Can You Paint Over Painted Cabinets

Can You Paint Over Painted Cabinets?

Can You Paint Over Painted Cabinets? Painting over painted cabinets necessitates thorough preparation. This will aid the latex paint’s adhesion to the cabinet’s surface. Using a sanding sponge to go over all of the cabinet fronts’ textures, edges, and grooves. To get a better finished project, remove the doors and focus on each one individually.

When you first buy an older home, you may have all these plans to transform it.  You begin to make plans for a new carpet in the living room, a different lighting fixture in the dining room, and adding a closet to a bedroom.  Perhaps you love the kitchen cupboards but someone did an awful job at painting them!  You begin to wonder if you can paint over painted cabinets, and how you can salvage them so they look great once again.

The good news is that you can paint over painted cabinets.  Unfortunately, it will take a bit of prep work.  But that is to be expected with anything that you would be painting.

Painting cabinets is a lot of work.  But it is also a lot less expensive than completely replacing the cabinets.  And it could take less time to paint them as well.

The great thing about painting cabinets is that you can truly customize them to how you desire.  Maybe there is a certain color of pink that reminds you of your childhood.  Or a peach color that is all the rage right now.  Simply ask your paint mixer to assist you in finding the right color.  With so many colors, you can pick the best one to turn any cabinet into a gorgeous part of your home.

If you are ready to learn how to paint over already painted cabinets, let’s get to work.

Painting over painted cabinets

Now that you have made the choice to paint your cabinets, you will need to prep them. This is essential in having your cabinets look nice once the new paint is applied and dried.

Step 1:  Sanding stone

A sanding stone will be the first thing you will need.  Use this over the entire surface of the cabinet, making sure to get into all the grooves.  You want the entire cabinet roughed up so the paint will stick to it.  You will want to take the doors off the hinges in order to fully sand them down.

Step 2:  Wipe down

Next, you will want to wipe down the cupboard door with mild soap and warm water.  This will not only remove what you have sanded off but also any dirt or grease left on the door.

Step 3:  Scratches

Next, check the cabinets for any scratches or dents.  If there are any, you will need to fill them in with a wood filler or caulking.


You will want to prime your cabinets after you have sanded and cleaned them.  The sanding that you have done prior to this will allow the primer to stick on so the paint has something to grab a hold of.  Likewise, when you have sanded the cabinet down, you will not have to do as many coats of paint as if you would have to do if you had not sanded them.

If you’re going from a dark color to a lighter color or vice versa, you will first need to prime prior to rolling on the paint. If the cabinets you are repainting are glossy, bright white, or a darker color, then they will also need to be primed.


You may be wondering what type of paint you should use if you are going to repaint your cabinets.  The best kind of paint that you can use for this is latex paint.  Besides having a lot of colors for you to pick from.  Many professionals steer clear of oil-based paints as they tend to drip and have been known to clump.

If you are uncertain as to if you should pick a latex paint or an oil-based paint, consider the following.

Latex paints:

  • carries a faint odor.
  • is easy to clean up.
  • dries fast.

Oil-based paints:

  • carries a strong odor.
  • must be cleaned up with mineral spirits.
  • takes much longer to dry.

When comparing latex to oil-based paints, you must realize oil-based paint is more durable.  The sheen of the paint makes cleaning up spills very easy.  Generally, all that is needed is a damp rag.

Be certain that you pick a paint that will not yellow over time.

Painting steps

Now that you have gotten the cabinets ready for painting, we can begin.

Step 1:  Remove and label

Begin by removing all drawers and labeling them.  Be sure to label all doors and hardware as well.  Then place all pieces on a large tarp.

Step 2:  Paint

Paint one coat on the front side of each cabinet and drawer.  Allow to dry good then apply a second coat.

When using latex paint, we have found a roller to work quite nicely.  However, a brush can also provide the same control. Both of these will allow you to get into the nooks and crannies of every cabinet front and drawer.  Work the paint from top to bottom using even strokes. It is advised to have a smaller paintbrush so you can remove any drips of paint.

Step 3:  Dry and hang

Once you have painted both sides of the cabinets, and they have dried thoroughly, you can hang them back up.  Then sit back and admire your work.

Tips for painting over painted cabinets

The following are some tips that you may wish to use to help you get the most out of painting your cabinets.

  1. If there are visible grooves in the cabinet, understand that the paint will not be totally smooth.
  2. Allow time for your project to take place.  Painting cabinets can not be rushed, as if it is, it will surely end in disaster.
  3. Always clean the cabinets first.  If they are dirty, you are setting yourself up for failure. Make sure all dust is off them, as well as pet hair, grease, fingerprints, and dirt.
  4. Sand away!  You must sand your cabinets before applying anything so your paint and primer stick.
  5. By placing the cabinet on top of something before you paint it, you will be able to paint under it and on the sides so you do not miss anything.
  6. Make sure that you have allowed enough time for the paint to dry before you hang up the cabinets and drawers.  If you do this step too fast, you risk smudging the paint.  And if that happens, you will have to go back and follow all the steps over.  It is better to wait a few extra hours to ensure that they are good and dry.
  7. Use tools to help you paint better.  There are certain types of od rollers for primer and other ones for applying the paint.  Ask employees where you purchase your paint about what they consider to be the best tools for painting.


Painting your cabinets is feasible, especially when you have a budget you are working on.  It is not hard work to paint cabinets, but you will need to have some patience if they are dirty as you want them to be as clean as possible in order to have the paint stick.

Painting a large number of cabinets can be an undertaking, but once all is said and done, it will be well worth it!