vacuum the entire piece. The less dust including deep into the corners the better.


cabinet painting - prpreparation


Cleaning and degreasing cabinets

Before you Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Every kitchen cabinet we've ever painted has some grease or food of some hind on the doors and drawers. Over time airborne pollutants, which include grease settle on the tops of cabinet doors. Before any painting begins... GREASE HAS TO BE REMOVED.

NOTE: you cannot use TSP to clean grease alone. We know products like TSP are recommended but in our case this is simply not true. Every kitchen has to be sanded so primer and paint bonds "deeper" into the wood.  The better the bond, the less likely paint will chip.
Below is an example of how we use a razor edge to scrape grease. Chemicals such as de-greasers NEVER WORK!  Once scraping is done, the next step is using chemical cleaners, wiping clean followed by sanding and then finally by air blasting all the dust away. There is no easier or better way to prepare cabinets for painting than this.

Why it costs money to paint kitchen cabinets and why you choose a re-finisher that takes the time to do it right.
You have to get the grease off the wood and out of the grain. If you don’t... the paint won’t stick!

de-greasing oak cabinets prior to painting