DIY cabinet painting VS hiring a paint contractor

DIY cabinet painting VS hiring a paint contractor

Are you looking into painting kitchen cabinets? Is your handyman persona deciding if you should do it yourself or hire a cabinet painter? Are you not sure of the costs to paint cabinets? Welcome to the club!

We get about 5-10 requests per week about the cost to paint cabinets. We are working to get a price calculator build, but it is a process. I recently had the opportunity to provide an estimate to a customer for painting kitchen cabinets. The customer decided that the cost for professional cabinet painting was too expensive and they would do it themselves.

painting kitchen cabinets - cabinet refinishing
professional cabinet painting

We are not a fit for everyone… we do not sell every job we go on.

One of the things we like to make sure of is that when you’re doing it yourself, that you can see our videos on our YouTube channel or read our kitchen cabinet painting blog posts to see how we do it, so the process is similar and the results are good!

How Long will it take to have my kitchen cabinets painted

You can figure your most kitchens to take about 3-5 to paint. When we are bidding, we start out with 90 minutes per door, on the low end, to clean, sand, prime and paint a cabinet door. With the help of a spray booth, sprayers, power sanders with dustless attachments to help us be more efficient.

For this particular kitchen, we estimated a time frame of 4 days to have the doors and drawers removed, cabinets cleaned, kitchen masked, sanded, all items sprayed and re-installed. There were about 33 pieces total of different sizes we had to paint.

How much does it cost to paint kitchen cabinets?

We will keep on the theme of using this estimate so you can get a consistent understanding of our reference. This kitchen we estimated was $5,324 for all labor and materials. Again this kitchen was about 33 pieces we were working on.

How much are materials to paint cabinets?

The kitchen we are discussing, again had about 33 pieces. so our material list was:

  • cleaner
  • rags
  • drop cloths
  • sprayer with 5 and 3 needle set
  • strainer
  • masks
  • masking tape
  • maker to mark each piece
  • fan for exhaust
  • air cleaner/filter
  • razor/scrapers to remove old bumpers
  • wood filler for old handles and dowel rods
  • sand paper, 320 and 220
  • sanding blocks for hand sanded areas
  • power sander and vac
  • 12 ft. painters plastic
  • 6 extension poles to make temp wall
  • rosin paper to cover floors
  • bonding paper
  • cabinet paint-

Some of these items we buy in bulk and save money by doing so, some are just averaged in to the cost over the life of a given tool, and some are for each job such as primer/paint. For this kitchen we were at about $810.00.

What is the cost difference to paint cabinets myself?

So here was the feedback from a customer that did not. hire us to paint their cabinets. The home owners decided to take a week off work and paint their cabinets themselves. They are happy with the results- but here is the time it took them.

For the island:

  • sept 6th – 3.5 hours
  • sept 7th – 3 hours
  • sept 8th – 3 hours
  • sept 9th – 6 hours
  • sept 10th – 5 hours
  • sept 12 – 6.5 hours

Total=27 hours

For the main cabinets:

  • sept 13 – 3 hours
  • sept 14 – 6 hours
  • sept 15 – 4 hours
  • sept 16 – 1 hours
  • sept 17 – 3 hours
  • sept 19 – 2 hours
  • sept 20 – 2 hours
  • sept 21 – 2 hours
  • sept 22 – 2 hours
  • sept 26 – 4 hours
  • sept 27 – 4 hours
  • sept 28 – 4 hours

Total=37 hours

“I stopped keeping track…Started Sept 6th, finished Oct 12th. Took a lot longer to get technique and flow going, issues with daycare and when I could or could not do it due to family issues. Messed up a few pieces to redo. It was more tiring than I thought, the week was not long enough. Between work, family and keeping up with the house and everyone else- there just was not enough time! We would hire someone else next time”

The real cost of DIY cabinet painting

So what do you think the cost is?? I don’t have hard numbers for you on money saved. I have the cost we provided and time it takes us to do the job, which was above vs the time it took a home owner to do it.

For me, I’m not having a kitchen tore up for over 5 weeks while it’s being painted. (my wife would really not be a fan of that!) This is just feedback from one person- it does not mean that you will have the same issues or take as long with DIY kitchen cabinet painting.

So the $5,000 and 4 days for a professional vs $1000 and over a month to do it yourself?

If you have questions about cabinet painting, let us know. We are here to help! Even if you decide to paint your cabinets yourself, we just want to help you love the space you’re in!


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