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How To Paint The Cabinets In Your RV

In the past, we have discussed painting RV walls, a process that is actually quite different from painting the walls in your home. But today we will talk about painting RV cabinetry. This process is not too difficult, but it is pretty involved and requires special steps that one might not take when painting a house.

So how is the best way to go about it? The steps below will give you a good idea of what kinds of tools you need and where to start. From there you should be able to navigate the process fairly easily.

Painting cabinets

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Remove the shine

The first thing you’ll need to do is remove all of that slippery shine on your cabinetry. This coating is beyond slick, making it impossible for paint to stick to the surfaces of your cabinets.

My husband and I chose to sand this stuff off before painting our cabinets. However, some people opt to use chemicals such as TSP to do the job. Just be sure to wear protective eyewear and gloves if you decide to go the chemical route.

Get rid of grease

With your surfaces all roughed up, it’s time to ensure your cabinets are free from grease and other splashes and debris. This is an especially important step when painting cabinets because the kitchen and the bathroom tend to be home to the majority of splashes.

We used rubbing alcohol to clean our cabinets for painting and found it very effective. That said, it does create a strong odor, so be sure to open a window and turn on a fan while you work.

Use Frog Tape

Frog Tape is ideal for any painting project. It is easy to remove and eliminates the problem of running paint. I learned the hard way that it is best to invest in the wider tape (or double up on regular tape strips) in order to avoid accidentally rolling over onto the walls.

Additionally, if you have windows located near your cabinetry, you may want to put a layer of painter’s paper over the glass. We did this and it was definitely worth the tiny bit of extra effort.

Go with foam

Foam roller
Foam rollers are less likely to leave marks than traditional brushes. 

In order to ensure a smooth, stroke-free finish on your cabinets, you will want to invest in foam rollers and foam wedge brushes. These tools are less likely to leave strokes and marks than their traditional brush and roller counterparts.

That said, even with the foam, it is important to be careful not to leave a streaky finish by getting rid of unwanted brush markings before your paint dries.

Start with Gripper Primer

Now it’s time to begin the painting process. In general, it’s best to use a primer of some sort before using actual paint. When painting RV walls, this primer can be a part of the paint itself.

However, when painting the cabinets, you are going to need a bit of extra stick. This is thanks to those slippery surfaces, along with the excessive touching and wiping the doors are likely to receive.

Glidden Gripper Primer is the thickest and strongest primer I’ve ever worked with. Once painted on, it does not want to budge in the least. This means you will want to make sure to keep it out of your hair and off your skin. I wasn’t careful enough myself and regretted it for a week or so.

White paint

Choose your paint wisely

Once the primer is dry you can move on to the actual painting. However, many people are confused about the best paint to use. If you’re overwhelmed by all of the different options, don’t worry because we have suggestions.

These are the things my family went looking for when shopping for our cabinet paint:

  • Interior: Obviously, you will be painting indoors, so an indoor paint is best.
  • Semi-gloss or High-gloss: A glossy paint will give you that lovely, shiny look that most cabinets have.
  • Primer-Free: Because you will be using a primer already, an expensive paint-and-primer combo is not necessary. Instead, look for something without primer added.

We ended up with Color Place Semi-Gloss Interior in White on White and we adore the results.

White cabinets

Apply a clear coat

I said it before and I’ll say it again: cabinets are a high-use item and should be painted as such. Therefore, finishing the whole project off with a clear coat is a no-brainer. This final coat will add durability to your work and give it an extra bit of shine. Best of all, the clear coat will make your cabinets super easy to wipe down, something that is a must in a kitchen or bathroom.

Hopefully, these tips give you the confidence you need to get started on your painting project. Let us know how it goes in the comments below!

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