Cabinet painting is a cost-effective way to update your cabinetry and enhance the look of your kitchen. DIYers can tackle this project, but there are some common mistakes that can make your new-kitchen dreams turn into a DIY disaster. Here are some common cabinet refinishing mistakes:

Rushing it.

This is a big job. For an average kitchen, expect to spend at least two full weekends working on it, if not three. If you rush it by skipping any of the steps, cutting corners when removing the old finish or not being careful when re-painting the cabinets, your results could look sloppy and will not last before needing to be refinished again.

Lazy clean up.

The first thing you should do is scrub down all the cabinet doors, drawer fronts and panels with a grease remover. Even though you can’t see it, your cabinets will have grease and grime on them that will affect the finish. In short, the paint won’t stick to a door that’s covered in oil. Learn how to clean kitchen cabinets.

It’s also important to clean all the dust off the cabinets after you sand down the finish. Not doing so will give it a gritty finish and it will have to be repainted.

Not removing the doors first.

It might seem like a no brainer to most, but a common DIY mistake is leaving the doors and drawer fronts on the cabinet boxes while painting them. Any experienced painter that offers cabinet painting would advise that all doors, drawers and hardware come off to be painted. You will have to do so many touch ups afterwards, or even paint them a second time entirely, that any time saved by not removing the doors is just not worth it.

Not sanding down the old finish.

Even if your old cabinets look like they’re in perfect condition, you need to sand them or else the new paint or stain will not stick to the surface. You don’t have to worry about sanding them down to the wood, but they must be roughed-up enough to get the new coat to stick.

Cheaping out on paint and primer.

Use a high-quality primer, or a paint that has primer in it. Do not choose the cheapest paint in the store. Good paint will give you a smoother finish and you’ll likely need less coats. Quality paints give learning DIYers a little more grace and are easier to use.

“If you’ve decided its time to paint your cabinets, you can either do it yourself (DIY) or hire a professional. Consider getting an estimate from a professional and getting the job done right the first time.” States Todd Lacroix of Platinum Pro Painters Inc.