Do I need a primer for kitchen cabinets?

Applying primer is a necessary part of any home painting project.

Trying to paint over an old, worn surface will result in a poor-quality finished product.

Cabinet primer is formulated to provide an ideal surface for topcoat paint to adhere to without flaking or peeling.

It also prevents mildew from developing into the underlying woodwork.

An additional benefit of cabinet primer is that it can be tinted to match most colors so you don’t have to worry about making custom tints when combining colors with the existing cabinets.

Priming kitchen cabinets before painting them helps protect the wood.

If you are painting your kitchen cabinets, you must prime them first.

You might also like: Best Primer For Kitchen Cabinets Without Sanding

how to prime kitchen cabinets

Do I Have To Prime Painted Cabinets?

If your cabinets are already painted, and you’re just looking to update the color, you don’t need to prime them first.

However, if your cabinets are in good shape but have a worn or scratched finish or are older and have tannin stains showing through, you should prime them before painting.

painted kitchen cabinets

Do wood cabinets need a primer?

You might be tempted to skip the primer step if you’re working with a new wood surface that’s completely unfinished.

Don’t do it! If you don’t use primer on new wood, the paint won’t stick well and will be more likely to peel away.

You also need that coat of primer to seal the wood so it doesn’t absorb moisture later on down the line.

Read more about Best Primer For Kitchen Cabinets Without Sanding

Cost of Refinishing Cabinets

If your cabinets are laminate, you don’t want to skip priming before painting them.

I suggest using Stix Primer for this. It always works for me!

Read more about Is Stix Really A Good Primer?

If your kitchen cabinets are made from plywood or particleboard that’s been finished with a clear sealer or varnish, you’ll probably want to remove the existing finish with a chemical stripper before priming.

Stripping finishes is messy and dangerous if not done carefully; hiring a painting professional that specializes in kitchen cabinet painting steps is usually a good idea.

What primer is suitable for kitchen cabinets?

Oil-based primers are your safest bet when painting bare wood and rugged wood cabinets.

One of my Favorite Oi-Based primers is Zinsser CoverStain Oil-Based Primer.

Alkyd hybrid primers are great for the rest and have Low-VOC.

Read more about Best Oil Based Primers For Wood And More

Do I Need to Use Two Coats of Primer?

If you’re working with raw, unfinished wood, you likely need at least two coats of primer. Unfinished wood is highly absorbent and requires a thick coating before it can be conducive to paint or stain.

Some manufacturers recommend only one coat, but if the finish of your cabinets is worn or imperfect, you’ll need two coats anyway.

Even when you have finished cabinets, it’s easy for them to splinter and get damaged over time.

You’ll have to re-paint any time you see damage to the finish, so it’s easier to use two coats of primer in the first place.

best primer for kitchen cabinets

Reviewing the manufacturer’s recommendations is the best way to tell if you need two primers.

Most companies specify how many coats of primer are needed on their website or the can.

If they don’t specify, check out your local hardware store or home improvement center and read what they say on their cans.

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