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Question DetailsAsked on 6/11/2013

Does anyone have any suggestions or experience with having metal kitchen cabinets painted? (the 50's Geneva kind). DIY or Pro?

Our very outdated kitchen is in need of a face lift and one of the big projects we have to tackle is painting the 50s metal cabinets. It is not in our budget to completely replace them as the entire kitchen needs to be redone (floor, countertops, paint etc), plus we actually like the durable metal - we just hate the weird yellowy color. Originally we were going for a DIY project, but I've discovered in my research that this may be too big of a project for us novice DIYers to tackle. Does anyone have experience in painting your metal kitchen cabinets? Did anyone have them professionally done? Opinions please!

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Metal cabinets are valued by those going for a retro look - they actually sell pretty well in big cities if in good shape. However, for about 90% of homebuyers, they are a deal killer or they will assume total recabineting in their purchase price calculation. Therefore, unless you have gone retro throughout the house and plan on selling it on that basis, appealing to a limited pool of buyers, I would not put a lot of money into them.

If they have been brush repainted in the past (show brush marks), then a bit of sanding and priming to blend in remove any peeling areas, then brush repainting with a paint like rustoleum or krylon for metal might work great for you for probably about $100 in plastic sheet dropclothes and paint. Not tough to do, just be sure to try it first on areas not visible (like bottoms or insides), use good quality brush designed for that type of paint, and don't try reworking it - get the paint applied right on the first pass, then leave that area be. Also - keep all brush strokes horizontal sideways (on flat surfaces) or vertical (on all vertical surfaces) as that minimizes visibility of brush marks. Be sure to use LOTS of newspaper over the dropcloths, because some paints will eventually eat through poly dropcloth, plus if you drop blobs or knock over the can it is easy to scoop up a layer or few of paper and throw it away, replace it, and carry on. Much more convenient that plastic on top, which lets spills run off. Also - hold paint you are using in wide, flat containers like a roller pan - do not work out of the can - WAY too easy to spill on this type of job.

If they have not been repainted in the past, then if you want to maintain their value have it professionally done by a painter with spraygun. Requires a lot of protection and masking, so more expensive by 50% or so than regular painting, so I would say you are talking about $500 for outsides only, maybe $750 inside and out. Otherwise, if not trying to maintain value, check do it yourself sites on painting metal cabinets if you are up to it.

You can also do it yourself with spray cans, though you have to be careful about runs and drips - you have to develop the touch for a light coating, and WILL require 2 coats to be done right, and of course need light plastic sheeting all over the place to isolate the area the spray is hitting.

And of course, bear in mind the paint you will be using is flammabel - turn of pilots on appliances, do NOT use kitchen fan, and provide good ventilation. Reemmber also, whereever the air is going the paint spray is too (if spray painting) to if you are pressurizing your spray "tent" with a fan, the window it is going out has to be fuly wrapped in plasdtic or it will get painted too. You also have to protect the immediate area outside from airborne spray. This is why hand-painting is usually used by homeowners in the house.

There are a fair number of web articles and videos out there - google the phrase - repaint metal cabinets

Answered 7 years ago by LCD

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