How to Paint Your RV Cabinets

RV cabinets
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If your RV was manufactured in the late 1980s or early 1990s, you’re probably quite familiar with honey oak cabinets, lots of wood paneling, and even brass-accented hardware. While that style may have been attractive back then, it comes across as dated now. But is there a way to affordably update your RV’s kitchen to a more modern look?

Yes, there is! In fact, one of the easiest ways to breathe new life into a dated RV kitchen is to paint the cabinets. Here are the basic steps to follow:

  1. Unscrew hinges and clasps to remove the doors and drawer fronts from the cabinets. Label each piece with painter’s tape and write where the door belongs (e.g. left door, over microwave).
  2. Remove every piece of hardware from the doors. This includes hinges, handles, and knobs.
  3. Lay the doors out on a drop cloth in a well-ventilated area. Remove the tape marking each door and place it on the drop cloth near each piece so you can keep track of where the doors belong as you paint.
  4. Prep the doors. This step is incredibly important. It can be the most time-consuming part of the project, but how you prep the cabinets will affect how long the paint lasts. To begin, use wood filler to fill any holes or chips in the doors (if necessary) and use glue to fix any imperfections, such as peeling laminate or veneer. Next, you’ll want to sand the doors and/or use a stripping agent to remove gloss finishes to rough up the surfaces a bit. If you choose sanding, be sure to wipe all sanded surfaces with a damp cloth to remove leftover dust.
  5. Apply a primer. An oil-based primer may be best, though it will be thick and require plenty of ventilation during application. You might find it helpful to use a small brush when painting any details or crevices of the cabinet doors and then a small foam roller to finish with broad, smooth strokes. Allow the primer to dry fully.
  6. Apply paint. As with priming, use a small brush for details and a small foam roller for larger, wider applications of paint. Choose an oil-based paint to ensure the most durable, long-lasting results. Allow the paint to dry entirely between applications. You’ll want to complete steps #4, #5, and #6 for the shell of the cabinets as well.
  7. Spray paint hinges, screws, and any other hardware with a single color.
  8. Add handles and pulls and hang doors.

Painting your RV cabinets can be an intensive process, but the result can be worth all the elbow grease in the end. For the minimal cost of sand paper, primer, paint, spray paint, and new hardware, you can easily and affordably transform your RV kitchen into a space that you’ll love to be in.

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