Should You Ever Paint the Underside of Kitchen Cabinets?

Cabinets are an integral part of any modern kitchen.

You want them to be practical and as aesthetically pleasing as possible.

That’s probably why you are considering adding a layer of fresh paint on them either just outside or both inside and outside as well as underneath.

There are great reasons and benefits to transform the kitchen cabinets into sparky and attractive updated cabinets – whether old or new – that you will absolutely love.

Painting in general can be an affordable makeover project that makes a big difference and may transform your cooking space into a brand new-looking kitchen.

So, Should You Ever Paint The Underside Of Kitchen Cabinets?

Yes, but it depends. Painting both sides of your cabinets comes with numerous benefits. For example, most homeowners would want to transform the rugged woody look into an attractive surface the same color as the exterior of the cabinet. This makes aesthetic sense and can keep the buyer interested if you decide to sell it in the future. On the downside, however, painting the underside can be a nightmare. It normally takes longer than you might think possible. Don’t think it will be simply a matter of extending your arm up there and slapping the surface with the paint. It could literally take forever. Consider the drips, corners run, painting upside down, etc. – multiply this by the number of overhead cabinets you have in your kitchen.

Five Reasons YOU SHOULD NOT Paint the Underside of Your Cabinet

1. Do You Plan To Use White Paint?

Whether you should or shouldn’t can depend on the color of the paint you plan to use.

You should paint the underside with dark colors.

White is especially discouraged. Why?

The cooking area produces significant smoke some of which may end up on the walls and beneath the cabinet.

This can be more problematic if you don’t have a range hood in place.

So, if your overhead cabinets are white, including the underneath, smoke particles will settle there with time and require a fresh paint job sometimes as frequently as annually depending on how bad the situation is.

The main issue here is how the smoke turns the white underneath into an unattractive greyish surface that doesn’t rhyme with the rest of the kitchen’s color schemes and styling.

So, if you are thinking white then you’d rather not paint beneath your cabinets.

2. The Peeling Problem

You don’t want the underneath painted.

If you put a steaming appliance under your cabinets, it will make the paint peel off with time.

Because most of us forget about it and end up placing a crockpot, coffee pot, and even toasters beneath the cabinets, I’d strongly discourage anyone from painting their cabinets underbelly for this reason.

3. Are They Laminate-finished Cabinets?

The laminate finish is valued for its waterproofing properties, thanks to the phenolic resins inside it.

Having a laminate coated cabinet may actually be beneficial for your kitchen experience because, if you have a habit of placing steaming appliances under them, the paint on the surface of the cabinet is less likely to peel off because the laminate finish will repel the moisture.

However, this property is also its biggest flaw when it comes to painting – the laminate finish repels paint just as it does with water.

Even if you choose to use oil-based paint, you are going to have to apply several layers for quite some time for it to stick.

So, if your cabinets are finished with laminate, shelf your painting plans.

4. You Want Nothing To Do With That Messy Job

Painting the underside can be a real hustle. It usually takes longer than you might think possible.

Don’t think it will simply be a matter of extending your arm up there and applying the surface with paint using a paintbrush. It could literally take forever.

Consider the drips, corners, runs, painting upside down, etc. – multiply this by the number of cabinets you have in your kitchen.

Once you are done, you’ll need to clean the drops of paint on the cooktop, countertop, or whatever may be under your cabinets if you don’t cover it.

If you choose to use oil-based paint, you’ll be up to some serious cleaning both on the surfaces below the cabinet and the wall.

The painting process isn’t easy either, you will need to get your priming right, clean the underside properly, get rid of stains and dirt, etc.

5. You Most Likely Need A Professional To Do That

You may save money if you choose to go the DIY route, but will the finished paintwork be worth it?

A professional painter is skillful and experienced in knowing the value of prep and the exact type and number of items that will deliver the best results.

The painter can provide a perfect and quality finish within a reasonable time.

That’s exactly why you should let a qualified professional do the job.

But, would you even be willing to part with all those heft fees just to add some paint under the fixture? Probably not.

Related: Is It Better To Paint Your Home Yourself Or Just Hire Someone To Do It?

Three Reasons You SHOULD Paint The Kitchen Cabinet Underside

Painting the underside may actually be a good thing. Here is why you should go ahead with your painting plans:

1. The Paintwork In The Kitchen Should Be Uniform

It doesn’t make sense to paint the cabinets with your favorite color and leave the underside looking drab and woody.

You want your kitchen to have one or a few color schemes of your likings.

The colorless area underneath the cabinet, however, sort of interrupts the clean look and orderliness of the color.

To keep the paintwork uniform, paint the outside of the cabinet as well as the underside.

2. Do it for beauty reasons

Anyone with wood cabinets can agree with the fact that bare wood doesn’t look great especially when surrounded by excellent paintwork.

Don’t get me wrong, ‘naked’ wood can look nice sometimes, but mostly in the barn – not in the kitchen.

So, if your cabinet is made from wood or any material that you wouldn’t be proud to look at without a coat of paint, consider painting the underbelly with your favorite color (should be the same as that on the rest of the cabinet).

3. The Surface Is Flawed

If the surface of your cabinets, including the underside, is warped, chipped, or has other damages then a paint job won’t work.

In that case, you should be thinking of repairing or adding a new finish instead of a painting.

Many homeowners fail to recognize the futility of adding a layer of paint on flawed cabinet surfaces and often go ahead anyway.

It ends in disappointment nine out of ten times.

Related: How Can You Protect Countertops and Cabinets from Dishwasher Steam?

Summary

Related: Is Under Cabinet Lighting Worth It?

To paint the underside of the cabinet or not to – many homeowners often ponder over this conundrum.

Fortunately, you don’t need to saddle yourself with that messy job, and there are plenty of reasons for that:

  • Are they laminate-finished cabinets? If they are, then you don’t need to.
  • The laminate finish is valued for its waterproofing properties, thanks to the phenolic resins inside it, but this finish repels paint just as it does with water, so you’re going to struggle to get the job done perfectly.
  • Even if you choose to use oil-based paint, you are going to have to apply several layers for quite some time for it to stick.
  • Painting the underside can be a real hustle. It usually takes longer than you might think possible.
  • You don’t want the underneath painted – if you put a steaming appliance under your cabinets, it will make the paint peel off with time.
  • Would you be willing to part with hefty professional fees just hire an expert to add some paint under the fixture? Chances are you need a professional to do it, but it’s not worthwhile.
  • While a professional painter is skillful and experienced in knowing the value of prep and the exact type and number of items that will deliver the best results, you probably don’t need them even if you don’t have the necessary skills needed to do it, all for financial reasons.
  • Painting the underside is probably a good thing to do
  • It doesn’t make sense to paint the cabinets with your favorite color and leave the underside looking drab and woody – you want your entire kitchen to have one or a few color schemes of your likings.
  • The colorless area underneath the cabinet interrupts the clean look and orderliness of the rest of the kitchen’s styling and color schemes.
  • Therefore, to keep the paintwork uniform, paint the outside of the cabinet as well as the underside.
  • Anyone with wood cabinets can agree with the fact that bare wood doesn’t look great especially when surrounded by excellent paintwork, so do it for beauty reasons.
  • If the surface of your cabinets, including the underside, is warped, chipped, or has other damages then a paint job won’t work.
  • Some homeowners fail to recognize the futility of adding a layer of paint on flawed cabinet surfaces and often go ahead anyway.
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