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DIY Cabinet Painting or Hire a Professional?

DIY cabinet painting or hire a professional

When the kitchen cabinets get old, dingy, worn out, or have an undesired color the homeowner has the 3 main home improvement options at hand to renew them: cabinet replacement, cabinet refacing, or cabinet painting.

The Cabinet painting option (also known as cabinet refinishing or cabinet resurfacing) is normally the winner among the three choices mentioned above, because it is the most inexpensive one, besides many other advantages. However, in spite of being the most budget-friendly option the costs are still relatively high, which is why, looking to save money, many people decide to do the project themselves.

In this article, we will discuss the reasons why you should hire a professional cabinet painter for this project instead of doing it yourself if you are looking for a durable and nice job with a factory-style finish that would contribute to your property. Here are some of the reasons why.

Cabinet painting requires a big deal of hand skills, construction knowledge, and painting experience

There are three ways of painting cabinets: with a brush, with a roller and a brush combined, or with a sprayer. Doing the job with a roller or with a brush is more like a rudimentary method that would allow you to change the appearance of the cabinets but it would never deliver a job of the highest quality, even if your old kitchen cabinets were in good shape.

Achieving a factory-style finish on a cabinet refinishing project would necessarily need to be by spraying the surfaces. The problem with this is that this technique demands a wide set of knowledge and skills in different fields.

If you wanted to achieve more sophisticated finishes on your existing cabinets like vintage, for example, if the cabinets were a little more mistreated, or required a change of fixtures, or maybe needed some repairs, or the cabinet material was not solid wood, the spectrum of knowledge and experience needed would be even wider.

Here are some of the skills you may need to have when you decide to move forward with a DIY cabinet resurfacing project with a factory-style finish:

  • Use of sprayers,
  • Understand equipment safety,
  • Handle sanding machines,
  • Interpret and understand product specifications,
  • Handle and mix primers and paints,
  • Use exhaust systems,

You could damage the furniture, floors, and/ or fixtures in your house while painting your cabinets

A sprayed-on cabinet refinishing project for a nice factory-style finish requires a high level of detail orientation and protection of the surrounding areas.

An amateur preparation, without the right level of care or failure to use a proper exhaust system to vent out all the overspray and fumes, could lead to serious damage to your electro-domestic equipment, furniture, floors, and fixtures.

The potential savings of going the DIY cabinet painting route may not be worthwhile for the journey

Because of the complexity of a cabinet resurfacing job the DIY route has several drawbacks. Here are some of them:

DIY cabinet painting vs hiring a professional takes 3 or 4 times longer

A DIY cabinet refinishing project could take several days depending on the level of skills and knowledge of the person doing it. The length of time would also depend on whether it’s being done with or without a helper.

A 30-door kitchen, for example, that could be totally accomplished in around 10 to 14 hours of effective work by an experienced professional cabinet refinisher would take an average of 40 to 50 effective hours when done by an amateur.

DIY could cost weeks or longer of  disruption in the use of the kitchen

Since a DIY project is normally done by people that have a different job the cabinet refinishing procedure takes place between work schedules, which means that it could take weeks or even months before your kitchen could be functional again.

The total costs of products, tools, and equipment in a DIY are pretty high

For a job well done and with the right finish, you would need to purchase expensive equipment like a spray gun, an HVLP turbine, and an exhaust system. This equipment altogether would cost around $1, 700, not to mention the paint, primer plus other tools and supplies that the person carrying out the project may need, like a sanding machine, sandpaper, paint thinner, masking tape, masking paper, etc.

The money spent on the equipment may sound like an investment but in reality, it should be counted toward the costs of the project since a do-it-yourselfer is not a professional spray painter that does this for a living so that equipment will sit there for a long time waiting for another project of this nature that he/she may never have in the future.

The results of your DIY cabinet refinishing project may not be as beautiful as you expect it

The slightest mistake during your DIY cabinet refinishing project, best case scenario, could lead to a not-that-nice finish and eventually a lower-than-expected finished product.

Here are some of the mistakes that could lead to an undesired outcome of the process:

  • The nozzle of the gun was not adjusted properly
  • The cabinets were not sanded down correctly and some irregularities remained
  • The area was not prepped correctly and some debris or dust particles fell on the surfaces
  • The paint was not filtered
  • The paint used was of poor quality
  • The method used to spray was incorrect (too fast, too slow, too close, or too far from the surfaces)
  • The paint was not mixed or thinned at the right level of viscosity


As we have explained in this article hiring a professional kitchen cabinet refinisher versus going the DIY route may be the best option for most people considering:

1-the high level of detail orientation and hand skills the person doing it should have,

2-the expensive tools and equipment required,

3-the terrible consequences that could arise due to mistakes, use of wrong products, and/or  lack of knowledge,

4-the long time the kitchen could be out of commision


If your property is located in South Florida and you are looking to refinish your cabinets with beautiful results, please click on the button below or fill out any of the contact forms on this page to be able to speak with an expert with years of experience in refinishing services about your specific situation and scope of work. We offer a free quote and seriously focus on customer satisfaction.

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