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Painting kitchen unit doors - thrifty or bonkers?

(25 Posts)
WaftingWillberry Sun 28-Jun-15 22:21:17

The whole kitchen's being re-done and moved around, and since we're having wooden worktops the units really could do with being a lighter colour - probably white or off white.

The existing units have solid oak doors with what looks like a clear matt lacquer on them. The carcasses are mainly fine, though a couple may need replacing as they are a bit ropey where the door hinges attach.

In a world of unlimited funds I'd waltz into somewhere like Howdens and get them to draw up a nice plan and we'd shell out a couple of thousand on brand new units, but I resent paying that when we've already got perfectly good ones that could be painted.

DH is sceptical that it will look okay and that I will get around to doing it but it can't be that hard, surely? Would water based gloss work?

Any tips gratefully appreciated smile

PigletJohn Sun 28-Jun-15 23:49:46

varnish is not a good surface to paint on. As they are in a kitchen they will have a greasy film on them.

You could degloss the surface with fine sanding, and degrease with white spirit on a rag. Remove handles. Zinsser BIN is a good primer for difficult surfaces but email them and see what they say. I am not keen on water paints for difficult surfaces. Take them into the garden to clean, sand and paint.

Replacement doors (especially MDF with a laminate coating) are not expensive in standard sizes - browse fleabay. Measure the doors, and the exact positions of the finge holes, with enormous care. Don't buy vinyl wrap which is rubbish not very durable. You may decide it is better value than the effort of repainting.

PigletJohn Sun 28-Jun-15 23:51:05

hinge holes.

mandy214 Mon 29-Jun-15 09:24:18

I've seen on here in the past recommendations for getting the doors sprayed. I painted my kitchen cupboards a few years ago, followed advice on here about sanding down, primer etc and then painted in F&B and it didn't stand up very well to every day use. It was OK, but had to keep touching it up every month / couple of months.

So when I thought about getting our bedroom furniture painted, I contacted a local company and we have 4 massive pieces of furniture and they quoted £300 to paint it all. So I would perhaps see if you have any companies locally that do it (someone mentioned car body repair companies - they can spray the paint etc) so you'd get a more professional, hard wearing finish.

WaftingWillberry Mon 29-Jun-15 10:43:18

This is really helpful, thanks both smile

I was anticipating having to sand them, but not sure what to do after that or whether even well-prepared surfaces would just flake with heavy use.

Sounds like me painting them myself might not be the best idea then. I think we'll have to see which carcasses are re-usable and go from there. Thanks again.

PrimalLass Mon 29-Jun-15 10:45:29

Look on Pinterest. There are loads of pins about this. American bloggers love this sort of thing so there is a ton of advice out there. Go for it, but take your time and research the paint types a lot first.

FishWithABicycle Mon 29-Jun-15 10:49:06

I repainted wood-effect laminate MDF kitchen doors using specialist paint when we were selling the old house. Gave it a fabulous new look. Also bought snazzy new shiny handles. don't skimp on surface preparation and priming and it will be fine.

PigletJohn Mon 29-Jun-15 11:30:33

"painted in F&B and it didn't stand up very well to every day use."


opinions differ about fashionable paint brands.

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Mon 29-Jun-15 11:34:09

We had ours repainted as a short term measure and it was ok but not amazing. I think a thorough professional job could last very well though.

Word of warning is that we painted them in situ but 2 yrs later did some work on the kitchen and moved some units around. The old carcasses were set on frames rather than adjustable legs like modern carcasses. When we took up the old floor all the frames were the wrong height for the countertops. In the end we just replaced the kitchen. It's worth taking off the kickboard and checking what's underneath before starting the work just in case it snowballs.

PigletJohn Mon 29-Jun-15 11:41:51

adjustable, if you ever do it again

PigletJohn Mon 29-Jun-15 11:43:19

heaps of sizes

Belleview Mon 29-Jun-15 11:47:48

Fish you painted and then sold, so you don't know what wear and tear was like?

It might be worth buying mdf replacement doors cut to fit, and then apply your zinnser and eggshell to them instead. More porous, perhaps more long lasting finish.

In theory you should be able to paint kitchen doors well enough, providing you sand them thoroughly, very thoroughly, and use two thin coats of good primer.

Sleepybeanbump Mon 29-Jun-15 11:55:07

Sand really well, Zinser bin primer, and water based paint (little greene is the best and worth the money, but if you don't want a pricey brand I also had good results with dulux diamond.

It's a great way of making a massive (and pretty long lasting). I would love a new kitchen, and my carcasses are really minging, but with the doors closed the kitchen looks quite smart!

I've done it to lacquered oak no probs. It will be more prone to chips than a 'proper' painted kitchen, but the great thing with paint is you can touch it up!

Stinkersmum Mon 29-Jun-15 11:58:14

I have a friend who runs her own business painting kitchens/decorating/restoring furniture and only uses f&b. It stands up very well to everyday use if done properly.....

mandy214 Mon 29-Jun-15 12:05:16

Stinkersmum I think F&B might be ok on say dressers or more display type pieces but if you do a search on various threads, F&B comes in for a slating for kitchen cupboard restoration (unless you're talking about the high end kitchen companies who sell painted kitchens in F&B colours) - for homeowners doing it themselves, regardless of the prep, F&B paint simply can't cope with the 24/7 usage of a kitchen. I've used it on bedside cabinets / built in alcove cupboards in the lounge and its been fine. Kitchen cupboards are a different story and I wouldn't recommend F&B at all.

Stinkersmum Mon 29-Jun-15 12:10:17

Well, my qualified, successful business owning decorater friend won't use anything else, and has many happy customers who pay for her not inexpensive services. If you're not going to bother prepping properly, no paint will last very long.

mandy214 Mon 29-Jun-15 12:37:53

I agree but that's the point - its lovely for walls, some pieces of furniture, but as I said up thread that even with thorough prep it doesn't stand up in kitchens. Just have a look at previous threads on the same point - I'm not the only one smile who has that opinion.

Stinkersmum Mon 29-Jun-15 12:39:05

Her main job specs are kitchens.....

lentilpot Mon 29-Jun-15 12:49:41

My mum bought farrow and ball paint and undercoat from a farrow and ball shop - if you follow their recommended steps then they guarantee the finish for kitchens and bathrooms. Her kitchen still looks ok 15 years later (it looked great for about 10 years)

WaftingWillberry Mon 29-Jun-15 13:42:52

Aargh, not an F&B ruck! grin

hides cans of F&B testers

Thanks so much for everyone's experiences. It's all really confusing as to what's best to do - when I looked at new kitchens all the 'solid oak' ones seemed to be premium and pricey, hence the thoughts of trying to preserve the ones we've got.

Re the legs, I had thought that the base units were just sitting on top of planks of laminated chipboard, but on closer inspection these 'plinths' are actually a continuation of the unit sides. Some are rotten where they have been in contact with the floor, so would have to be sawn off and replaced with something (though those ebay legs look ideal Pigletjohn).

Another complication is that whilst shape and size-wise, some of the units will fit the new layout, there will be gaps that will need to be filled with new units whatever happens. I don't mind a non-uniform look, but maybe it's a complication too far to try and fit everything together. confused

dontcallmelen Mon 29-Jun-15 20:25:30

Hi just to throw another paint name into the mix, I have a painted wooden kitchen, fitted about eight years ago & have painted it myself a couple of times with f&b & littlegreene, both were ok, but did scuff/chip fairly quickly especially the little greene.
Recently used mylands eggshell & the finish & ease of use is far far superior, is withstanding the knocks etc really well, would also highly recommend their marble matt emulsion, very scrubable & lovely flat
finish, colour choice not as wide as f&b/lgreene but nice soft & subtle colours,imo well worth having a look at.

RaisingSteam Mon 29-Jun-15 21:55:33

How much of a budget are you on and how much bodging improvising are you up for?

DIY kitchens would kit you out with some ready to paint doors and good solid carcases for probably £2K - £2.5k if you don't get carried away. Otherwise you will be looking at running repairs/refurbishment of some units - for instance you could trim them down to "boxes" and put them on legs yourself, you can get all the hardware online. If they are a standard size then you can probably mix in some new ones - measure carefully. You could even get new drawer boxes or interior fittings. Ikea are a different size but virtually everything else in the UK has been standard for years.

We've done a fair bit of reusing and refurbishing kitchens, they can come out OK and get you a few more years rather than spending silly money and it looks more individual as well.

My two pennorth is paint with oil based eggshell, and get a good surface primer from a decorator's merchant.
Chapter and verse here

TheEmpressofBlandings Mon 29-Jun-15 22:04:06

I'm planning on having my kitchen re sprayed, same sort of situation, solid wood decent doors, just needs smartening up.
It's a big kitchen and have been quoted £1000 to do it all (cornice thingies, side panels etc as well as doors).
It's sprayed with a lacquer rather than paint so should be hard wearing.

WaftingWillberry Tue 30-Jun-15 14:08:27

RaisingSteam - Budget is small and I'm well up for bodging. We can't afford a whole new kitchen, even if it's really low-end.

We're keeping existing appliances, which will all be free-standing, so really it's just a jigsaw of cupboards around them. Thanks for the tips smile

Thanks too Empress and Len. smile

I think I'll check out whether we can get them stripped and sprayed anywhere, and if not then bodge it myself...

WaftingWillberry Tue 30-Jun-15 14:10:51

We are having new work surfaces and sink though, so that bit is exciting!

The reason for the changes is it's currently a really impractical and annoying layout, so to have things where I want them will be good too.

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