With the unpleasant work of removing wallpaper and carpet (check out Thursday’s post for details) behind me, I was ready to paint.
Once I picked paint colors (I went with an eggshell finish for the walls and a gloss for the woodwork), I followed my fellow Home Know-It-All Julie’s advice on tackling interior wall painting. Then it was time to move on to the cabinets.
Mindful of my self-imposed time constraints of two weekends to finish my bathroom makeover, I tried to streamline the cabinet-painting process without sacrificing the end result. Here’s what I did:
Step 1: Remove hardware, doors, and drawers. I was able to eke out enough space in the tub and in front of it to place all of the doors and drawers surface-side up in preparation for painting. In drier weather I would have set them up in the garage, but with damp springtime conditions I didn’t want to risk extending primer and paint drying time.
Step 2: Clean all surfaces. I mixed a bit of dishwashing detergent in hot water and gave all the surfaces a good scrub. Any all-purpose cleaner should do the trick. Rinse with clean water and allow to dry completely.
Step 3: Sand the cabinets. Some folks suggest sanding the entire surface. To save time I just ran my fingers over the surfaces to find any rough spots and sanded only those places. If you have the time, sanding the entire cabinet will result in an even better finished surface.
Step 4: Prime the surfaces. Since only my immediate family ever sees this room, I decided to prime and paint the exterior surfaces only and skip the door and drawer interiors. For past projects I’ve always used KILZ as a stainblocker/primer. I was happy to learn it’s now available in a low V.O.C formula.
I used a foam applicator to brush primer on the cabinet base first. (Watch for drips!) Next I primed the faces of the doors and drawers. Here drips seemed to appear after I’d finished one drawer and moved onto the next, so I kept checking previously primed surfaces to smooth out any that appeared before they had a chance to dry. Even though the primer could be recoated in 30 minutes, I gave it overnight to dry before applying paint.
Step 5: Paint the surfaces. Just as with the primer, I painted the base cabinet first, applying a thin coat to minimize drips. I used a small foam roller to apply paint to the flat surfaces, right. Moving to the doors and drawers, I applied paint to the flat surfaces with the same small roller and then used a small foam applicator to work around the raised moldings. In all I had to apply three coats of paint to the cabinets and allowed several hours of drying time in between coats.
Step 6: Allow curing time. While most paint dries to the touch in a matter of hours, it can take a week or more for the finish to completely harden. (Check the label for the waiting time before you can wash the painted surface; that’s a good indicator of how long before the paint fully cures.) Though I reattached the cabinet doors and drawers about 12 hours after I applied the last coat of paint, I left them slightly open for two weeks so they wouldn’t stick.
If you’re planning to paint high-visibility cabinets—such as those in a kitchen—and want a glass-smooth finish, take the time to read these detailed pointers from This Old House.
Sadly, the only trimwork in the bathroom is an extremely basic profile baseboard molding and a similarly basic window trim. Not having enough cash in the budget for new trimwork, I applied the same cabinet paint to the molding. Since I was going to install new flooring and had already ripped out the carpeting, I didn’t need to worry about protecting the floor. My concerns while painting the molding were achieving a nice finish and not marring the freshly painted walls. I started by using a plastic hand-masker tool to protect the walls, but the paint tended to seep underneath and onto the wall so I quickly abandoned that approach. Since a week had passed since I had painted the walls, I decided to tape them with painters tape. This technique gave me a crisp edge between the trimwork and the wall.
Check in on Monday to learn how to install vinyl floor tiles. We’re almost done—and then it will be time to see the great $200 bathroom makeover results!
The Home Know-It-All
The Ultimate $200 DIY Bathroom Makeover
DIY Bathroom Makeover: $200 and 2 Weekends
$200 DIY Bathroom Makeover: Wallpaper and Carpet Removal