Cost to Paint Kitchen Cabinets White (DIY or Hire a Painter)

If you’re lucky enough to be a homeowner, you will have plenty of tough decisions. Many of these decisions will revolve around making home renovations, specifically to your kitchen. Because of how popular it is to have well-lit, bright kitchens, many people are considering painting their kitchen cabinets white. 

The cost to paint your kitchen cabinets white costs an average of $500 to $10,000, depending on several factors. The main thing determining whether you spend a small fortune on your painting project is if you do the job yourself or hire a pro. While that’s the main factor, several other things will determine the cost of your project. 

While painting your kitchen cabinets white is one of the best ways to liven your kitchen, it can also be one of the most expensive. Knowing your budget and sticking to it is important because you probably have other remodeling projects planned. In this article, we’ll look at how to save money and how much to budget for your cabinet project. 

What is the Cost to Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets White? 

The average cost of painting your kitchen cabinets white depends on several factors. The biggest one, however, is who will be doing the painting. Repainting your kitchen cabinets yourself is much cheaper than hiring a pro. However, if you don’t have any painting experience, you might end up doing more harm to your cabinets than good. 

Your kitchen is one of your home’s most valuable and important rooms. Messing up the cabinets when you’re trying to improve them will result in one of two things. Either it will drive the value of your home down, or you’ll have to invest in new cabinets to replace the ones you just ruined. 

If this is the case, attempting to paint your kitchen cabinets won’t pay off in the long run. 

Factors That Affect Cost of Painting Your Cabinets White

If you don’t have much experience with home improvement projects, you’re probably wondering why a cabinet repaint is so expensive on earth. Here are some main factors in how professional paint companies charge for cabinet painting jobs. Knowing how painting contractors charge will help you know the main areas you can save money.  

Painting Method 

Whether you hire a pro or do the job yourself, your painting method will play a factor in the total cost of your project. In general, you have two painting options: 

Spray Painting 

Using a paint sprayer is faster and more efficient than painting by hand. If you’re doing the work yourself, however, you’ll have the additional cost of buying or renting a sprayer which could add several hundred dollars to your project. There’s also a bit of a learning curve with spray painting which could offset the time you save by using a sprayer. 

When you use it correctly, a spray painter will make for a smoother paint job and the best finish. It’s the preferred method by professionals, but they charge a hefty fee for it. 

Brush Painting 

If you’re uncomfortable using a sprayer or don’t want to splurge on renting one, your other option is to use a brush or roller. A paint roller will cover more cabinet surfaces than a brush, but it won’t be able to get to all the corners and crevices. For that reason, it’s best to use a brush and a roller if you plan to paint your cabinets by hand. 

Brush painting takes longer than spray painting, but it might be the right choice for your kitchen cabinet painting project if you’re not an experienced painter. The only downside is the risk of showing brush strokes if you rush things. Professionals who paint by hand will charge more for labor costs than spray painters. 

Type of Paint You Use

The type of cabinet paint you use for your DIY project will greatly impact the overall cost. If you’re doing the job yourself, paint and primer will be the main factors that determine how much you spend. It’s important to choose high-quality paint if you want to breathe new life into your new white kitchen cabinets successfully. 

There’s a wide price disparity when it comes to kitchen cabinet paints. The best paint can cost up to $50 per gallon, while cheaper paints can cost as little as $15 or $20 per gallon. If you need 10 gallons of paint and opt for a high-quality variety, you’re looking at $500 in paint alone. However, the best way to ensure a quality end product is to splurge on good paint at the beginning.  

If you hire a pro to do your painting for you, these costs will be even higher. You’ll get charged the cost of the gallon of paint, plus a slight upcharge. It’s like having a mechanic buy a car part for you and install it. You pay the cost of the part, plus a “convenience fee” for buying it from the mechanic. 

Material Costs 

While paint and primer are the most expensive materials you’ll purchase, they aren’t the only things you’ll need. Here are some things you’ll need to add to your shopping list if you’re painting your cabinets. 

  • Painters tape – $5 per roll 
  • Paint rollers – $5 to $15 per roller 
  • Paint brushes – $3 to $10 per brush 
  • Type of paint – latex paints and matte paints don’t cost as much as oil-based paints, but they aren’t as good either 
  • Plastic wrap and cardboard to protect your kitchen appliances and floors – $20 to $50
  • Putty knife – $$5 to $10

Number of Cabinets 

The number of cabinets will determine how long the job takes and how much paint you need. Larger kitchens can cost double or triple what small kitchens do, especially when you hire a pro. When you do the job yourself, you can mitigate some of the cost using less paint and primer, but not so much that the cabinets don’t look good. 

Current Condition of the Cabinets 

If you have old cabinets that are beat up, it will be more expensive to paint them white. The higher cost is for the additional prep work it will take to get your cabinets into paintable condition. Scratches, cracks, and similar defects must get repaired before you can paint over them. This means more time for sanding and spackling and the materials involved. 

Size of Your Kitchen 

Larger kitchens will have more cabinets, so they’ll cost more to paint white. Additionally, the bigger your kitchen is, the more prep work and safety measures there will be involved. It will take your painting company longer to prepare and finish the job than with small kitchens. 

What Color You’re Changing From 

If you’re going from dark colors to white, you’ll need more coats of paint than going from light colors to white. Using more paint will drive up the project’s overall cost, but it might be necessary depending on the color of your old paint. 

Additionally, you’ll need to use more coats of paint if you’re painting oak cabinets or maple cabinets white. Additional sanding and prep work will also be involved with unpainted wood cabinets. 

Complexity 

The more difficult and timely your project is, the higher the labor cost. Basic, plain cabinets don’t take nearly as long to paint as custom ones with lots of nooks and crannies. The more complicated your cabinets are, the more time it will take professional painters to paint them.

Additional Costs to Consider 

In addition to these costs you’ll always incur, there are a few additional ones to consider. 

Appliance Removal 

Depending on how old you are or what physical condition you’re in, you might need to hire a professional service to remove your appliances. This will typically involve plumbers and electricians disconnecting your dishwasher, stove plumbing, and electrical lines. 

If you hire a professional painting service, they might be able to navigate around appliances without you having to remove them. If they can’t, however, you’ll have to remove them yourself or hire someone to do it for you. Most painters won’t go near electrical, water, and gas connections. 

Adding Protection 

Unless you plan to remodel your entire kitchen from the floors to the ceiling, you’ll want to cover them with protective cardboard or plastic. The time and material necessary to do this aren’t overwhelming, but it could add several hundred dollars to your project. 

If you decide not to do the job yourself and hire a professional company, they likely won’t charge for the materials they use, but they will charge for the time it takes. 

Costs Involved With Painting Your Kitchen Cabinets 

Depending on who you hire to do your painting, they’ll charge by the hour or per linear foot. While the individual costs might vary, they will always be higher if you have a large kitchen with lots of cabinets and far less if you have a small kitchen.  

As a rule of thumb, a painting contractor will charge around $90 per hour to paint kitchen cabinets. If they charge per square foot, the average is anywhere from $5 to $10 per square foot. So, if you have 200 square feet of cabinets and your painter charges $10 per foot, you’re looking at a bill of $2,000.  

Cost per Cabinet Doors and Drawer Faces 

Because cabinet doors and drawer faces aren’t as big as the body of the cabinets, you would think that they don’t cost very much to paint. However, because of the complexity and tediousness involved with painting these components, painters will usually charge a flat rate that reflects the time and paint required to finish the job. 

On average, you can expect to pay between $50 and $100 per cabinet door and $20 to $50 per drawer face. These prices vary according to the size of the cabinets and how difficult they are to paint.  

Cabinet Boxes 

The cabinet boxes are much quicker and easier to paint. Depending on who you hire, they will either charge a flat rate for the box or charge per linear foot. 

Tips on How to Save Money on Your Painting Project 

The best way to save money on your painting project is to do the work yourself. Painting your kitchen cabinets white yourself will save thousands of dollars and could take the overall cost from $4,000 to $10,000, down to $500 to $1,000. If you plan to do the work yourself, here are a few tips and tricks to save money. 

  • Take an accurate calculation as to how much paint you’ll need. It’s always better to purchase less paint than too much because you can always go back to the store and buy more. 
  • See several companies offering free estimates to know how much money you’ll be saving. It will also help you shop for the best rate if you decide to hire someone. 
  • Rather than buying plastic and cardboard to protect your floors and appliances, you can use old rags, towels, and tarps lying around the house. 
  • Use your own tape if you have any rather than buying special painter’s tape. 
  • While choosing high-quality paint is important, it’s more important that you don’t go broke. Buy a paint that’s a happy medium rather than the most expensive option available. 
  • If you hire a pro, remove your own appliances, cabinet doors, and hardware, and cover your floors to save some money on labor costs. 

Related Questions 

Is it cheaper to paint or replace my kitchen cabinets? 

While painting your kitchen cabinets white is expensive, it’s much cheaper than replacing them. Installing new cabinets in your kitchen can cost up to $30,000, depending on how many cabinets you need and the quality of the cabinets. Repainting, at most, should cost more than several thousand dollars when you do the work yourself. 

Can I paint my kitchen cabinets white by myself? 

As long as you take your time and do the job right and add as many coats as necessary, you can paint your own kitchen cabinets. You’ll save a ton of money and gain valuable experience. 

Is it worth it to paint your kitchen cabinets white? 

If you want to give your kitchen a new look and increase the resale value, adding a fresh coat of paint is the best way to do it. It costs less than other more extreme measures and will get the job done of improving your kitchen. 

Final Thoughts 

In terms of how much money painting kitchen cabinets white will cost, it’s much cheaper to do the work yourself. You can save thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars if you do all or some of the work yourself. However, it’s only worth your time and labor if you do the job correctly and use the right paint and primer. Otherwise, you’ll be doing more harm than good. 

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
DISCLAIMER: The content published on HomeInspectionInsider.com is not professional advice. You should consult with a licensed professional and check local permit requirements before starting any project.
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