Renovate and paint the kitchen cabinets for a new and fresh look. Use MDF as a base for an even, flat surface. Do you have a kitchen with a classic or outdated look and would you like a kitchen with a sleek, modern, or more contemporary look?
You can purchase a new kitchen, but you should also consider renovating the kitchen with sheets of MDF and painting it in any desired color of paint. You will be explained step by step how to give a “new” kitchen a completely different look in a relatively simple way, plus a global overview of the costs of a “renovation” of the kitchen.
The condition of the kitchen doors – The basics
The kitchen doors, which serve as the basis for your new kitchen, must still be in reasonably good condition. This applies in particular to the way in which the kitchen doors are hung; the firmness of the hinges. The kitchen doors in this article are finished with MDF in a sheet thickness of 4 mm. Take into account a slight increase in the weight of the kitchen doors, so that the hinges are subjected to a slightly heavier load.
Stepping into a new kitchen
Measure and saw the panels for the kitchen doors
A saying of the carpenter is: “equal is unequal”. This means that you must carefully measure the size of the doors and drawers, but of the size found 1 to 2 mm. must be deducted before you go to the panels … or have them cut. If you do this, the sawn panels will remain within the dimensions of the kitchen doors and you will have some leeway if the substrate or the sawn MDF boards turn out not to be completely square.
Preparing the old kitchen doors
Remove, clean, and sand
If the hinges of the kitchen doors can be easily released (click system), it can be beneficial to remove the doors and treat/paint them elsewhere. This prevents damage during work in the kitchen.
Degrease the old surface with water and ammonia, or a rinser, even if you cover the kitchen cabinets with MDF later.
A kitchen is always relatively greasy due to use. By cleaning and sanding, you will later obtain better adhesion of the glue or sealant when attaching the MDF panels. If you do this with waterproof sandpaper, you won’t have any dust and you can clean and sand in one go. Finally, wash the surface with clean ammonia water and let it dry.
Pre-processing the MDF
Untreated MDF has a roller layer/wax layer, which must first be removed to prevent subsequent adhesion problems or drying problems of the primer. MDF itself has an almost smooth surface, but it must be sanded well after degreasing and before applying the primer. In the fine sanding scratches that you make, as a result, the paint can adhere well later. Preferably use sandpaper with a fine grit, eg grit 180 or finer (220 – 280).
Sanding and priming the MDF
When sanding, slightly round the edges of the panels, as well as the corners. This makes the panels less vulnerable to impacts and the like in daily use and the paint remains better and flows better, thanks to better edge coverage.
You can apply the primer either before applying the panels or after you have glued/attached them. Let this depend on your own working method and the space you have available for roughing. If you glue or fix the panels in advance, you will be able to prime the panels all around better or more fully.
Attaching the MDF panels to the kitchen doors
To fix the panels, use a mounting kit or a cheap acrylic kit, which you apply to the surface in even strokes. The mounting kit has the advantage that it immediately adheres well after drying, but this kit is more expensive. Acrylic sealant is cheaper but tends to sag under the weight of the panels, which may require fixing with small nails or glue clamps. Do clamp a slat or piece of the board between the panels and the foot of the glue clamp to prevent damage to the surface.
Drying time acrylic sealant
Count on a minimum of 1 to 1.5 hours for drying – when using an acrylic sealant.
The advantage of acrylic sealant is that the doors can easily be returned to their original condition because this sealant is less aggressive than mounting sealant and results in less damage when removing the panels if this is desirable.
An alternative can be to fix the panels with a number of cocktail sticks during the drying time. Drill a number of holes with a 2-millimeter drill in the MDF panel and the surface, and insert a cocktail stick, on which you first apply sealant or wood glue. After drying, cut off the protruding part of the cocktail stick with a Stanley knife and sand it smoothly.
Applying the primer to the substrate
For indoor use, it is advisable to apply an acrylic primer or a special primer for MDF. Acrylic paint gives off less harmful fumes when drying than the so-called alkyd resin paints with turpentine as diluent. Working smoothly is required with acrylic paints because this paint dries faster and therefore flows for less time. The advantage is that you can paint twice in one day.
First, paint the edges around the panel with a suitable brush. You can easily paint the front with a mohair roller or paint roller for acrylic paint. Apply the paint full and criss-cross, spread the paint evenly over the surface, and roll it lightly in vertical strokes without exerting too much pressure on the roller.
Re-rolling of the applied paint
Place the roller on the left or right, plus minus 5 cm. under the top edge of the panel and roll to the top edge; straight down; slightly diagonally up; straight down; slightly diagonally upwards, etc., etc. You do this without removing the roll from the surface, always slightly overlapping the previously unrolled strip. Avoid touching the top or bottom edge of the panel with your roll, as this will leave an imprint of the edge (sharp edges) in your roll that you will then see on the front of the panel.
Seal around the MDF panels with acrylic sealant
After the primer has dried sufficiently, lightly sand the MDF and seal the edges (4 mm MDF) of the panels all around with acrylic sealant. This has the advantage that you both increase the suction of the short sides and seal seams and cracks nicely, which protects the panels well against moisture -within the later, daily use.
Let the caulk dry for a day before painting again. Don’t forget to properly seal the underside of the panels (moisture dripping from the counter). You can use a mirror to properly assess your work on the underside of the panels.
Painting the MDF panels
Before painting, sand the panels again with fine sandpaper or a plastic sanding pad. You do this before every paint job. You can then use the remaining MDF cleaning cloths to make the surface dust-free again (tack cloth). For the method of painting, follow the procedure as described when processing the primer.
Paint the panels – where it concerns the kitchen – at least 2 times; preferably even 3 times with paint with wear-resistant properties (polyurethane). A total of four coats of paint; prime once or twice and finish two or three times.