How To Prep and Prime Cabinets

Preparation is the most important step to painting cabinets. All of the surfaces must be thoroughly cleaned, sanded, and dusted before applying any primer.

First, use a microfiber rag dampened with either M-1 Gloss Remover and Pre-Paint Cleaner or Klean Strip Sander Deglosser to scrub thoroughly. Areas around the stove can be particularly greasy so, use a degreaser cleaner like Krud Kutter and a soft bristle brush to clean out grooves and detailed areas.

Allow the cabinets to dry well before sanding then sand with 180 or 220 grit sand paper until all the shine is removed from the cabinets. After sanding, blow everything off with compressed air or vacuum all surfaces. Next, take a clean microfiber rag dampened with denatured alcohol and wipe down everything.

Selecting a Primer

The cabinets are ready for primer and be sure to use a top quality product like BIN Shellac Base primer by Zinsser. It’s the best stain blocking primer out there and will stick to almost any coating. Application is the tricky part, it dries super fast so spraying it is the way to go. This product is also very odorous so wear a charcoal respirator when working it.

If spraying is not an option, use Zinsser Cover Stain instead. This is an oil based primer that will bond well and still block out the wood bleeding through the paint. Again this product is very odorous so wear a respirator.

Water-based primer is another option. Insl-X Stix is a good one that will bond to virtually anything and is easy to work with. It’s low odor so wearing a respirator is optional. Be aware that with this primer may not stop tannin bleeds from coming through the paint, whereas shellac or oil-based primers (as listed above) will prevent it.

Once the primer is dry, sand everything lightly with 320 grit sandpaper and remove the dust. Cabinets are now prepped, primed and ready for paint!

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