Common Mistakes DIY Painters Make

How to Paint Cabinets

Have you ever worked diligently on a do-it-yourself project, only to be disappointed by the paint job in the end? It’s easier than you might think to make mistakes when painting cabinets, repainting furniture or putting the last coat on any DIY project, and you’re not alone.

Short of seeking quotes from cabinet-painting contractors, there are several ways you can make sure your paint job is the best it can be. Here are the top four easy-to-fix mistakes we most commonly see:

1.) Skimping on preparation.

diycabinetpaintingclass-1One of the most detrimental mistakes people make is forgetting (or ignoring) to prepare the surface to be painted. Paint will only stick to a good surface. That means it’s clean. There’s no grease, no sticky substances and no residue of any kind. If you’re repainting kitchen cabinets, for example, there could be any number of substances on there just from being in the kitchen.

Yes, it takes time, and a lot of DIYers will skip the prep to save the time on the front end. Unfortunately, those DIYers typically end up spending more time at the end of the project when they have to repaint. Do the prep work now and it will save you heartache in the end. I promise.

2.) Using cheap paint.

All paint is not created equal. Typically, one paint costs more than another for good reason. Still, one of the benefits of a DIY project is saving money, so it’s tempting to buy the cheapest possible paint. I’m here to tell you this is not an area you want to pinch pennies.

Paint has a shelf life. Using cheap paint or paint that’s been sitting in the garage for a while will not be as effective as using quality, fresh paint. I’ve never been shy about my affinity for General Finishes paint, which costs a little more but is well worth it.

Also, make sure to use the right paint that adheres to wood surfaces. Generic wall paint is easy to find in the store but is usually not the right choice when painting wood furniture, repainting kitchen cupboards or whatever your project may be.


3.) Painting in extreme temperatures.

Don’t paint when it’s too hot or too cold. Use this simple rule: if the temperature is making you miserable, it’s also making your paint miserable. If you’re out in the garage painting bathroom cabinets in 140-degree heat, your paint is not flowing well. Likewise, if you’re painting old furniture in below-freezing temperatures, your paint is not flowing well.

Work on your projects within reasonable temperatures and you’ll get better results. Being in Arizona ourselves, we are definitely well acquainted with this challenge, but know it is critical to getting a quality, durable finish.

4.) Overworking paint.

greatdiyphotoIn professional cabinet painting, this is almost a non-issue, but for DIYers, it’s extremely easy to get caught up in overworking the paint. When there’s a drip on the surface, the natural tendency is to keep brushing until the drip is gone, rather than walk away and sanding it later. While you do see immediate results in that the drip goes away, too much brushing and overworking of the paint can lead to an inconsistent surface, detracting from the aesthetics of the project.

These are four of the most common mistakes we see from DIYers, and thankfully they’re also four of the easiest to avoid making, once you’re aware they exist. Do your prep work, stock up on the right product and take care to do the job right, and you’ll be painting like a pro in no time.

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