How Much Does It Cost to Paint Kitchen Cabinets?
The cost to paint kitchen cabinets is the cheapest of all the kitchen cabinet renovation projects. Homeowners will want to budget an average of $895, or between $422 and $1,415 for this project.
- The typical range for kitchen cabinet painting costs is $422 to $1,415, with a national average of $895.
- The most significant cost factors for the cost to paint kitchen cabinets are the paint type, painting method, cabinet design, kitchen size, paint color, cabinet condition, and labor.
- Painting kitchen cabinets can transform dated or dirty cabinets, give the kitchen an updated look, add value to the home, and be a cost-effective alternative to a full remodel.
- Painting kitchen cabinets may seem like a simple enough DIY, but this project requires skill and many hours of work. Unless a homeowner knows how to paint kitchen cabinets professionally, it’s generally best to hire one of the best cabinet painters for this job, or a highly-rated local pro.
Updating kitchen cabinets is one of the best ways to quickly improve the look and feel of an area where many homeowners spend a lot of time. And depending on the surface and condition the cabinets are in, they don’t have to be replaced to achieve that goal. Repainting kitchen cabinets continues to be one of the most popular kitchen renovation projects that can breathe new life into the space and improve the home’s value.
The cost to paint kitchen cabinets is lower than it might seem—certainly lower than the cost to replace or even reface them. According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, the national average cost to paint kitchen cabinets is $895, with a typical range of $422 to $1,415. This cost is primarily made up of labor but also includes supplies. If existing cabinets need a lot of work to strip off poor surfaces before repainting, if lots of finish work is required, or if there are a lot of cabinets in a large kitchen, this cost could increase to $7,000. These are the most common factors in determining the cost to paint kitchen cabinets, but there are several other important considerations for homeowners to keep in mind when budgeting for this project.
Factors in Calculating Cost to Paint Kitchen Cabinets
Paint comes in many colors and finishes, and some are higher quality than others and will cost more. The supplies the project needs will also affect the cost, as will the overall surface area, layout, and total size of the kitchen cabinets. And since painting kitchen cabinets is a labor-intensive job, a lot of the cost is wrapped up in labor fees. For those homeowners wondering “How much does it cost to paint kitchen cabinets?” the following are the most significant factors in determining pricing for this project.
Different paints are made for different environments and visual effects. Some paints are extra glossy, but they are more expensive than flat or matte paint. The in-between option is an eggshell or satin paint that works on many surfaces, but it might not stand up to the heavy use of kitchen cabinets. There are several common types of paint for kitchen cabinets. Acrylic paints cost about $20 to $50 per gallon. Oil-based paints leave a rich, brushed look and typically cost $20 to $80. Latex paints create a smoother finish and cost $20 to $50. It’s also important for homeowners to select the correct primer for the paint that is being chosen. A paint professional can help homeowners determine the best paint to use on kitchen cabinets.
|Paint Type||Cost per Gallon (Materials Only)|
|Acrylic||$20 to $50|
|Latex-based||$20 to $50|
|Oil-based||$20 to $80|
While homeowners are preparing to paint kitchen cabinets, it will be necessary to decide how to paint them. The most common options are to use a brush, roller, or paint sprayer. Spraying is an efficient method that can get the job done quickly and evenly—if the tool is used correctly. Most homeowners do not already own a paint sprayer, so renting one costs about $40 to $120 per day. Homeowners will want to keep in mind that sprayers use about 30 percent more paint on average, so paint costs will also be higher. If the kitchen cabinets have grooves or recesses and spray paint is not being used, then using a brush is best for these tricky areas, although a roller can be used for the larger flat surfaces. Whichever method is chosen, there will be materials costs for the brushes, rollers, drop cloths, painter’s tape, paint pans, sanding materials or paint strippers, primer, and paint if this will be a DIY job. If professional painters are being hired, they’ll already have the necessary supplies.
Cabinet Design and Layout
For standard kitchen cabinets (not oversize or inset with glass), a painting contractor might quote a price per door ($100), drawer ($25), and cabinet ($75 to $150). Homeowners are advised to keep in mind that tricky or tight layouts with lots of corners will increase the cost, since it’s time-consuming to work in those areas.
The size of the kitchen correlates to the total surface area that determines the cost to paint kitchen cabinets. The cost per square foot for painting kitchen cabinets is about $3 to $10. For homeowners who have a small kitchen, the cost will be on the lower end, but large kitchens with big cabinets will likely cost more. Not only will these require more paint but also more drop cloths to protect the floor and countertops—not to mention more time.
When it comes to the best paint colors for kitchen cabinets, the choice will come down to a homeowner’s preferences and colors that will complement the rest of the kitchen. If the cabinets will be going from a darker color to a lighter color, the best bet is to sand or strip off the existing paint first. If the cabinets are in good condition already, it’ll still be necessary to use a primer to allow the lighter color to show up properly. Primer will add about $45 per gallon to the budget. Using a primer is essential to ensure the right shade of paint on any surface, and it also helps the paint adhere better. It will also cost more to use two paint colors to accent each other. Homeowners will want to speak to a paint professional to choose a color and type of paint that works on the cabinet surfaces. There isn’t a specific paint for kitchen cabinets, but it’s vital for homeowners to make sure the style works with their long-term needs and vision.
In some cases, old kitchen cabinets are in terrible shape: peeling paint, warped laminate, dirty surfaces, or cracked wood. Some cabinets cannot be repainted in their current state and might require significant effort to repair the wood to a usable condition. There is no special paint for old kitchen cabinets, but some prep work may need to be done ahead of the actual painting. Homeowners are advised not to paint laminate cabinets that are damaged until they have been repaired or refaced. Cabinet repairs can cost $130 to $470 depending on the size and extent of the damage. In any case, hardware will need to be removed and the old surface sanded or stripped before the cabinets are primed so that the new paint coat can adhere properly. Stripping the old finish from the cabinets costs between $600 and $1,500 on average. The more work that needs to be done, the more it will cost to prepare the cabinets for painting.
The cost to paint kitchen cabinets includes a fair number of labor fees. On average, kitchen cabinet painters charge $20 to $50 per hour, depending on the location. Sometimes they’ll choose to base their rates on the total linear feet of the cabinets or charge by the door, drawer, and cabinet.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Beyond the essential items that make up kitchen cabinet painting costs, there are a few additional considerations to help homeowners answer the question “How much do painters charge?” While every project will require site preparation, some cabinets won’t need refacing or repairs, so homeowners are advised to consider the following factors on a case-by-case basis.
The level of site preparation and primer the project needs will vary, especially if the cabinets will be spray-painted. Covering every surface is essential to avoid unwanted paint stains on hardwood floors, countertops, sinks, appliances, and vents. No homeowner wants to complete the cabinet painting project only to have to pay the cost of new countertops because the old ones were ruined by paint. The cabinets will need to be cleaned to remove grease and dirt before the process can begin. Cabinet cleaners typically cost around $5 to $20. The next step is to sand all of the cabinet surfaces; sandpaper costs about $5 to $10 per package. And again, using a primer as a base coat is essential to ensuring a good bond and color saturation for the preferred paint.
Part of the lengthy process of site preparation also involves removing doors and drawers. It’s difficult to properly paint these surfaces when they’re still in place. Removing them and their hardware makes it possible to sand them better and paint them more carefully. However, it does take some time, so homeowners will want to factor in labor costs for this task. If the homeowner is attempting to DIY this task and needs to purchase a screwdriver, this will cost around $15.
To get each cabinet surface prepped and painted, it might be necessary to remove any appliances to access hard-to-reach surfaces. Usually, this includes dishwashers or refrigerators. It can take several days to paint kitchen cabinets, so homeowners will want to plan for this situation.
Repainting vs. Refacing
Repainting kitchen cabinets is a common task that can be done on many kinds of wood and some laminate, as long as they are in decent condition and are sufficiently prepared. It’s an easy way to take existing cabinets and simply change the color or stain to update the appearance.
An alternative renovation option is to reface or replace the cabinet doors. Refacing is helpful if the goal is to update the exterior of the cabinets without having to pay for completely new cabinets—a more expensive venture. The cabinet doors can be replaced completely or enhanced with new veneers. Usually, this includes adding new hardware, which can also be done during a repainting project. Refacing cabinets is a common option for homeowners who have laminate cabinets in poor condition that can’t be repainted as is.
Any damage such as broken hinges, chips, or gauges or missing hardware will need to be addressed prior to painting the kitchen cabinets. Most repairs will cost somewhere in the range of $140 to $500.
If the existing cabinet hardware is not damaged or outdated, paying for hardware replacement can be avoided. However, replacing old hardware can be another simple way to update the cabinets’ look. Since hardware will need to be removed in order to paint the cabinets anyway, it’s worth it for homeowners to consider this additional upgrade. In most cases, replacing cabinet hardware will cost $100 or less. But if homeowners are opting for designer hardware, costs could be as high as $1,000. While the cabinets are disassembled, it might also be worth it for homeowners to consider other upgrades. For example, the cost to install pullout shelves in kitchen cabinets starts at about $140.
Cost to Paint Kitchen Cabinets by Type of Cabinet
All cabinet materials are not created equal, so the type of cabinet may dictate what kind of approach is needed for painting. Some materials require more prep work than others, and the type of paint that is used will also depend on the cabinet type. The following are some of the additional costs that may be incurred depending on the material of the cabinets that are being painted.
|Cabinet Type||Additional Costs|
|Laminate||Sandpaper, $5 to $10; laminate primer, $20 to $80|
|Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF)||Oil-based primer, $30 to $60; drywall joint compound, $10|
|Wood||Sandpaper, $5 to $10; chemical deglosser, $10 to $20|
|Wood Veneer||Primer, $45; wood glue, $10|
Cabinets need a bit of texture in order for the paint to adhere to the surface. For this to happen, laminate cabinets will need to be sanded, costing an extra $5 to $10. There are also primers that are formulated specifically for use on laminate, and these will run anywhere from $20 to $80.
Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF)
It is typically recommended that medium-density fiberboard be primed using an oil-based primer, which costs about $30 to $60 per gallon. Medium-density fiberboard also has unfinished edges, which will need to be sealed before being painted. This is typically done with drywall joint compound. A 3.5-quart container of joint compound cost around $10.
In order to paint wood kitchen cabinets, homeowners or contractors will need to sand them first, especially if there is an existing layer of paint or stain on the wood. Purchasing sandpaper will add about $5 to $10 to the material budget. Depending on the type of paint that was previously used on the wood, a chemical deglosser may need to be applied, costing between $10 and $20.
Wood veneer cabinets are prone to splits and cracks, so it’s a good idea for the homeowner or contractor to inspect each part of the cabinet and make minor repairs where necessary using wood glue. Wood glue can be purchased for about $10 per bottle. The cabinets will also need to be primed, and most primers suitable for wood veneer cost around $45 a gallon.
Benefits of Painting Kitchen Cabinets
It’s not hard to find a reason to update old kitchen cabinets with a fresh coat of paint, whether fixing up an older home or looking to sell a house and recognizing the need to spruce up the interior. Whatever the reason, updating the appearance of kitchen cabinets to a timeless color scheme is an easy way to boost a home’s value.
Outdated and Dirty Cabinets
As fresh and new as the cabinets may have looked when they were initially installed, they might look wholly dated or covered in layers of dirt and grime from years of use. This is a top reason for homeowners to consider painting their cabinets. Cleaning them out, sanding off the old color or finish, then adding fresh paint and hardware can make an old kitchen feel brand new. This is especially true when switching to a lighter color scheme, which has a way of making the space feel bigger, too.
A New, Refreshed, and Modern Look
Homeowners who are tired of the same old look will want to consider painting their kitchen cabinets. With dozens of renovation TV shows and plenty of blogging inspiration, it’s easy to suddenly realize it’s time for a change. Updating kitchen cabinets with fresh paint and new hardware can completely revitalize an old, traditional space into a new, modern space without homeowners having to pay the cost of new kitchen cabinets.
Added Value to Home
Since most homeowners spend a fair amount of time gathered in kitchens filled with delightful aromas, having a space that looks and feels open and appealing can really become a great selling point for a home. Painting kitchen cabinets in an updated, trendy color that still blends with the existing countertops and floors is a great way to add value to the home. Many homeowners don’t realize how important the appearance of a kitchen and its cabinets is to prospective home buyers. Even if it’s not possible to hire one of the best kitchen remodeling companies, spending a little money on this effort will go a long way toward making the house more attractive. Homeowners can search online for “kitchen cabinet paint ideas” for inspiration.
Cost-Efficient Alternative to Remodeling
Remodeling a house is the fastest way to increase its value, but kitchen remodeling costs don’t always figure into the budget. A more cost-effective and quicker method is to simply paint the kitchen cabinets. If the job is done correctly, the paint can last—and look good—for years to come. It’s a small investment up front that has long-term benefits for current and future homeowners.
Painting Kitchen Cabinets: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
In the long list of DIY projects homeowners have been known to tackle, painting kitchen cabinets seems like it would be near the top of the list. It seems fairly straightforward to know how to paint kitchen cabinets. While it’s certainly not the most complex task and it doesn’t require a lot of specialized equipment, it’s important to note that it takes much longer than might be expected. If there are 200 square feet worth of cabinets to paint, homeowners can expect to spend around 20 hours to prepare and remove the finish, plus another 15 to 30 hours to prime, paint, refit, and clean up. It’s no small sacrifice to have the kitchen be largely unusable for several days in a row or more if it can’t all be done at once. Furthermore, though many DIY enthusiasts paint their own kitchen cabinets, it’s a common mistake to prepare the cabinets inadequately. Missing this step, or doing it improperly, can prevent the paint from lasting a long time.
Hiring kitchen cabinet professionals offers numerous benefits for busy homeowners. The first is that they can send a team of laborers to work all day on the job so it can be completed in a shorter time. Professionals also know the best way to paint kitchen cabinets for maximum efficiency. That means the kitchen is disrupted for a much shorter period, allowing the homeowner to get back to enjoying it sooner. Professionals are also well prepared to properly protect the rest of the kitchen, choose the right supplies to remove the finish, prime the cabinets, then paint them. Their expertise can also be valuable in choosing what color to paint kitchen cabinets as well as picking suitable stains and types of paint for the desired look. For an average-size kitchen, the cost to paint kitchen cabinets is much lower than for any other kitchen renovation project. Spending money on professionals who can ensure the cabinets last a long time can be a wise investment that saves time and money in the long run.
How to Save Money on the Cost to Paint Kitchen Cabinets
While the cost to hire professionals for painting kitchen cabinets is not insignificant, there are several ways to save money on this fun project.
- Measure twice. To avoid overestimating the amount of paint you’ll need, accurately calculate how much surface area you’ll need to paint.
- Consider two-in-one paint and primer. Ask a professional if your cabinets can handle using paint with primer included or if your situation will work best with a separate primer. Some DIYers use chalk paint for kitchen cabinets, as it acts as both paint and primer.
- Use what you have. If you have an old tarp or old bedsheets, they can work as drop cloths. (When hiring a professional, you won’t have to worry about providing materials like drop cloths.)
- Choose paint wisely. Use the paint that works for your budget and vision. An ultra-high-gloss paint might not be necessary if you’re going for a muted look. At the same time, be willing to spend a little extra on good-quality paint that will last longer than a year or two.
- Keep an eye out for deals. Follow paint companies on social media where they advertise upcoming sales.
- Save on labor where possible. Remove the cabinet doors and drawers yourself to deduct that labor expense from the final cost.
- Shop around for hardware. The painting company may have access to wholesale pricing, or you might find what you’re looking for on sale at a local hardware store.
- Book in bulk. If you’re also budgeting for the cost to paint a room in your home, ask if there is a discount for booking both jobs at the same time.
Questions to Ask About Painting Kitchen Cabinets
There are lots of tips to know about painting kitchen cabinets in order to have the best possible outcome. Homeowners can ask the following questions to help narrow down the research for a company that is qualified to handle the project.
About the company:
- How long has your company been in business?
- Do you specialize in painting kitchen cabinets?
- Do you have a portfolio of work I can review?
- Can I speak with any references?
- Who will be doing the work?
- Will there be more than one employee?
- Do you charge by linear foot or by the door and cabinet?
- Can I review an itemized estimate?
About the job:
- What types of paints do you use and recommend for my kitchen?
- What are the steps you’ll take to complete this project?
- How much prep work will my cabinets require?
- Will you number the doors and drawers so they are replaced correctly?
- What kind of preparation should I do before you arrive?
- What painting method do you recommend to achieve the look I want?
- What if some cabinets or drawers need small repairs?
- How long will the job take?
- Will I have any access to my appliances during the painting process?
- What if you run out of paint? How will you ensure the second batch is an exact match?
- Will you finish with a top coat?
- Is your work guaranteed or warrantied?
- Is there anything I should do to help maintain the cabinets?
Choosing the right paint color and hardware and gauging how much time and effort is needed for this time-consuming project can be daunting. But having as much information as possible can help alleviate concerns or questions that might arise about the process. The answers to these frequently asked questions can help.
Q. Is it worth it to paint kitchen cabinets?
Almost without exception, yes it is. In some instances where the cabinets are too damaged to be repainted, or you’d rather update the cabinets or the layout of the kitchen, then you’d need to look at replacing them instead. Otherwise, the cost to paint kitchen cabinets and update to a fresh, classic, or trending appearance is well worth it. Updating your kitchen is one of the most rewarding ways to see an increase in your home’s value.
Q. How much does it cost to have cabinets professionally painted?
On average, it costs $895 to paint cabinets professionally. The typical range is $422 to $1,415, but the cost can also exceed this if it’s a large kitchen or extensive prep work is needed before the existing cabinets can be repainted. The size of your kitchen, the surface area of your cabinets, the type of paint you choose, and local labor rates all influence your total cost.
Q. Is it hard to paint cabinets?
For those wondering “How do you paint kitchen cabinets?” the painting process itself is not difficult. It’s also not the most time-consuming part. The biggest challenge is preparing the cabinets for the new paint to last for a long time and look great. The cabinets must be cleaned, sanded or stripped; doors and drawers removed; hardware taped or removed; and all surfaces protected. Improperly preparing your cabinets for new paint is the biggest mistake that people make when trying to DIY this multiday job.
Q. Is it better to spray or paint kitchen cabinets?
It depends on the look you’re going for. If you like the rich texture that an oil-based paint applied with a brush leaves behind, then your best bet is to have the cabinets hand-painted. Spray painting is an efficient way to evenly spray the paint on any surface, even if it has grooves. You simply need to make sure that the professional is comfortable using the spray painter and that you’re using the best paint to achieve the smooth result you want. It can be messier to spray-paint cabinets, so ask if the contractor will cover the entire kitchen or spray them outside in a protected area.
Q. Do I need to add a protective seal to cabinets after painting?
Generally, yes, it’s recommended to add a protective seal to your kitchen cabinets. You’ve just invested in a quality project, and the best way to protect that investment over time is to seal the paint. Kitchen cabinets experience a lot more use and abuse than a plain old wall does, so protecting them from food, grease, dings, cuts, and liquids is a wise idea.