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How to Get the Most Out of Your Kitchen Remodel

How to Get the Most Out of Your Kitchen Remodel

As a painter, I work in a lot of people’s homes and I’ve given a lot of bids for “redoing” kitchen cabinets. Unfortunately, more often than not, clients are surprised at just how costly this project can be due to the man-hours it takes to prepare, strip, prime, and re-paint or re-stain their cabinetry. Most painters will estimate an entire day’s work to disassemble cabinet doors and drawers from their shells, mark each piece’s exact location, disassemble and mark all hardware, and then put it all back together again after the cabinetry is finished.

For any kitchen cabinet remodel, YOU (the customer) will have some decisions to make.  The kitchen is THE most important, highly used room in the house (generally) – so you want it to look as good as possible. But you don’t want to break the bank doing it, right?


I wrote this blog to help, not to confuse or worry you! If you follow these guidelines, it will help you get the most out for your money, and, in the least amount of time. Before making any decisions, consider the following:

– The first thing you have to decide is, “Do I want the cabinets painted or stained?”
The answer to this one is up to you!

– If you’re staining, what type of clear-coat do you want over-top of the wood?  Varnish or Lacquer?
If you’re doing the work yourself and you’re not highly experienced with spraying clear lacquers, do NOT attempt it.  This is one of the hardest skills for SKILLED painters to do well.  Most cabinet lacquers cannot be brushed, so plan on using a varnish if you’re doing the work yourself.

– Next, you’ll have to decide if you’d like to re-do the insides of the cabinet shells in addition to the exteriors.
*Remember, if you decide to include the insides you’re going to have to remove all the contents of the cabinets and find some place to store those items for the duration of the project. Depending on the team you’ve hired, that could be anywhere from 4-10 days (a long time to wait!). You should also understand that most of your kitchen – including counter-tops – will be under plastic/tarps for the majority of this time as well.*

What’s the reason you’re doing this project?  How long do you plan to live here? Those of you who are doing this to spruce-up the kitchen before selling your home may want to consider NOT doing the insides of the cabinetry.  This will cut-down on the overall time by about half, which means a much lower price if you’re planning on hiring someone to do it for you.

Do you have glass cabinets where the insides can be seen, or do you have just a few glass cabinet doors, but the rest wood? It’s not unheard of to only do those areas inside the cabinets which can be seen through glass.

Are you concerned about paint fumes; especially with all of that spraying in your home?  If you don’t want spraying done inside your home, I’d suggest you don’t have the insides of the cabinets done, unless you’re willing to pay someone the extra time & money to brush & roll the insides of the cabinets.  The cabinet doors, drawers, and shelves can all be removed from the inside of your home and sprayed off-site.  If you’re hiring a professional who is spraying everything, but you don’t really want any spraying done inside your home, the cabinet shells can be brushed.  A skilled painter can make most brushed surfaces look like a sprayed surface, so you needn’t worry about brush-strokes.  Even if they’re spraying lacquer on the cabinet doors and drawers, they can always brush a varnish on the cabinet shells.


– Offer to remove any cabinet contents and kitchen contents required to do the job.

– Also offer to disassemble and re-assemble everything needed to do the job; cabinet doors, drawers, shelves, and their hardware.

– Offer your painter a designated spray room for the cabinet doors, drawers, etc.  The garage usually works best – as long the cabinets have enough heat and airflow.  Try to offer the largest space you can (minimum 15′ x 20′). Take the time to sweep it extremely well and clean it of any/all dust, since your painter will need a dust-free environment to re-paint/stain.

– Make your willingness to provide this work known to your painter before the time of your estimate so it can be factored into the overall cost of the job. Any client who offered to do all of this work for me and my crew would be looking at a savings of around 35%! Without this help from you, I’d need to transport cabinets off site to my  show. This means that they must be dried and cured before I could bring them back to you (which could add up to 3 days to the project!) Eliminating the need to transport the project means huge time savings on my end, which translates into cost savings for you.

Good Luck and Happy Painting!
Troy Stevens, Owner – Stelzer Painting Inc.


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