How Long Do Painted Cabinets Last?

calander Oct 18 , 2022 user-icon Nash Painting

Your painted cabinets might look amazing, but how do you know if they offer performance to match?

If you have good quality cabinets that need a fresh look, cabinet painting is an attractive option. No messy renovation, no demolition, and no timelines that seem to stretch on and on and on… Painting is a relatively quick way to radically transform the heart of your home.

The one fear that many homeowners have, and justifiably so, is whether that beauty is only skin deep. How durable are painted cabinets? Can they really stand up to the wear and tear in a busy kitchen?

It all depends. Painted cabinets can perform beautifully and last for years, or they can chip, peel, and discolor. Let’s take a closer look at the key considerations and what you need to know.

Why do DIY painted cabinets fail?

Don’t get us wrong: we love a good do-it-yourself project. But you don’t know what you don’t know, and that can get you into a lot of hot water when it comes to cabinet painting.

We’ve seen well-intentioned homeowners watch YouTube videos, then buy regular house paint off the shelf at their local home improvement store, ready to transform their kitchen over a weekend.

It just doesn’t work like that.

Cabinet painting is a specialized process, and even if you buy really good paint and follow every step meticulously, you still don’t have the benefit of expertise, a cabinet spray shop, high-end spray equipment, and a completely contained workspace with ideal conditions. And because of that, your paint job won’t be as durable, won’t look factory-grade, and won’t last.

Why do some professional cabinet paint jobs fail?

A lot of painters have jumped on the bandwagon in recent years, doing their best to capitalize on the demand for painted cabinets. In some cases they’re well-intentioned, but might be learning on the fly (scary to think of a painter testing their skills in your kitchen, right?). Other times they’re less than scrupulous, maybe exaggerating their abilities just to win the job and move on.

Just like do-it-yourself cabinet painting projects, low-grade “professional” paint jobs aren’t set up to last. The wrong products are used, the wrong application techniques, and the wrong prep. In fact, much of a successful cabinet paint job is found in expert surface preparation, and that’s not something that a lot of painters realize or commit to.

How do you paint kitchen cabinets in Nashville?

Here’s the proper approach:

  • Remove doors, drawers, and hinges for a thorough finish.

  • Clean and remove years of cooking-related grime from cabinet surfaces.

  • Fill holes and repair damages caused by wear and tear.

  • 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, using premium Sherwin-Williams products that cure with a very hard, durable finish.

  • Allow sufficient drying time for durability.

How long will painted cabinets last?

Here’s the takeaway.

Cabinet paint could last a year, or it could last 10 or 15 years. It all depends on the process and paint job you invest in. Our best advice is to find a local painting company with proven cabinet painting experience. We’re talking reviews, project photos, warranty, and longevity. It will cost more initially, but the long-term value and beauty will pay you back again and again.

Cabinet painting FAQ

Q. Do painted cabinets look cheap?
Only if it’s a cheap paint job. A high-end cabinet repaint uses high-end paint products, and will leverage the right spray application techniques to guarantee a factory-like finish. Smooth, shiny, and beautiful.

Q. Do kitchen cabinets need a special kind of paint?
Yes! Many do-it-yourselfers (and inexperienced painters) use general house paint, but you need to use specialized products designed for trim, doors, and cabinetry. It cures with a much harder finish, giving you the shine and strength you need.

Q. Do painted cabinets chip easily?
As we mentioned above, general house paint has a much softer finish that can chip fairly easily. Paint formulas designed for trim, doors, and cabinets have a much harder finish that is not easily chipped, and is also able to withstand washing.

Q. What are the most popular colors for kitchens?
White kitchen cabinets still lead the way, followed by gray. We’re also seeing more blues and greens as well. If you have a kitchen island you may want to consider using it as a bolder accent piece, surrounded by light, neutral cabinets.

Q. What is the difference between a hand-painted kitchen and spray painted?
In most cases we brush and roll the cabinet boxes, but use high-end spray equipment for the cabinet doors and drawer faces. This ensures that there are no roller or brush marks; just a smooth, even, factory-like finish.