How do painted cabinets hold up?

December 16, 2015

Since it's been a month (to the day, although I totally didn't plan that) that I shared our new kitchen, I figured it would be a good time to update you on the how the cabinets are holding up. 

Painting them was a HUGE project -- not hard, but a bit stressful and time consuming just because you are literally watching paint dry. It was also huge because it made the biggest impact in the renovation. 

I've been so happy with the cabinets and thought I would be hard pressed to find any issues to share with you today…but of course I spoke too soon. I do have a couple issues to share with you, one is minor, the other made me want to rock in a corner for a bit. :)

So I shared the epic painting tutorial here and the sprayer I used here. Here's a closer look at the smooth finish that sprayer gives you: 
painting cabinets Advance paint

Advance paint kitchen cabinets

These are all photos taken today, they have held up GREAT overall. 

Here's a closer look at the cabinets I did by hand on our island years ago: 
brushing cabinet doors

And the smooth finish the sprayer gives you: 
painting kitchen cabinets with sprayer

The difference is amazing! Not to mention, spraying takes a fraction of the time painting by hand does.

It was hard to find any issues with the cabinets when I started looking. I did find one really random spot by our lazy Susan that had rubbed off:
There's the cat. There's always a cat. :)

I've never noticed it till now and I have no idea what it came from -- the door that latches there doesn't have anything on it that would have scraped it or stuck to it. I'm guessing it was just a small spot that I didn't clean well enough and it wore off? No idea.

Not a big deal because it will just take a little sanding and I can touch it up quickly with a roller and the paint. I noticed when I inspected it that the frame next to it could use another coat anyway.

This next one hurt my heart a little bit when it happened, not gonna lie. I was taking photos and noticed one drawer had some drips from what I think was syrup, so I went to clean it with a soft cloth, and this happened:
Advance paint cure time

*Wails, cries, curls up into a ball on the floor.*

I wiped down the drawer with some pressure and most of it was fine, but I scrubbed a little bit and obviously you can see where it marred the surface. I wouldn't even call it a scratch, because it's not rough or down to the primer. It's more like a scuff but it definitely left a mark. 

My guess is that the last coat I sprayed was thick. It's still not cured completely. Soooo…I won't be scrubbing my cabinets for another few months, darn. :) Funny thing is, things bang into these all the time and nothing has scratched them or knocked any of the paint off. I was shocked that this happened. This is just an issue of cure time. 

I painted my cabinets fully expecting to have to touch up a few cabinet doors once a year or so, so although I was sad when it happened, it's not something I'll worry about fixing for some time. Little stuff like this is only noticeable to me, and after a day even I forget about it. 

You don't see it unless you know it's there and you're looking for it: 
two toned cabinets kitchen
See? Can't even see it. :) 

Otherwise? Everything is BEAUTIFUL. The uppers are holding up great: 
Advance paint white cabinets
I love the smooth, slight shine of them. Every time I open a cabinet in this kitchen my heart flips a little bit because I love the changes to them so much. 

I would do it all over again in a heartbeat and would recommend to any of you to do the same. But do treat them with kid gloves for a few months. I didn't tighten our hardware all the way till about three weeks after I had painted them. I only did that because even if they leave a mark, we'll always have the hardware there anyway, so it's no biggie. 

Did you know it can take a month to a few months for paint to fully cure? The glossier the finish the longer it will take. You can wipe it down within a week or so, but the heavier stuff like scrubbing will take longer. I thought I was passed that point and wasn't. Lesson learned. 

Overall they are holding up beautifully and I'm still thrilled with the painted cabinets. They absolutely make our kitchen! 
gray and white painted kitchen cabinets

I wanted to share this because I love reading follow ups to big projects like this and figured you would be interested too. It may look great in photos but if it doesn't function well there's just no point (at least in this house). I'll share more updates in the coming months on everything from the cabinets to the appliances! 

If you want to paint your cabinets with a brush, check out my tutorial for that here

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  1. Hi Sarah! I wanted to tell you that your kitchen renovation is gorgeous, I absolutely love the choices you made and it really looks amazing. I have been following your blog for a few years now and you have inspired me to tackle so many projects in my home so thank you! I am in the process of painting my kitchen cabinets right now and it is truly a time consuming project, I had to laugh at your comment of "watching paint dry" - so true :-) I am using a brush & roller but was definitely intrigued by the finish you achieved by spraying, it looks very professional. Thanks for your detailed posts and the time & energy you put into your blog, hope you have a wonderful holiday!

  2. Your honesty on this blog is SO refreshing. Thanks for giving us good feedback. I love your kitchen reno and wish you happy days ahead.

  3. Watch the lip of your cabinets, too... if water gets in there and sets, they will bubble and paint will come loose. I have this on a few of mine... Nice thing is, you have paint and sprayer. Sand and a new coat of paint and it will look like new again. I have one anywhere i wipe and moisture stays. Dry in the little crack well after you wipe down! and drips will make your paint come up, but it is easily fixed. Mine started because i don't think that area was cleaned well enough. It was always happening above the handle in that little crevice. oils from hands most likely. :( Respraying is always an option!

  4. That's the one down side to the Advance paint - they say 30 days to fully cure. The great thing is that you can always respray a random door or drawer if necessary. :-) Looks great! I'm working on a two toned kitchen for a client right now (because that's a great idea right around the holidays, right?).

  5. I love the colors you chose for your kitchen. We are in the process of getting ideas for ours after the holidays are over. Where did you get your hardware from?

  6. It looks really good. We are busy installing our new kitchen using pretty much the same colour scheme.

    I really like your microwave idea, so much so that I had the carpenter alter one of the cabinets to put it in there like that. Where I live microwaves are generally left on the countertop, hogging valuable space, so I think that is a genius idea.

  7. Love and appreciate your honesty. Your kitchen looks incredible. You are so talented and of course thrifty. Awesome job! Love it!

  8. I prefer oil paint for kitchen cabinets. They wipe right off and it takes a lot of force to chip the paint or scratch it up. (Except for the white uppers, which I always worry will turn yellow after a while, so I'd use latex there because they won't get that everyday use like the bottoms.)

    Glad you're happy, they look terrific! Totally drooling over the hardware ; )

  9. The kitchen is so dreamy. Well done and enjoy!

  10. Gotta say it again. I love your blog and I love how YOU yourself do almost all the work-no knight in shining armor swooping in to saw and drill and paint. Very empowering. So empowering that I recently took down the molding on my kitchen door and windows and replaced it with craftsman style. (we had a bump out where the windows on each side of the door were taller than the door and that always bothered me) And I did it all myself which I never would have attempted before reading your blog. Thank you!

  11. I love the finish the sprayer gives. They look great!!!

  12. You have a lovely kitchen. It looks like it was painted by a pro! Thanks for the tutorial btw! Now i'm thinking of repainting my kitchen as well. Lol.

  13. Well hey, youre right.. cant be mad at the kitty lol :)
    XO Ellen from Ask Away

  14. These turned out BEE-U-TEE-FULL!!! Looks like a pro did it!

  15. Your kitchen is beautiful! I've watched from the start and love the new look. Hugs,

  16. Your cabinets look like they're holding up beautifully. I finished painting ours last month and they are still curing so I'm trying really hard not to touch them. We have a few little dings already but, like you said, no one notices them unless they're really looking.

  17. I like you have just finished my kitchen cabinets. I used Advance paint since I followed all of Jenny's advice even using her sprayer. I bought the one you used but it was WAY too heavy for my 60 doors and drawers to use for the 5+ hours I sprayed everyday for over 2 weeks. The only thing you guys don't know about is humidity. I live in FL and the humidity this Fall has been awful. Usually we have some glorious days but not this year! Not the one I want to paint my cabinets and have to do it outside! So far the humidity hasn't gone below 80%. It has made my dry time 3 times as long and my paint is not setting and curing like it should. So I would caution anyone who is thinking to do this and has humidity to deal with try to do it inside if possible or wait until your humidity is below 50% for a long time.

    I also have several small places where the paint has chipped so I have a small mason jar and paint brush in my kitchen drawer so I can tackle the spots as soon as I see them.

  18. I just wanted to mention that I have the exact same spots of chipping on my lazy Susan cabinets too - both of them. I ended up putting tiny felt pads inside the doors. It was from the cabinet doors closing and slightly dragging when closed. Hope that helps!

  19. I think they look amazing! A few scratches here and there are what makes it a home and not a museum!

  20. Did you look into doing a protective finish? Or is that the point of that type of paint?

  21. I love, love your kitchen!!! My hubby is painting the cabinets just because I fell in love with your kitchen!!!❤ the only thing I'm concerned is the backsplash I don't know what color! Because we want to leave the countertop black, please help me what color can be better for backsplash?? Thanks❤

  22. I've recently upgraded my cabinets (ended up with brachial plexus nerve damage), so I would have to agree with spraying. I love love my cabinets but never saw this one coming!

  23. I am in Love with your kitchen. Even though I am a painter and own a sprayer, I have been putting off painting my cabinets because I know the work involved. You have inspired me to stop procrastinating and just do it. You did a fabulous job and the color is perfect!!! seriously love this kitchen

  24. Your kitchen looks wonderful and thank you so much for the thorough tutorial! We are planning on painting our kitchen soon and I'm so excited! Your blog has been a great help! I know you said you took the doors of the cabinets off and sprayed them in your garage, what method did you use for the rest of the cabinet? Did you paint the rest by hand? Also did you paint the inside? Our cabinets are dark and we are painting them white. Thanks so much!

  25. Hello Brooke! Yes I used rollers and brushes for that part. If you click the link near the top of this post I shared the whole process. :)

  26. Hi Sarah! Wondering if you regret anything about painting your cabinets? We recently moved into a home with expensive, beautiful cherry cabinets. While they are beautiful, they make the whole kitchen SO dark (we also have dark cherry floors). So I'm debating having them professionally sprayed white. Just want to see if you have any regrets or input? Thanks!!


    1. Not one bit! I would do it over again in a heartbeat. :)


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THANKS so much for reading!