Without a doubt, painting the doors of my Barker Cabinets was the worst part of the whole kitchen renovation. But it had nothing to do with the Barker Doors. The main problem was the paint I used and the the fact that I don’t really like painting. If you’ve been thinking about painting Barker Cabinet doors, or you just like to watch people suffer, then this post is for you!
I was so annoyed by the whole door painting process that it pains me to even write about it. But here goes the summary:
Decide on a Paint Color
Are any of you like me and you hem and haw over paint colors for months!?! Sheesh.
I was fairly certain I wanted white for the pantry doors and trim. I wanted them to match the Ikea built-ins I made in the family room and the rest of the trim in my house. So white it was! Of course there are a bazillion whites out there, but this one was easy because I wanted it to match my door trim, which is Behr Swiss Coffee.
The counter height cabinets were another story. All I knew was that I didn’t want white.
I liked navy. I liked gray. I liked emerald-green. But in the end, I went with my heart… which is teal. This was the first peek I gave of the kitchen on Instagram.
Chose the Best Paint
If you ask 20 different people (in the know) you will probably get 20 different answers about the best paint. I researched and researched and ended up with the conclusion that Benjamin Moore Advance Alkyd Paint was the best possible choice for kitchen cabinets. I followed the time consuming directions meticulously and guess what… IT SUCKED! I’ve actually never had a worse experience painting anything.
The entire Benjamin Moore experience sucked for me. The owner/manager of the newly opened store (in Marlton NJ) seemed like he had never mixed a can of paint before. I told him I wanted it color matched to Behr Swiss Coffee, pulled the info up on my phone and showed him, then went as far as asking him if he needed any of the info. No, he assured me that he had it. When he was finished I could tell just from the little dot of paint sample that the color was nowhere close. (Don’t ask me how I knew, it doesn’t sound much like me to notice.)
“Oh, I thought you wanted Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee,” was his response when I refused to take the jacked up paint. For the love of Pete! He fixed it and I was on my way.
I went with Teal Ocean 2049-30 for the other cabinets and that one appeared to be mixed properly.
Rebel that I am, I didn’t go through the sample paint process. I brought a few color swatches home, from several different brands, and taped them on the unfinished cabinets. But in the end I chose teal ocean while I was in the store and figured I’d love the color, or I’d get over it.
I love it.
Number the Cabinet Doors
I’m sure you’ve seen in DIY shows how they use tape to mark cabinet doors so you know where they go when it’s time to reinstall. Well that doesn’t work when you’re painting the entire door. So I had to get creative. I put the cabinet number in the hinge cup hole of the cabinets, since that was the only surface I was not going to paint.
The Barker Cabinet doors each come with a sticker telling you which cabinet it belongs to.
*Please note the shoddy workmanship by Barker Cabinets on this one. Some doors had 2 hinge cup holes, while others had 3. Very few of the doors included pre-drilled screw holes needed to install the hinges, although some did. It was anything but consistent. More on this in the next post.
Painting Barker Cabinet Doors and Drawer Fronts
It was a 14+ step painting process. That’s not even an exaggeration and it felt like even more than that!
Sand and Wipe Down
The Barker doors and drawer fronts come pre-sanded, so that saved one step, but they did need to be wiped down.
I don’t know what in the world possessed me to do this with a brush/roller, but I did. Big mistake. When I did the trim work around the cabinets, I had learned from my mistakes and used a spray primer. The reason I didn’t use a spray gun is because I don’t have one, but more importantly because I didn’t feel like I had a space big enough inside to spray all the doors, even in small batches. And I was afraid to do it outside where every little thing might stick to the wet paint. Apparently, I was being silly. So learned from my mistake and used a sprayer!
Sand and Wipe Down
This was the worst part ever. I hate sanding. We all hate sanding. And there were so many doors and so many layers of paint. It made me crazy and I don’t think I’ve fully recovered. When it was too cold to go outside, I would just sand in my kitchen/family room. If that were the case, I used my Shark to help suck up the dust. (You can find it on Amazon here: Shark Rocket)
For the teal cabinet doors I followed the suggestion for the second layer of primer, and added some of the teal paint to the primer. This meant that at the end of priming the cabinets would not be stark white, but already a little teal. This just made the sanding suck even more.
Again I wish I had sprayed. I had to do the doors and drawer fronts in small batches because there was not enough room in my house. The Benjamin Moore Advance Paint has to sit for 16 hours between coats. And it sure as shit needed to be sanded between coats.
The white Benjamin Moore paint was horrible! I’ve never used something so awful. It bubbled up no matter what I did. I tried a new type of roller, several brushes, lots of tears. No matter what I did, there were these tiny bubbles that ruined the finish and made sanding a freaking nightmare.
Oddly enough, I did not have this bubbling issue with the teal. Ever.
Sand and Wipe Down (OMG is it over yet?)
I would take the cabinets outside to sand them. I resented the process, so I could never do more than 4 or 5 doors before I lost it. It took a long time. Of course they all had to be wiped down after sanding. I know this isn’t new information for you, just trying to be thorough and give you a peak into my deteriorating mental stability during this process.
The second coat of paint was almost enough for the teal cabinets, but they did need touching up here and there, even after 2 coats.
Because I’m no fool, I googled the heck out of bubbles in paint and found next to nothing. Remember, these were new fresh wood cabinets which had been factory sanded and primed by me. There was no reasonable explanation why the teal paint worked and the white paint bubbled like champagne on new years. So what’s a girl to do?? I sent my husband to bring the paint back to Benjamin Moore and get a new can. He has way more patience than me for this stuff. He came back with both the old can and a newly mixed can of Advance Alkyd paint.
And guess what??? It sucked just as bad as the first one. I should have just switched brands at that point, but I was in a sanding/wiping/painting fog and wasn’t thinking clearly. I made it work, but OMG what a pain in the butt.
The Alkyd paint gets harder and stronger the longer you let it sit without being touched. I waited a week before I installed all the doors, and even longer for the drawer fronts because they were more of a pain in the butt.
If you’re looking for other options, like maybe ones that work, check out my friend Kim Six’s enormous resource on kitchen cabinet painting. Find it HERE.
Installing the cabinet doors and drawer fronts is next. Then the hardware, trim and toe kick.