Kitchen Cabinet Repainting for the Winnipeg Area Homeowner Skip to Main Content
Home Painting Tips Kitchen Cabinet Repainting for the Winnipeg Area Homeowner

Kitchen Cabinet Repainting for the Winnipeg Area Homeowner

Painting kitchen cabinets have changed a lot over the years. Follow our guide for the best tips on how to give your kitchen a refreshing modern facelift

To Repaint or Replace? That is the question

Chances are your kitchen is one of the most important meeting points in your house. It’s where meals are prepared, friends and family entertained and kids are raised. The warmth of a kitchen when it’s 40 below is something most people outside Manitoba will ever understand. Yet there comes a time when it’s necessary to change things up, keep up with the times a little bit. Whether you’re talking about a kitchen from the 90s, 80s or even 70s (hands up if you remember the 70s), your cabinets can be repainted without losing the nostalgia of years past.

Of course a brand new kitchen plus appliances is a great way to update. However, that can cost tens of thousands of dollars. A kitchen paint job, on the other hand, could be nearly a quarter to a half of that price. Whether you go for a new kitchen or the kitchen cabinet spraying approach is up to you, both can be great options. If you do choose the repainting option, this article will provide you with everything you’ll need to get started on your kitchen cabinet repainting project!

Should I use a professional painter or DIY it?

Depending on your experience in home renovations a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach may suit you just fine. Some folks just like to roll up their sleeves and we are all for it. However, even if you’d rather hire a professional, locally owned company that only sends out employee crews and never subcontractors, with 30 years experience and happen to be Winnipeg Area homeowners (shameless plug lol), we definitely recommend you read this article. If we do our job right, it will hold whoever does your paint job accountable. The more you know about home renovations and painting the better you can keep your service provider honest and the job you want done on time and on budget.

Consider Cost and Time

One way to measure the value of hiring professionals is calculating the costs and time to DIY vs hiring pros to do the paint job: (hourly rate at work x number of hours to buy paint, prep, paint and clean up) + Cost of paint and materials = Total cost of doing it yourself. Don’t forget to allow for time to make mistakes if you’re not already a professional painter.

We won’t sugar coat it, the job of repainting your kitchen cabinets isn’t like painting any old room in your house. If you’re serious about it then we will get you all the right tools and materials you’ll need. We are thrilled when people want to do it themselves. As long as you have some experienced hands it’s definitely possible to tackle the job yourself.

However, when it comes to painting kitchen cabinets there’s a lot to consider. If you want a like-new finish that can stand up to Manitoba’s humidity swings, we recommend the professional approach. We’ll quote a recent post in summary: “If you choose to hire us for your project, you will benefit from our experience and access to industry experts to determine the best coatings for your cabinet project. For a longer lasting and better-looking finish, it’s necessary to use a product that was designed specifically for this high traffic environment.” If you choose to do the job yourself or hire professionals, we hope the rest of this article will be of value to you. We are going for Q&A style but if you don’t get your question answered or you need more information please contact us and click here, we'll be happy to help.

Can I just paint over my kitchen cabinets?

In most cases yes you can. Although some preparation work will still be required most kitchen cabinets can be repainted without major sanding. There are some notable exceptions and they include:

A lot of detail

If you want to paint your kitchen cabinets and they have an excessive amount of ornate designs, you may be out of luck. While there isn’t any major sanding that it’s needed in the preparation work, scuffing and light sanding (sometimes called liquid sanding) is required. That’s why cabinets with a lot of detail may be difficult to repaint. However, before you give up hope, give us a call, we can always let you know if your cabinets are appropriate for repainting.

Warped or damaged cabinets

If you have an older kitchen painting your cabinets is a way to keep everything fresh while retaining the precious memories of years gone by. But if years have been less than kind and your cabinets are too worse for wear, repainting might not be an option. Again, reach out to us if you’re unsure and we can give you a free evaluation by phone or connect on Facebook.

Metal and non-wood materials

If your cabinet is made of engineered wood, metal or stainless steel a paint job might not be in your best interest. Painting these surfaces produces a few headaches including: paint chipping, paint peeling, non-adherence to surface. However if you’ve got the wood we’ve got the way.

Do you need to sand cabinets before repainting?

Yes, you can lightly sand the cabinets with liquid or low grit sandpaper. This will allow for a better finished look and who doesn’t want that? Please keep in mind that you’ll also need to clean the cabinets from years of use (grit, grime, and grease buildup) before you can begin sanding. The prep work stage is often a significant time commitment, especially if you’re wanting a good looking finished project.

Is it expensive to repaint kitchen cabinets?

There’s a cost to be sure. Our service costs between $6,000 and $8,000 for the average kitchen. What’s important to remember is two things. First, this is thousands less than replacing your kitchen cabinets. Second, while there is an investment to repaint your kitchen, you’ll be getting years of additional enjoyment and the peace of mind that it was done under warranty by a crew with 30 years experience. Just imagine enjoying your spruced up kitchen, entertaining your friends and family in the years to come.

New Cabinets in 14 Steps!

Step 1 Tools and materials prep

You’ll need mats, tape, fast drying acrylic paint, low grit sandpaper, wiping brushes and some elbow grease if you want to do the job yourself.

Step 2 Prep the room

Before painting, always clear everything out of the room that can’t get paint on it. Since you’re in the kitchen, remove any food from the counter. Open a window to create airflow and circulation of any paint smells. Lay down painter’s mats or old sheets and cover anything that can’t be moved.

Step 3 Choosing your paint

We’ve written quite a bit on other articles like this one. We’ll quote it here because it pretty much says it all: “For a longer lasting and better-looking finish, it’s necessary to use a product that was designed specifically for this high traffic environment. Higher quality products designed for your kitchen cabinets usually require specialized equipment to apply, training to achieve the desired results, and the products have a higher cost. Water-based lacquers made for spraying kitchen cabinets, provide the high-performance characteristics required in the kitchen, & are an environmentally friendly choice. Sprayed with specialized equipment, a water-based lacquer topcoat provides excellent durability, a like new appearance, and is available in a rainbow of colours. The coating we use is applied in new cabinet manufacturing, so we can be assured it is put to the test in kitchens everywhere, daily. If you want to update your kitchen cabinets with a durable and long-lasting coating, spraying with water-based lacquers is what we recommend for a professionally applied coating.”

Step 4 Brush or Spray Paint?

Simply put, spray painting kitchen cabinets beats brushing every day of the week. With spray you get a factory finish with no brush strokes or paint gaps once it dries. It also takes a lot less time too.

Step 5 Vacuum, Then Use a Damp Cloth To Clean Cabinet

Before painting you need to get the cabinet, drawers and cabinet doors nice and clean. Start with a vacuum, shop vac if you have it, and use the cloth with detergent to wipe up any remaining dust, dirt, cooking oils or other particles.

Step 6 Remove the Cabinet Doors and Drawers

Painting the cabinet doors and drawers separately and removing/covering any hinges is recommended at this stage.

Pro Tip: Number doors and drawer fronts. Even small kitchens have pieces that look the same but are in fact different.

Step 7 Lightly sand the surfaces of your cabinet

You don’t need to hulk out when it comes to sanding before painting kitchen cabinets. Lightly sand using low grit sandpaper, paying particular attention to any blemishes or nicks.

Step 8 Consider Filling Open Grain (oak cabinets)

Oak is a hugely popular type of wood to build kitchen cabinets. What carpenters know is that this wood is hard and durable and will withstand the seasons of time. However it’s also an open grain wood and as such can amplify imperfections and pockmarks. If you’re repainting an oak kitchen cabinet using grain fillers can really bring out the polished look.

Step 9 Prime Cabinet Doors – if needed

Depending on the setup of your kitchen cabinet you may have trim that needs to be primed. If this is you, the next step is to frame and prime the cabinet doors.

Step 10 Prime and Paint Frames

A good rule to live by when painting is to start out and work your way in. For best results clean, prime and paint the cabinet frames next.

Step 11 Prime the Cabinet Boxes

You’re almost home to like-new painted kitchen cabinets. Time to tackle the cabinet boxes next.

Step 12 Paint Cabinet Door Fronts

Next up is painting the door fronts. This can be tricky for a novice painter so pay extra attention to ensure paint goes where you want it at this step.

Pro tip: Check all the pieces after you have painted them for drips. It happens but they can easily be fixed if the paint is wet.

Step 13 Paint the Cabinet Boxes

We wish there was something more we could say about painting cabinet boxes other than don’t get paint on the floor. Once you finish you’ll be rounding third base and heading home to a repainted kitchen.

Using a spray you’ll want to apply light coats, but in general you’ll want to paint your cabinets with 2 full coats. Make sure you give enough time for the first coat to dry so you can see any spots that need a touch up on the second coat.

Pro tip: Sanding between coats will give you a smoother finish and promotes adhesions between coats.Wipe off sanding dust with a damp rag before painting.

DIY or Professional?

If after reading all that is required to have a like-new finish you’d rather hire someone then allow us to suggest it. Seriously, for Winnipeg Area homeowners who want to hire a non-franchised, homegrown home service provider we do make a lot of sense. But don’t take our word for it, here are a few satisfied Manitobans:

We have used Colour Scheme for interior painting and touch-ups several times and have been completely satisfied in every respect. Highly professional in project planning and advice, efficient interactions with the office in confirming details and payment process, and excellent outcomes each time. The projects go precisely as planned, the painters are highly skilled, respectful, with good communications skills. Everyone at Colour Scheme is willing to take time to respond to questions and ensure the project meets and exceeds requirements.

- Morgan F. |

We hired Colour Scheme Professionals to paint a stairwell and our kitchen cabinets.
Our kitchen had 1970s cabinets with that awful orange stain. Colour Scheme sanded, primed and painted our cabinets to match a newer cabinet in our kitchen. Now our kitchen looks absolutely beautiful and modern. We had two cabinet doors needing a minor touch up, and Colour Scheme came the next day to remove the doors, and re-paint. I could not be happier with their quality and attention to detail. Their staff are all very friendly and professional and we will definitely be using their services again in the future for our painting needs.

- Cynthia J |

To check out more reviews click here, if you want to learn more Colour Scheme or how to make your kitchen look awesome, here are some educational videos to help you.

Watch Now! Respraying Kitchen Cabinets Video Playlist

Video 1: Colour Options

Video 2: Considering Updating Your Kitchen?

Video 3: Can We Fill These Holes In My Cabinet Door?

Video 4: DIY vs Professionals?

Video 5: How Much Will It Cost?

Video 6: Espresso Cabinets?

Video 7: Check out these amazing transformations!


The kitchen is such an important part of your house that repainting your cabinets will have a lasting impression. Your current cabinet colour or stain may have looked cool in 1992 but it may be time to give your kitchen a refresh. Of course you may choose to go full remodel and replacement. But if you choose to retain some of the nostalgia of memories while upgrading the look, respraying your cabinets can go a long way to your updated kitchen.

If you choose to DIY this task we hope we’ve given you a starting point on how to do it. If you’re like “no thanks, I’m calling the painters” then ideally this article will equip you with the information to get a great deal and ensure a quality paint job. If you’re a Winnipeg Area homeowner, we’d be honoured to be your service provider. Please give us a call or connect on Facebook.

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Step 14 At least 2 coats later