9 Reasons You Absolutely Need To Prime Your Cabinets Before Painting

9 Reasons You Absolutely Need to Prime Your Cabinets Before Painting

Repainting cabinets can be time-consuming, especially if you do it right, but is it really that essential to prime your cabinets before painting them?

We know very well why you’d love to skip some prep work before painting your cabinets. Cleaning, sanding, taping, removing knobs and hinges, and priming takes SO MUCH TIME! And while there are some instances where it might be ok to skip priming, in most cases, it will make a big difference in the quality of the final paint job.

One of the main differences between a paint job that looks, feels, and wears like it was done by a professional is that the painter took the time to prime the surfaces before laying down the final coats. It really does make that much difference.

Whether doing it yourself or hiring a professional, it’s worth the extra time and effort to prime your cabinets before painting. Here are nine reasons why:

1. Because Your Cabinets Have Never Been Painted

New cabinets always need to be primed before painting. This is true whether your cabinets are made of solid wood, plywood, particle board, fiberboard, or metal.

Cabinets made of wood and wood-based materials are porous. Primer does a couple of things for wood. Because it has a higher concentration of solids than paint, primer is excellent for filling in the unevenness of the woodgrain, leaving a much smoother surface. 

Also, wood and other porous surfaces tend to soak up paint. Those extra solids in primer create a seal to keep paint on the surface where it belongs.

Metal cabinets also benefit from using primer. Again the primer (for metal, a corrosion-resistant oil-based primer is best) is much better at filling in and adhering to the metal surface than paint.

2. Because You’re Painting a Lighter Color

Although you may think your paint is opaque, it’s amazing how much of the old color can show through when your paint is spread thin. This goes back to the concentration of pigment solids in the paint. 

If you’re going from a light color to a darker one, this isn’t as big a deal. But if you’re going lighter or changing from one color to a very different one, those extra solids in the primer will do a lot to make sure the color you chose in the paint store is what ends up on your cabinets.

3. Because You’re Painting Over a Glossy Surface

Glossy surfaces are shiny, in part because they are incredibly smooth. This makes them very difficult for anything to adhere to. 

Primer creates better adhesion than paint because of the higher concentration of solids, but also because it includes special adhesive elements that paint doesn’t. This means adding primer, along with sanding, will make a much more secure bond between the final paint coats and the glossy surface.

4. Because the Surface Has Stains

Some stains are too difficult to remove from a surface, no matter how much time you spend scrubbing. This is because they can soak down inside porous surfaces like wood and paint. But annoyingly, that doesn’t mean they won’t leach out through your new coats of paint over time.

The primer creates a seal between the existing surface and the top coats of paint. This effectively prevents any stains from bleeding up through your new surface.

5. Because the Surface Has An Odor

If your cabinets are in a kitchen, especially where food has occasionally been burned, or if it’s in an area where cigarette smoke has been present, your existing cabinet surfaces will harbor odors, and you won’t be able to completely remove them by cleaning. These odors will rise out through your new coats of paint. You may not notice if you’re used to the smell, but others will.

The seal that a good primer creates can trap these odors and prevent them from escaping, much like it does for old stains.

6. Because You’re Applying Latex Paint Over Oil Paint

It’s a fact of life that water and oil repel each other. So is the case with water and oil-based paints. If you’re using water-based latex paint on cabinets that were previously painted with oil paint, you’ll need the extra adhesion of a primer to ensure you get a solid grip on the existing surface.

7. Because You Want a Smooth Finish

Old surfaces have bumps, grooves, and contours. Sanding helps, but it can’t remove all unwanted textures on surfaces.

With normal use, cabinets get scuffed, scratched, dinged, and dented. Some of these blemishes will be big enough to show through even a thick coat of paint. Some people may not mind this because it brings back nostalgic memories of their children growing up. But if you are hoping to sell your home someday, these features won’t be the best selling points.

Your best bet for repairing these dings may be to start with a wood filler and then coat it with a primer. In some cases, the primer will be thick enough with paint solids to fill the blemish by itself.

8. Because It Seals Against Water

Primer doesn’t just seal unwanted things within lower layers; it can keep new stains out. Often water damage is the culprit for stains around your home. A primer will keep that water from soaking into the surfaces of your cabinet, along with other liquids and fumes that would try to enter and cause problems with your wood.

9. Because Your Paint Job Will Last Much Longer

The last benefit you will see if you prime your cabinets before painting is that they’ll last much longer before needing to repaint. The extra adhesion will head off peeling and bubbling for much longer than your paint would last on its own. So, how much is it worth to you to buy yourself a few extra years of not needing to repaint your cabinets?

Let Allen Brothers Cabinet Painting Prep, Prime, and Paint for You

We love the process of painting from beginning to end. And we love the sense of satisfaction for a job well done from our customers. But this means the job has to be done to the highest professional standards. We’ll properly clean the surfaces, sand, tape, remove knobs and hinges, and prime your cabinets before painting.

We look forward to hearing from you about your cabinet painting job. Let us know the number of drawers and doors and where you live. We’ll get you an estimate within 24 hours. We serve the communities of Sandy, Draper, South Jordan, West Jordan, Salt Lake City, and surrounding areas.