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Best Methods: How to Paint a Kitchen


Applying neat, clean, professional level paint finishes in the kitchen will be conspicuous to everyone who enjoys this area. First you'll want to see our recommendations on how to paint a room.

So that this great finish be done right and that it be maintainable;

  • Set the thermostat at near 68 to 70 degrees. This will be effective toward helping the paint achieve the 'leveling effect' for most glossier finishes, including satins and eggshell finishes.
    Note: if the cabinets are to be painted, this should normally be done prior to the wall painting.

  • Remove and store away any foodstuff. Start by cleaning; pull the fridge & stove. Clean down the walls that are to be painted. Something to reduce a buildup of grease may be needed such as window cleaner, behind the stove area. Clean the walls behind the stove and backsplash as needed. A run of extension plugged onto the fridge might also be called for to keep the food cold during this period. It's not uncommon for there to be a layer of dust across the upper cabinets.

  • Material Selection: opt for a high grade finish, mainly acrylic, that promises to wear well. Since most kitchen walls only take one to two galllons for coverage, this cost difference represents a minimal amount over the total cost of the painting (less than $50). An off white tub and tile caulk often provides a friendlier contrast rather than the standard white (although a fuller range of colors are, in fact, available for a more customized appearance, like for granite counters - that may be applied out of a 10 oz tube as opposed to the squeeze tube.

  • Wipe on a pressed-in bead of tub and tile caulk at the backsplash and counter edges, wiping with a clean damp rag that is kept clean via wringing in a bucket of rinse water. Any loose or failing caulk must first be removed. Any loose or shifting cabinets or counters must first be stabilized prior to caulking.

  • If there is a kitchen island, identifiy any prep work to be done such as the possible addition of moulding or caulking of quarter-round or shoe moulding. Caulk as well any door casings and jambs and pull the door hardware.
  • Important: Prior to masking the wall and base cabinets, particularly around heat or moisture sources like around the stove burners, test on an inconspcuous area of the cabinets with the kind of masking (Blue tape or green Frog tape) that you intend on sticking. Not so much for melamine surfaces as laminates and photo laminates, which can potentially pull right down to the substrate (such as particle board) and actually destroy the intended appearance. As such, some surfaces may either require Blue delicate tape or not be masked off altogether.

  • Fill any indentations and holes, noting that the smaller ones are easily tracked with a tear of the masking. Countersink any raised surfaces before spackling. Plugging the sink drains will prevent any loss of screws and small items during receptable coverplate and other item removals.

  • With the patching complete, go over the walls with a light scuff sanding to remove any unwanted nubbs and particles, with a pad sander to quickly smooth the entire area. Not as effort demanding as it sounds, this will help achieve a smoothness that is detected when viewing the completed room surfaces overall. A technique that offers pay off especially in the kitchen due to the fequency of time spent in this area.

  • Cut in the walls at the ceiling working a quality sash brush. Keeping a cut of plastic beneath the current work area as you proceed to catch drips. Any marble counters as well as any granite counters should not have too much force applied, certainly marble which is known to be the 'softer'. Any fresh caulk that is being masked must be allowed to dry enough for when pulling.

  • For rolling more open walls; roll on the paint using a typical roller cage on a stick (or extendable stick handle, for more confined areas). The 3/8" woven nap achieves the normal stipple results, and the 1/4" is now rarely used - for some of the lowest level results attainable (although requiring much more rewetting of the nap). The thin 'skinnie minnie' or 'hot dog' roller works well in shallow spaces like for backsplashes between the lower wall cabinets and the counter, at the upper wall cabinets to ceiling areas, and even behind moved appliances like the oven and fridge. Rolling out of a tray with disposable liner for ease-of-cleanup.

  • When desired coverage is achieved, pull the masking at a sharp angle so as not to sever the tape nor to pull the paint skin from the wall directly.



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