How To Paint Vinyl Cabinets

Did you know that the average kitchen renovation costs over $20,000? That's a significant amount of money, especially if you're on a tight budget. However, if you're looking to update the look of your kitchen without breaking the bank, painting your vinyl cabinets is a great option.

Not only is it budget-friendly, but it's also a simple DIY project that can be completed in a weekend. In this article, we'll show you how to paint your vinyl cabinets step-by-step, so you can achieve a fresh, new look without the high cost of a full kitchen renovation.

We'll go over the necessary materials you'll need, how to prepare your cabinets for painting, and the proper technique for applying the paint. By the end of this article, you'll have all the knowledge you need to successfully transform your vinyl cabinets into a stylish and updated focal point in your kitchen.

Let's get started!

Key Takeaways

  • Proper preparation is crucial before painting vinyl cabinets, including cleaning the cabinets, removing hardware, and sanding with fine-grit sandpaper.
  • Choosing high-quality, durable paint and applying it in thin, even coats is recommended for a long-lasting finish.
  • Preventive measures, such as using coasters and trimming pets' claws, can help protect newly painted cabinets from damage.
  • Regular maintenance, including using a mild cleaning solution and avoiding harsh cleaners, can ensure the longevity of painted vinyl cabinets.

Gather the Necessary Materials

Before you start, make sure you've got all the materials you need, so you don't have to run to the store mid-painting!

First, you'll need a vinyl primer that's specifically designed to adhere to vinyl surfaces. This is important because regular primer won't stick to vinyl and will eventually peel off. You can find vinyl primer at most hardware stores or online.

Next, you'll need a high-quality paint that's also designed for use on vinyl surfaces. Look for a paint that's durable and will resist chipping and fading.

Additionally, you'll need a set of brushes and rollers, painter's tape, sandpaper, and a clean cloth.

Once you have all of these materials, you're ready to start painting! But before you do, you need to prepare the cabinets.

Prepare the Cabinets

Before you start painting your vinyl cabinets, it's important to prepare them properly. Begin by cleaning the surface of any dirt, grease, or residue using a mild detergent and water.
Next, remove all cabinet hardware such as knobs, handles, and hinges to ensure a smooth and even paint application.
Finally, sand the cabinets lightly with a fine-grit sandpaper to create a rough surface that will allow the paint to adhere better.

By following these steps, you'll be on your way to a successful cabinet painting project.

Clean the Surface

To get started, give those vinyl cabinets a good scrubbing to make them shine like a diamond in the sun. Effective cleaning techniques will depend on the amount of grime and dirt on the surface.

For light dirt and dust, a simple solution of warm water and a mild dish soap will do the trick. For tougher stains, you may want to use a stronger cleaning product, such as vinegar or baking soda. Be sure to test any cleaning product on a small, inconspicuous area first to make sure it won't damage the vinyl.

When cleaning the surface of your vinyl cabinets, it's important to use a soft cloth or sponge to avoid scratching the material. Start at the top of the cabinet and work your way down, wiping away any dirt or grime as you go.

Once you've cleaned the entire surface, rinse the cabinets thoroughly with clean water and dry them with a clean towel. Now that your cabinets are clean and dry, it's time to move on to the next step and remove the cabinet hardware.

Remove Cabinet Hardware

Let's get started by taking off those old cabinet handles and knobs, giving your kitchen a fresh new look and feel! Removing cabinet hardware is an essential step in painting vinyl cabinets. Here are some tips to guide you through the process:

  • Use a screwdriver to remove the screws that hold the hardware in place.
  • Place all the screws and hardware in a labeled bag to avoid losing them.
  • If you plan on replacing the hardware, measure the distance between the screw holes to ensure a proper fit.
  • If you want to keep the same hardware but give it a fresh look, consider alternative finishes like spray painting or using metallic rub-on paste.
  • If you don't want to replace or refinish the hardware, make sure to cover it with painter's tape before painting the cabinets.

Now that you've removed the hardware, it's time to move on to the next step: sanding the cabinets.

Sand the Cabinets

Now that you've stripped away the old finish, the cabinets are like a blank canvas waiting for you to smooth out their rough edges with sandpaper. But before you start sanding, it's important to choose the right sandpaper. For vinyl cabinets, it's best to use a fine-grit sandpaper like 220 or 320. This will help you avoid scratching the surface and ensure that the primer and paint adhere properly.

When it comes to proper sanding technique, start by sanding in the direction of the grain or pattern. Use a light touch and let the sandpaper do the work. Avoid applying too much pressure or sanding in a circular motion, as this can create visible scratches.

Once you've sanded the entire surface, wipe the cabinets down with a clean, damp cloth to remove any dust or debris. With the cabinets smooth and clean, you're ready to move on to the next step: applying the paint.

Apply the Paint

First, prep the vinyl cabinets by cleaning them with soap and water, then lightly sand them to ensure the paint adheres properly.

Once the cabinets are dry, it's time to apply the paint. You can use a paintbrush or a roller, depending on your preference. If you're using a brush, start by painting the edges and corners of the cabinets, then work your way inward. If you're using a roller, apply the paint in long, even strokes, starting from the top of the cabinets and working your way down.

When choosing the paint, consider blending colors to achieve the desired look, and choose a finish that will hold up well in the kitchen, such as a satin or semi-gloss.

Apply the paint in thin, even coats, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next. This will ensure a smooth, even finish. Once you've applied the final coat, allow the paint to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

Allow the Paint to Dry

You can't wait to see the final results of your hard work, but patience is key as you allow the fresh coat of paint to dry completely.

The length of time required for the paint to dry will depend on the type and quality of paint used, as well as the temperature and humidity of the room. Generally, it's recommended to wait at least 24 hours before touching or using the cabinets.

While waiting for the paint to dry, you can start planning your next steps. Think about the painting techniques you used and the color options you chose. Did you achieve the desired look and feel for your cabinets? If not, consider making adjustments or adding another coat of paint to achieve the desired finish.

Once the paint has fully dried, you can move on to the next step of maintaining your newly painted vinyl cabinets.

Maintain the Cabinets

To keep your newly painted vinyl cabinets looking their best, you need to take preventive measures to avoid scratches or other damage. For example, avoid placing sharp or heavy objects on the cabinets, and use coasters or placemats to protect the surface from spills or stains. If you have pets, keep their claws trimmed to avoid scratching the cabinets.

When it comes to cleaning your vinyl cabinets, it's important to use gentle cleaning solutions and soft cloths. Avoid abrasive cleaners or scrubbers, as these can scratch the surface or remove the paint. Instead, use a mild dish soap solution, diluted with water, and a soft cloth to wipe down the cabinets. You can also use a vinegar and water solution for a natural cleaning alternative.

By taking these simple steps, you can maintain the look and longevity of your newly painted cabinets for years to come.


Congratulations! You've successfully painted your vinyl cabinets and transformed their look. By following the steps outlined in this article, you were able to gather the necessary materials, prepare the cabinets, apply the paint, allow it to dry, and maintain the cabinets for future use.

You may have heard the theory that vinyl cabinets can't be painted, but now you know that it's indeed possible with the right techniques. Don't be afraid to experiment with different colors and finishes to achieve your desired look.

With a little patience and attention to detail, you can create a fresh and updated look for your cabinets without the need for expensive replacements. Happy painting!

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