Does chalk paint hold up on kitchen cabinets? It may have been an old wives tale years ago when my mother-in-law told me that the paint on her wooden cabinets was coming loose. The wood was old, she said, and the oil had been kindling there for years. Now, I don’t know if she was hasty or if there were some factors beyond her control, but I thought I would check it out myself. Here’s what I found:
There was no paint on the cabinets. I looked at some other examples of shabby chic home decor and none had paint on the cabinets. They were all gleaming and beautiful as it was, but there was no paint on them. Was my mother-in-law right? Does chalk paint hold up on kitchen cabinets?
The answer depends on how you care for your kitchen furniture. If you are like most people who buy new furniture, you do the majority of your decorating inside the home. So, you will want to protect the surfaces of your cabinets from stains and damage. You do this by cleaning them with a cleaner that is specially formulated to clean wood and to seal the surface. If you are using this product on a cedar or pine kitchen surface, be sure to use caution as those woods are more sensitive to the damaging effects of that cleaner.
So, now that we know if the kitchen cabinets are painted, we can see if chalkboard paint will work on them as well. To test it, I removed the top layer of paint from one cabinet and saw how easily the surface felt. I removed the surface with a piece of drywall paper and compared it to the same sized section of my regular paint surface. It was an almost seamless match! In fact, my drywall paper felt smoother than the surface of the cabinets themselves.
If you do not wish to try this out, you can always purchase a similar looking paint with chalk texture. I think this would be a great option for an artistically inclined person to do. For example, I once saw some very beautiful chalkboard graphics on the back of a cork board. The cork board had an excellent finish and the color was vibrant yet subtle.
If you want to try the same thing on your cabinets, you can always sand the surface and reapply the paint. This is something I recommend doing after you have painted the cabinets. Let me tell you, there is nothing worse than painting the wood of your kitchen cabinets and then laying a fresh coat of paint over it. It makes everything look terrible! So, before you start painting again, sand the boards down and reapply the paint.
Another way of doing this is to take a fine grit sandpaper and run it along the surface of the cabinets. Be sure to be extra gentle with the wood though as the cabinets are extremely delicate. After sanding, you will need to prime the surface of the cabinets. If you do not have any wood primer, you will have to buy some at your local hardware store. Once you have primed the surface, you are ready to paint. It may take a couple coats of paint to get the desired result, but it will be worth the effort.
As you can see, there are a variety of options available to those of us that want to change the appearance of our kitchen cabinets. While these alternatives do work, they have one drawback – cost. As you are probably aware, chalk paint is expensive. If you add up all the costs of purchasing, sanding and priming, you may find that it is a better idea of just installing new cabinets instead of trying to refinish old ones. However, if you are handy with a sander and a brush, you can be on your way to creating the perfect look for your cabinets with the use of chalk paint.