Do You Paint the Inside of Cabinets?

calander Jan 25 , 2023 user-icon Nash Painting

There are a lot of good questions swirling around the topic of painting kitchen cabinets. How do you do it? How long do painted cabinets last? How do I care for painted cabinets? Will the finish be durable?

If you’d like answers to the above questions, just click the links and keep reading (or save it for later). At Nash Painting, we’re an open book and want you to understand the process and considerations inside and out.

And speaking of inside and out, we’d like to address another great question: do you paint the inside of cabinets too? Let’s break it down, exploring some of the pros and cons of each.

When should you paint the inside of your kitchen cabinets?

We’ll preface this section by saying that we DO paint the inside of our clients’ cabinets. Not the drawers, but the cabinets. Our goal as a premium cabinet painter is to make sure your finish looks as smooth, beautiful, and professional as possible, like it came right from the factory that way. This includes removing cabinet doors and drawer faces, careful surface prep, then spraying the cabinet boxes on site and the rest of the components in our spray shop.

With that said, let’s continue on with a look at when it makes sense to paint the inside as well.

1. The doors are glass
If you can see into your cabinets, either because the doors are glass or the design is more of an open concept, then painting inside is a must. You want a clean continuity of style.

2. You need to fix a previous paint job
Let’s say the last job was a do-it-yourself project and leaves something to be desired. Painting the inside is a good way to start fresh, ensuring that the quality is consistent inside and out.

3. To streamline the masking
Carefully masking and taping the openings to your cabinets adds a lot of time to the process. Painting the inside is much faster, if you’re doing the job correctly (more on that below).

4. It will always bother you if the inside doesn’t match
Hey, we all have those things that just drive us a little crazy. If you open your gorgeous cabinets and see old, brown stain, it might get irritating. Better to invest the time upfront and make sure you’re thrilled with the results from every angle.

When you shouldn’t paint the inside of your cabinets

Time for a little more context. In most cases, unless you’re looking for a unique, offbeat finish, your cabinets should be painted with a sprayer. This allows for that smooth, professional finish you want in your kitchen, free of any brush marks or texture. A lot of resources say that painting the inside of your cabinets creates unnecessary work, but if you thoroughly mask and prep the space anyway, as you should, then spraying the interior of the cabinets does not add a lot of extra time to the process.

With that said, here are a few common reasons why folks avoid it.

Increased cost
Painting more surface area means more time spent on cleaning, prep, and application, plus more product being used. All of that drives up the overall cost of your cabinet repaint.

Longer painting process
This is more of a concern for less experienced painters who are relying on brushes and rollers. Painting the inside of cabinet boxes can be tedious! A skilled technician can use a sprayer much more efficiently, evenly coating those interior surfaces without drips and in a fraction of the time it would take to do by hand.

Tough to reach all the surfaces
There’s a lot of stretching, bending, and reaching involved with painting those upper and lower cabinets. Again, this is why your project should be left in the hands of an experienced professional painter that knows how to work efficiently.

How do you paint the inside of kitchen cabinets?

Here’s a look at our process:

  • Totally prep and contain the space, covering your floors, countertops, appliances, and other surrounding areas

  • Remove doors, drawers, and hinges

  • Clean and degrease the surfaces

  • Fill holes and repair any points of damage

  • Sand, vacuum, and tack surfaces to ensure excellent paint adhesion

  • Apply a durable, high-quality primer

  • Carefully apply paint to cabinet boxes, doors, and drawers

  • Allow sufficient drying time for durability

Cabinet painting FAQ

Q. What type of paint is used for kitchen cabinet painting?

We use premium Sherwin-Williams products specifically formulated for cabinets, doors, and trim. It dries to an exceptionally hard finish, providing the durability you need for high-traffic spaces. General interior paint is NOT a suitable alternative.

Q. How long do kitchen cabinet coatings last?

If you’d like a long answer, take a look at this article that we dedicated to the topic. If you’d like a short answer, here it is: it all depends! Helpful, right? To be more specific, it depends on the quality of your paint job and products used. A do-it-yourself cabinet repaint can last a few years, but a guaranteed, professional paint job can last 20 years. You get what you pay for in most cases.

Q. What does kitchen cabinet painting cost?

It depends on a whole host of factors, from the size of your kitchen to the painter you choose, the number of doors and drawers to specific repairs that might need to be addressed. For an average kitchen, expect to pay anything from $5,000-$12,000. Much less expensive than a full remodel, but still an investment.

Q. What does the cabinet painting process entail?

Take a look at the bullets we shared above for a snapshot of the whole process. In general, it involves careful preparation and masking, disassembly, cleaning, prep, priming, then multiple thin coats topcoats applied with a sprayer.

What’s the takeaway?

We definitely recommend painting the inside of your cabinets to create a cohesive, finished look. And, as always, we also recommend carefully researching your kitchen cabinet painter, ensuring that you’re partnering with an experienced professional. It’s a big job and it’s worth doing right!