How To Paint Lacquered Wood Cabinets

If you have lacquered kitchen cabinets, you may find them faded, or you prefer another color. Lacquer is used as an inexpensive finish, but it doesn't last as long as polyurethane. However, lacquered surfaces are commonly easy to refinish with the right tools. The steps in this guide will instruct you on how to paint lacquered cabinets.

Prepare to Paint the Lacquered Cabinets

To paint lacquered cabinets, you need;

  • paint safety gear (work gloves, dust mask, eye goggles)
  • plastic or drop cloths
  • rags
  • painter's tape
  • trisodium phosphate 
  • 150-grit to 220-grit sandpaper 
  • screwdriver
  • spackling knife
  • wood filler
  • orbital sander (optional)
  • two-inch angled paint brush and small roller 
  • stain-blocking oil primer and semi-gloss oil paint

Use the screwdriver to detach the handles, and seal them in a plastic bag. Loosen the hinge screws, and seal the hinges with painter's tape.

Number the doors as you remove them, and lay them on a flat surface over plastic or drop cloths. Place drop cloths on the floor and countertops. Tape off non-removable parts and adjacent wall trim. 

Give the cabinet and doors a thorough cleaning with trisodium phosphate, rinse, and let them dry. Trisodium phosphate should help remove some of the glossy finish.

Sand and Prime

Use the spackle knife to fill dents and dings with wood putty, and let it dry. Sand the cabinet, doors, and drawers with 220-grit sandpaper, and clean dust using a damp rag or a handheld vacuum. If desired, sand with an orbital sander and 220-grit sanding disc to make the job go faster.

Keep a bucket of clear water close by to clean brushes as you work. Prime the perimeter of the cabinets with the angled brush, roll the primer on larger areas, then the doors and drawers. Keep the brushes covered in plastic to prevent them from drying out.

You don't have to  prime the drawer body, since it stays hidden. Let the primer dry, and apply another coat, if needed. 

Paint the Cabinet

Semi-gloss or gloss oil paints are easy to maintain, and they also stick better. Latex paints can be used, but it may require multiple coats.

Mix the paint according to directions to even color pigments. Paint the cabinet body applying thin coats using long, smooth strokes working in small sections to keep a wet paint edge. 

Paint the drawers and doors while you wait on the paint to dry. Apply another coat of paint, if needed, and rinse tools with paint thinner. Reinstall cabinet doors, drawers, and hardware after 24 hours.



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