Repainting your metal cabinets is one of the greatest ways to save money and give your kitchen a whole new look. Even though the project can be time consuming and very intense, it is also very gratifying and worthwhile.
Before deciding to take up the painting project, take a look at your cabinetry. Are your cabinets in good shape? Do they have dents? Are they rusted? It is important to know what you are working with before you spend energy, time and money into changing the look that could end up looking worse than it did before you began.
After checking the cabinets and determining that they are in good shape and can be repainted, take out the doors and hardware. There are older styles of metal cabinets that come with pre-molded handles that cannot be taken out. If that is the case, they would look better if they are painted the same color as the cabinet door. If your cabinets are older than 20 years old, you should wear a painting mask and gloves.
Lead-based paint might have been used and you should protect yourself from dust, chips and flakes that you are making while unscrewing the doors from the frames. Remember to keep all the screws together and hardware so that it is easier for you to put them back after the cabinets are finished. Having a polished surface to work when painting is important. Wipe down cabinets with soap and water to get rid of any remains. Make sure to rinse thoroughly and give them time to dry completely before proceeding with the next step.
Always prime the metal beforehand so the paint remains even and smooth. A spray primer should be used in the hard to reach places. Oil-based paint is the best choice for painting metal cabinets, late paint will come off. If you are unsure as to what type of paint you should purchase, ask for help. They should be able to help you. Take your time painting your cabinets. Most likely you will need to apply two coats of paint over the primer. Repainting your metal cabinets will take some time but when the job is done your kitchen will look brand new.
Replacing your kitchen metal cabinets
Giving your kitchen a whole different look by changing your kitchen cabinets can be as easy as replacing the handles and knobs on the exposed hinges. This is a simple and easy way to update your kitchen without having to do a complete renovation.
Choose the type of metal for your new hinges according to your existing décor. If you have light bronze furnishings, use oil-rubbed bronze look for your cabinet hardware. If your furnishings are stainless steel, go with brushed nickel and match brass doorknobs with like cabinet hardware.
You should start by doing the following:
- Estimate how many drawer pulls, handles and hinges you will need to purchase. If some of your hinges are hidden, you might decide to change them because they will not be visible unless the cabinet is open.
- Measure how far apart are knobs and handles on facing cabinets where hardware on two cabinets is side by side. If the hardware is side by side to the edge of the cabinet, you will need to purchase new hardware that is alike in size. Purchasing bigger knobs or wider handles could cause the handles to bump against each other when you open and close the cabinet doors.
- You should open a cabinet door and measure how far apart are the screws if you were holding a handle in place by two screws.
- Take out the screws in the handle or knob from the interior of the cabinet. Remove the prop from the door and the cabinet also. Remember to take the sample hardware with you when you go to purchase the new hardware to make sure you buy the right one. The holes where the screws will go into should be spaced out exactly the same so you won't have to drill new holes in your cabinets and fill in the old holes (might not have matching color or finish of the cabinets).
- Begin by replacing the hinges on the cabinet door you took off by screwing the hinges to the cabinet first and then to the door. Remove the hinges on the next cabinet door and replace them with the new ones. Follow the same process with the remaining doors, but make sure your working with one door at a time. That way you do not get the doors out of order.
- Open a cabinet door and unscrew and remove the screws holding the knob or handle in place. Proceed to hold the new hardware in front of the screw hole and insert a screw from the back of the cabinet door. Tighten the screws and repeat the same process with the remaining drawers.
- Open a drawer and take out the screw from the inside of the cabinet. Set the handle or knob to the side and replace it with the new hardware. Hold it to the front of the drawer while you tighten the screw from the inside of the cabinet.
Restoring metal kitchen cabinets
Metal kitchen cabinets revert back to the 1940s and were formulated as modular units so homeowners could buy the cabinets in pieces as they were able to afford. These types of cabinets can complement any style design that you might be trying to create. Rust seems to be the biggest challenge with metal kitchen cabinets. If you remove the rust on the cabinets, you will create a smooth surface that will take in new paint. To restore your metal cabinets, you will need the following:
- Steel bristle brush
- Ammonia-based cleaner
- Phosphoric acid
- Tack cloth
- Foam roller
- Paint pan
- Oil-based paint
- Paint brush
Once you have all these things, you can proceed to clean the cabinets thoroughly with the ammonia-based cleaner and rag to remove all the residues from the outside.
Brush the metal back and forth with the steel-bristle brush to remove the rust.
Sand the cabinets with the sandpaper to remove any leftover rust.
Spray the cabinets with the phosphoric acid; this will make any invisible rust into iron phosphate. You must leave it overnight.
Add a thin coat of primer with the foam roller and take formulated a bonding primer made for metal surfaces. You must let the primer sear.
Drain the solvent paint into the paint pan. Use the foam roller and roll it on the paint, removing any leftover paint. Apply a thin coat of paint to the cabinets and let it dry. Apply a second and third coat.