Can You Paint Cabinets Without Sanding?

One of the simplest (and dare we say most enjoyable?) of all spring/summer home improvement projects is painting cabinets. More specifically, sprucing up your kitchen cabinets can radically transform the look and feel of your entire kitchen, without having to spend a fortune on major renovations.

Particularly at this time of year, it’s the kind of weekend DIY project anyone who knows their way around the toolbox can happily have a go at. You remove all the cupboard and drawer doors from around the kitchen, take off the hardware and transport them outside. You then sand them down, prime them properly and get busy with the paint.

But here’s a question – is it actually necessary to sand down cabinets, before painting them?

Can You Paint Cabinets Without Sanding?

Given that this is by far the most laborious and time-consuming step in the process, it’s unsurprising many choose to skip it entirely. As for whether or not this is a good idea, it depends entirely on the current finish of the cabinets.

In some instances, the answer is yes – you can paint cabinets without sanding and come out with a flawless result. In others, failing to sand them (and sand them properly) will pave the way for disastrous results.

Here’s how to proceed in accordance with the current finish of your kitchen cabinets:

Unvarnished, Unpainted Wood

Raw wood that has not been treated, finished or painted already can usually be painted right away without being sanded. However, it may be necessary (or recommended) to sand and/or conduct any minor repairs to the surface required, prior to going ahead. In any case, raw wood has a naturally rough and porous surface, which means that sanding is typically not needed. Feel free to check how well your chosen paint or stain adheres to a small patch of the surface, before carrying on with the rest.

Freshly Painted Surfaces

There are some instances – such as when the surface was painted no longer than a year ago – that it’s technically possible to paint over it without sanding.  Nevertheless, it depends entirely on both the type of paint used previously and its current state of repair. For example, if it’s a super glossy paint with a mirror-like smooth finish, there’s no way the paint is going to adhere to the surface properly. Flat or matte painted surfaces can sometimes be painted over, if in pretty flawless condition. Though you may find it much easier to paint your cabinets after sending them at least slightly, which will help the paint stick in place.

Varnished Surfaces

If there is a coating of shiny varnish on the surface, you can more or less forget about skipping the sanding process. As mentioned above, the smoother and shinier the surface, the more important it is to give it a good once-over with some sandpaper. The vast majority of paints simply aren’t capable of bonding properly with super-shiny surfaces. Even when they do, you’re guaranteed to come out with an uneven and disappointing finish come the other side. Sanding really is a small price to pay for a long-term result to be proud of.

Damaged Painted Surfaces

Last but not least, it can be tempting to simply peel away damaged paint and subsequently paint over the whole thing once again. In rare instances, this can work – like if there’s just a tiny amount of damage in one small spot and the rest of the surface is in flawless condition (and not too shiny).  In the other 99% of instances, attempting to paint over damaged or flaking paint on a kitchen cabinet is an absolutely terrible idea. The entire project could prove to be a waste of time, given how the new finish will quickly begin to deteriorate and flake once again. Irrespective of how long it takes you to sand down the surface, you can rest assured it will be quicker than starting the job again from scratch in the near future.

Why Not Hire Help?

If interested in sprucing up your kitchen but you simply do not have the time to get the job done yourself, why not call in the pros?

At Homm CPS, we offer an extensive range of interior and exterior painting services of unbeatable quality, tailored to suit all requirements and budgets. For more information or to discuss any aspect of your planned painting project in more detail, call anytime to book your obligation-free consultation with a member of our team.