What is the cabinet refinishing process?

This is where most of the trouble comes from. In reality, painting is literally 90% preparation and 10% painting. If the preparation isn’t done correctly, you’re going to have a lot of problems in the future.

Sadly, preparation is usually the first corner to be cut when painters are trying to save money. This in turn, causes a lot of issues with peeling, cracking, and chipping. These aren’t usually issues caused by cheap paint–but instead, a cheap painter.

If you are a do-it-your-selfer, I salute you. I also ask that you follow this same exact process in order to prevent the ‘cheap painter effect’ on your cabinets. If you don’t want to go through all that trouble, just hire someone else to do it.


Cabinet refinishing typically takes 5-7 days on average. The reason it takes so long for such small projects is the time it takes to dry. Colorito uses specialized cabinet painting equipment and quick drying primer. This takes our turn around time down to just 2-3 days on average.

Commonly used cabinet primers are a big culprit to slow project turn over. The cabinet primer from Sherwin-Williams takes 4 HOURS to dry in between coats. Most of the time this primer takes two coats–especially on dark wood or paint.

Now, when you take these outlandish dry times and factor in the fact that you have to paint and flip your cabinet doors over 5 times to get your coats. It’s a total time wasting nightmare. This drives prices up pretty high. If prices are too low–the painter is skipping steps.


We can’t speak for other painters, but this is what we do each day:

Day 1: The painter arrives on the job site. First thing they should be doing is drawing a map of your cabinets. This way they can replace the cabinets back to the order they found them in.

The reason they need to take the cabinet doors off in the first place is to avoid painting the hardware (hinges, screws, handles, etc..), but also to make sure all sides of the door get painted evenly. If you don’t mind getting your hardware painted, depending on the painter, you could probably save some money.

Next, they remove all the doors, drawers, and hardware from the cabinets. Then they start masking off the floor to prevent it from getting dirty.

After masking off the floor, the painter does all of the prep work. This involves degreasing, cleaning, sanding, and masking off the cabinet holes (unless those are being painted too).

Finally after all the prep work is complete, we prime and paint the cabinet bases. Once we’re finished painting the bases, we take the cabinet doors and drawers to our spray booth.

Day 2: We prep, prime, and paint the cabinet doors and drawers the same way we did with the cabinet bases. The spray booth where we take the doors and drawers allows us to quickly and efficiently apply a factory-like finish to the cabinet faces.

Day 3: We install the doors, drawers, and hardware.