Ask Kylie: Will My Painted Maple Cabinets Really Last?
LONG story short, yes. However, we’re not friends because you enjoy my short stories…
When we bought our home 4 years ago, I knew that the maple cabinets wouldn’t be sticking around for long. They were in great condition, but just weren’t ma’ jam.
And yes, they were wood, which was lover-ly and all, but they weren’t MY type of wood. Also, buddy who owned the house before us thought he was a rocket scientist of engineering and on EVERY DRAWER front, behind the handles, he actually screwed in (with 4 screws each) metal construction plates for an authentic industrial vibe. And while you can’t really see the GLORY of them in this photo, let me tell you that they were good from far, but FAR FROM GOOD!
This meant that removing them (which was happening stat) would leave 4 holes in each drawer front, so regardless, I had some grunt work ahead of me either staining or painting.
And besides, if you’ve been drinkin’ my Koolaid for a while, I have a phrase you’re probably familiar with, so repeat after me,
‘Just because it’s wood, doesn’t mean it’s good’.
And once they were slathered in 3 glorious coats of primer and paint they still WOULD be wood – they just wouldn’t be so darned fugly.
We hired a pro painter to do the job for us (Delea of Details Painting) so that we could have everything properly prepped and sprayed. Because while I’m a fan of painting oak cabinets DIY style – I would never paint maple cabinets myself.
Why? Oak has grain, so it’s more forgiving for brush marks, roller lines, errant hairs – jazz like that (because most homeowners don’t spray). Maple is so damn smooth, there is literally NO room for error as you will see everything, it’s like white spandex.
MAPLE CABINETS MUST BE SPRAYED BY A PROFESSIONAL. For reals.
So, let’s go on a little photo journey together (who’s bringing the wine?).
Again, the kitchen before…I have no words…
And here it is after Delea worked her magic (I might have done a few things as well…)
See the original before and afters here
See how lovely it looked back then?
Well, guess what…it still looks lovely! Yes, there’s the odd tiny chip (not many though) and some very minor wear, but in all, I’m SUPER impressed with how it all looks 2 years later.
The island is virtually flawless and next to the sink cabinet, it gets the most wear and tear. In between bashing the vacuum head into it and going in and out of the various drawers and cupboards (these are high use cupboards) you’d think they’d have taken a beating – and they have. However, there is LITERALLY one…little…spot.
Will Painted Maple or Wood Cabinets Chip?
Yes, they will. But this can be said of ANY painted wood or MDF. The question is ‘how MUCH will they chip?‘
The main cupboard doors are looking great – some very minor wear on a few edges and a few weeee tiny little chips (like where the corner cabinet knob repeatedly hit the cupboard next to it as shown below).
Had I done this myself, I can guarantee they wouldn’t be looking like this. I’d be seeing roller and brush marks everytime light hit them. I’d be seeing bleed-thru where I didn’t clean the wood well enough prior to painting. I’d be seeing chipping, lots of it because undoubtedly, I wouldn’t have sanded and primed things well enough to last the long-term. Painting kitchen cabinets is not a ‘fun little job’. It’s an investment in the aesthetics of your home and should be done to LAST – you get what you pay for (so I highly recommend paying for it)!
Read more: 4 Ways to Update Wood Cabinets
Here’s the cupboard holding our plates and bowls. On the inside edge of the doors, a tiny bit of wear, but really, hardly anything relative to how much these doors are opened and closed.
The sink cabinet (naturally) is the one that shows the most use. And EVEN THEN, pretty damn good. A few chips above the knobs, but in all – FABulous. Why? Because I had a professional do it. Our home is an investment and it is WAY too nice to do things half-
You can see where the door frame meets the panel insert (above). When the cabinets were painted this was sealed up with paint, but naturally, with expansion/contraction, this has opened up. This is normal. I’ve heard of painters putting caulking there, so that when things move, the paint doesn’t, but PERSONALLY, caulking isn’t a tight enough job for me – it would be IMPOSSIBLE to not get big goobers in the corner and nappy edges, especially not on maple where EVERY flaw can potentially be exposed on its smoooooth surface.
1 year ago we ALSO did the bathroom vanity (I say ‘we’ like I actually did something – it was all Delea). And 1 year later it is ACTUALLY flawless.
See the original before and afters here
Long story short…
I’ve seen manufactured cabinets NOT hold up as well as these. I’ve seen brand-new painted maple/MDF cabinets hold up JUST as well. I’ve seen WOOD cabinets look more worn out as doors start to dry out and the stain rubs off (albeit after 3-4 years).
And the REAL question is – would I do it again? Would I paint over solid maple cabinet doors? HELLS YEAH I WOULD!
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