Painting Kitchen Cabinets the professional way!

      Many painting pros refinish kitchen and bath cabinets using different processes and materials. Usually, to achieve this there are multiple steps necessary to achieve a professional finish.  We also must provide the customer with what they want as well. It can be difficult to draw the line from a light glaze or a dirty glaze and to know this you must have been in the field for quit a period of time. You can follow videos off of YouTube, read literature and join associations at are in that particular field and try what you see there and attempt to do so at home,  but unless you have an unlimited expense account to acquire new tools, and the time to set aside to learn how to do it yourself and then actually do it well, then hiring a professional is probably the best option out there. There are so many variables refinishing kitchen and bath cabinets that I could drone on for hours but let’s avoid that. I’ll try to help you do it,  but this is your warning point blank it is hard to achieve a professional finish on different type of  woods and I can explain our process, but over 25 years in the trade, I have trained many employees to do the process I use, and some things still come up and I am called to ask for direction on how to solve a problem even after training with me for several years.


First, we remove the doors and drawer fronts and leave the hardware inside the cabinets and the drawers they came from, in the same place that they were removed from and label them in relation to that cabinet. We map out the entire layout with the door sizes, their position upper and lower, and the order of the drawers in all cabinets so that putting it back together is simple and as painless as possible. If you don’t do this to begin with you will be spending much time trying to not only put them back where they go but adjusting and readjusting the hinges for the door to level them and get them back to the proper position level and equidistant from the edges of the styles and other doors and drawer fronts. If you don’t know what to look for and don’t know how to use a tape you can make many mistakes putting it back together and putting on new and existing hardware can add a whole other set of problems for you depending on the what you are trying to accomplish. This is probably the most important step to cutting down time spent on a project like this. Even a little vanity can take up quite a bit of time to complete if the hinges don’t go back where they came from and cause a couple hours of a headache without it!

UPPER                                     U1 U2 U3 U4   U5 U6

MIDDLE                                     M1M2         M3M4

LOWER                                 L1      L2L3LD1   LD2 LD3



         SAND, SAND, SAND….

        The first thing we do after removal is the prep work which involves…… yep you guessed it a lot of sanding both at the shop and at the house. Now if you started sanding already stop what your doing and think about this step and what do you think you should do before you pull out that shiny new tool. Hopefully you spent a little extra money on a dust deputy or made a cyclonic air cleaner from YouTube and bought a good shop vac at a minimum looking at about $2-$300 for this setup  or if you’re a pro you probably have several of these items for use here to keep the dust down, also needed is some paper or cardboard for the floors, paper, plastic  and masking & duct tape.  First, we cover the floors than any other point of entry into the area.  The door openings will need to be covered as well as backsplash or walls whatever the case may be. Now may be a good time to invest in a zip wall system, like we have that will have the strength to hold up plastic either with positive or negative air pressure whatever the case may be for your project. I recommend you use an air scrubber inside and the zip walls will help you with the struggle off keeping your prep where it is without all the plastic ripping off the walls and doors. Which if you don’t purchase one now, you’ll need to pay a cleaner to come in and clean up the half an inch of dust from every horizontal surface in the house on that floor. If you don’t get the system I am talking about then you’ll be screaming at yourself all the way back to the hardware store to get one, also a masking machine with a plastic film blade, utility knife, an air cleaner. You’ll also probably find the time to fit this all into your schedule for the week at work is far from what you had estimated. So as of right here we have got you investing about $600 in tools to start prepping out the room, about $200 in materials to do the prep work and about 3 days of work to prep it out so that your house isn’t filled with dust.

Oh yeah, we were talking about sanding…… Our company carries some fancy sanders that all woodworking professionals should have in the shop and on site. We use Festool sanders and dust collectors to ensure that the dust goes straight into a vacuum to keep your house as dust free as is possible, we also incorporate all the items I described above and have the knowledge of how to use them. We vent out the dust either through a window or use an air scrubber piped out into the garage and caught in a filtration system, so your garage isn’t filled with it either. This system moves 3000 cubic ft of air either into or out of your kitchen or bath so once again you don’t have to deal with the dust. I also have training classes for my experienced and apprentice painters so that they have taken courses that most SD painters haven’t received as we incorporate the IBPAT union training for our professional men and women that we employ at Brushworks so that everyone is on the same page. We go to classes every other week to ensure we know how to handle a project from the start to finish and all its phases.

Finishing up?

Here is where the magic happens for you the only smelly stuff we use is at the shop unless we stain the cabinets which we have dyes and alcohol or waterborne bases to use there as well if that is what you choose to do, either way 90 % of it is done at the shop. Oh yeah did I mention that we know how to do custom finishes as well that’s right! We can do distressing, glazing, burn through, marbling, antiquing, clean glazes, crackle whatever finish you desire and can provide you samples prior to doing the job so you can see it before we drop it off at your house. So, if you want a custom finish applied please don’t attempt this yourself or have jo the painter from the old neighborhood do it. We specialize in it and get you what you want and can show samples of them prior to acceptance of the proposal. You’ll see what it’s going to look like before we get started with consistency. Also, our finishes are not coming from a big box retail warehouse, we use what pros use and rust-oleum in a box is not what we use. We use Ilva or emerald urethane with a conversion varnish finish. If you buy the box of stuff from home depot your results will be poor at best and will not last half the time ours will. When we are refinishing cabinets, it’s done using only top of the line products from Sherwin Williams, Hirschfield’s, or PPG paints. We only use the best for your project and will not use anything else as we warranty our work for 5 years with free touchups annually for that period. I stand behind our work and will put it down on paper for you to see.

So now we are at the point where we start spraying out the cabinets after our base coat is applied to the cabinets. If I would ask you the question what sprayer you would pick up to do the job and I’m pretty sure most would just shrug their shoulders and shoot a guess off as far as what to use. If you’re a pro you can use any of them, but if you’re not I would recommend a HVLP or cup gun for your use. It has a fine finish ability and doesn’t produce a lot of overspray and costs are minimal $1-$200 for a compressor and cheap cup gun compared to a conventional sprayer or air assist which we are looking at $1200-$2600 for a professional system to use. Warning here if your using compressed air there is water in the tank from the motor heating up and gasses cooling off inside the tank, so you’ll need a filtration system for keeping it out of the paint as water and oil don’t mix. So, filters for the cheap rout another200 for an effective system of filtration. There is a little more to this than you thought isn’t there? So, now with our prep running us $600-$1, 000 dollars and now we have a sprayer to buy too that puts us at about $12-$1400 dollars for tools and prep sundries now what about the materials?

How long is it going to take us?

Now don’t forget we are doing the work ourselves in the nights and evenings and don’t know how to do this, so we are looking at how long to do this whole thing? An experienced professional crew can typically run this job in about a week to two weeks’ time with all the steps with three guys working 40 hours during the day while you’re doing what you are good at. How long is it going to take you and your buddies having a couple cold ones in the evening and playing the part of master painter yourself. I’m going to guestimate at least 3-7 weeks depending on your abilities. So now you know how pissed your wife is going to be this whole time.  This is her room and I promise you she will inform you that you are takin too long because typically if you’re in there longer than your in-laws are around during Christmas you’re in deep trouble. So, now we were thinking we would save a few bucks and do this ourselves weren’t we? We have about 120-man hours for a pro crew to do this right? I’m going to put average Joe at 200 for doing the work and don’t forget all the shopping educational info and driving to the hardware store you’ll have to ingest before you can find the time to do the work itself. Only to have the little miss crawling down your throat to be done the whole time its going on. Guys you know what I am talking about and it is never a good thing when the Barco-lounger has become your new best friend!

 Finally, We Got IT DONE!

Oh wait! We forgot something, we got to put this all back together, again don’t we? There’s at least two more nights and now, and she’s going to be really picky and want to help you clean!  Trust me she’s going to do it while you are trying to put this all back together. Which is another 16 hours for us to do if we know what we are doing. If we don’t know how to do this your guess is as good as mine how long it’ll take, because we’ve never done anything like this before ever. So, let’s review why it pays to have a professional do this again! WE got about $14-$1600 in new tools to pick up on the low side to keep the home clean and odor free,  prep $2-$300, and for a new sprayer and compressor $2-$300 plus the filters for it, which in all reality we will only use this one time, and 200 hours of getting your work picked apart by someone who you thought loved you at one point in your life! This has probably caused more than one night on the couch sleepless and filled with back spasms for the next week. All this for wanting to save some money and do the jobs myself! We are at $290-$360 for materials on the low end but probably in all reality $4-$600. Bringing our total dollars out to $2090-$3160 anyhow for tools equipment materials, -and a couple months of “What the heck was I thinking?”  When I started all this, I didn’t think to myself “I only wanted to spend the next two months of my life working in our kitchen we can’t use until its done!” For us to come in and do this project for you we are looking at a national average cost of $28-$4200 for a kitchen this size.

Professional painting pays off!

It will save you the time, effort, and hurt feelings created by our significant other, and allow you to enjoy the whole time you’re supposed to be relaxing! Then there are the little extras to do that we didn’t even think of when we started this whole thing. Change out hardware, or do we put on hidden hinges on instead of visible ones, what if she wants some glass installed into the doors or grates, or industrial screen, Do you want the laminate countertops you’ve got re-finished to save costs on the installing new? Do we have the time and resources to do this too? Give us a call let us handle the job for you! Let’s update that golden oak finish you have been wanting to change since the 80s when you moved in 30 years ago. Let us help you with your next kitchen refinish and let yourself enjoy the peace of mind by having a pro do the job for you. Besides that, the old couch in the living room really hurts the old back after a few nights. Call Chris @ Brushworks Painting today at 605-360-9498   or go to our website at https://www.brushworkssd.com   to schedule an estimate Today! Your back and your wife will thank me later for it!

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