Rachel Baldwin

Interior Cabinet Painting

Rachel Baldwin
Interior Cabinet Painting

The month of October has flown by.  

Actually, I bet if I looked at previous posts, they all start with some version of that statement.  This year is beginning to feel like it's moving at 2x speed.  Our goal is still to leave in early May and that means our hit the road date is 6 months away and that is a super daunting thought.  The roof leak repairs and ceiling replacement ate up so much of the summer that now we're moving as quickly as we can to wrap up our projects before the snow comes.  Here in Indiana that will likely be in mid-December.  

So October was a paint splattered month.  I literally had white paint in my hair for about three weeks.  We painted the walls in every area of the RV and then we removed all the cabinets and drawers and painted those as well.  The paint sprayer is a miracle tool.  It made the project so much simpler.  This is where I have to give due credit.  Alex has been crushing this paint project.  He painted the bedroom by himself and all of the cabinets and drawers as well.  I would come home from work to find that he had completed all of our tasks and was working on the next step.   I think he: 1. really loves using the paint sprayer (reminds him of his youthful graffiti days) and 2. works better and faster when a deadline is looming.

To paint the cabinets and drawers, I labeled every cabinet with a number so we could remember where the doors belonged. and then took the doors off the cabinets.  I saved every hinge and handle but in the end we bought new ones anyway.  I really debated how much prep to do to the cabinets before painting.  I've painted plenty of walls without problems but I know cabinets are trickier.  In the end, I opted to take the half-lazy route.  I did wipe down everything with acetone to remove the layers of grime.  This was particularly noticeable on the kitchen doors where years of cooking grease had left a thin layer on some of the doors.  I wiped the cabinets bases, the doors and the interior shelves.  I used acetone (you know, like the shit they put in nail polish remover) based on another blogger's advice.  Not my most well-researched decision but it did seem to work well and certainly stripped off the dirt and grease.  I wore gloves and a mask and still had to take breaks and pop my head out in the fresh air every few minutes.  

I decided not to sand anything.  That's one of those decisions that may come back to bite me in a few months but at the time, I just couldn't imagine more days of sanding cabinets.  So we then laid out the acetone-cleaned, but unsanded doors and drawers in the sunshine to get spray painted.  Well, actually we sprayed the first coat in the living room of the RV but the space was cramped and we worried about getting extra overspray on the walls so we took the project outdoors.  So we placed them on a tarp in the backyard and sprayed them.  I think Alex did at least three coats.  Word to the wise-maybe don't do this job in the fall under a tree that's shedding its leaves.  We picked quite a few leaves out of the drying paint and will probably have leaf imprints permanently on many of the doors.  

We left the doors out in the yard all week.  We covered them with a tarp at night just in case there was any dew or even frost overnight.  Then Alex would wake up, remove the tarp and spray another coat.  After three coats on both sides, we were ready to re-install.  

Oh, oh, I forgot to mention that we ordered all new hardware.  We checked out quite a few options and ultimately chose the easy and relatively cheap route of ordering in bulk from Amazon.  New hinges and new handles in oil-rubbed bronze.  

We created a little assembly line of me screwing in the new hinges and door handles and then Alex rehanging the cabinet doors.  We quickly learned that I did not know which direction hinges are supposed to be attached to the doors.  But after correcting about 12 hinges, I don't think I'll forget again.  

That evening we rehung about 6 doors and we're really pleased so far.  I think the only change I would make is we should have let the doors dry just a little more.  No, not 'dry'-wrong word.  They were all dry but the paint hadn't cured.  I learned that paint can dry in hours but curing can take days and sometimes weeks longer.  Since the paint hasn't completely cured, the doors are easily nicked up and if you let the doors touch anything or lean on anything, the paint can peel off or stick.  

Today, we'll finish re-hanging all of the cabinets doors, putting in the drawers and miscellaneous items we painted.  We'll buy another gallon of primer and spray down the plywood sub-floor.  In the upcoming week we'll lay the peel and stick vinyl floors.

So at this moment I'm just drinking my coffee and waiting for Alex to wake up so we can get started.  He worked last night.  Two jobs ...he's DJ for the Indiana Fuel Hockey team and they had a game last night and then he had to rush off to DJ at a club in downtown Indy.  That's pretty typical during hockey season-he'll work the game and then do a second show at a club in the evening.   

We'll likely get the cabinets and drawers reinstalled and then we'll start thinking about flooring.  It's all getting so real!

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