Cabinet Painting Quotes: 9 Questions to Ask.

Jul 17, 2023

9 Questions to Ask Your Cabinet Painter before you Hire Them


Here at Distinctively Paint, we believe in abundance.  While we’d love it if we could work with everyone and have everyone choose to work with us to paint your cabinets, we understand that there are other options out there and we may not be the right fit.  Perhaps we didn’t fit your budget, or perhaps we don’t have your requested time available.  Either way, once you’ve entered our world, we consider it our responsibility to do everything we can to provide you with a great final outcome.  If you’re exploring other companies, we want to make sure you have the tools in hand to make the best possible decision.

Here are some questions to ask when interviewing cabinet painters.

Are the products you use KCMA approved?

KCMA is the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturer Association – they test and approve cabinet manufacturers and suppliers.  Their process for testing and approving cabinet coatings is extensive.  They will put vinegar, oil, wine etc on the surface to see how long it takes to leave a stain. They expose the coatings to heat and cold to see how long or at what temperatures the coating will be affected.  They test for scuff resistance to see how many swipes it would take to burnish the coating. 

Once satisfied that the product passes their tests, they give the product the KCMA stamp of approval.  Paint suppliers take this approval so seriously they include this information on their technical data sheets. 

They test products far more extensively than any painter could.  The only time it would be advisable to use a product that is not KCMA approved is where a brush and roll application is required.  The vast majority of KCMA approved products are spray only as that is the preferred finish for cabinetry.

Is the product low VOC and low HAP?

VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compounds. 

HAP stands for Hazardous Air Pollutants

Both refer to off gassing and the pollutants that continue to emit from paint and other products.  These are often confused with smell of paint – and whether the product is water or solvent based.  The fact is solvent based products can be low VOC/ HAP while water-based products can be high.  So, the smell of a product isn’t a proper indicator.  One must check the technical data sheets to know for sure. 

Do they have a proper certified spray booth?

A good cabinet painting company should be doing your doors in a professional spray booth with proper air movement/ filtering.  This is for a variety of reasons.  While the on-site cabinet boxes must be sprayed without the benefit of a spray booth, the fact that these surfaces are vertical and it’s likely that the area is clean and relatively dust free, you can still get an acceptable finish. 

Doors in a booth are, more often than not, sprayed flat and at risk of dust settling into the surface.  Add that the area – if not in a spray booth, has developed a layer of dust from repeated spray work that will kick up with the air movement from the sprayer.  It’s incredibly difficult to do repeated spray in a garage or shop and expect to achieve a dust free finish without the use of a certified spray booth.

How often do they paint cabinets? (or how many do they do a year?)

Choose a company that specializes in cabinet painting rather than one that has it as an added service that they do from time to time. Cabinet painting requires a very specific process. 

What do they do about silicone?

Very Important!! Ask them how they handle silicone.  The complete removal of any silicone touching the wood to be painted is critical to the final quality of the project. It’s a pain and time consuming so it’s a step that many companies skip and then try to touch up afterwards.  Paint, lacquer and other coatings simply will not stick to silicone.  It’s imperative that it is completely removed prior to coating the cabinets.

What are the prep steps involved in painting cabinets?

Ask them what their prepping process is.  It should be extensive and involve multiple steps.  As a reference, we take and entire day for 2 people to prepare an average kitchen for painting.

How long is the warranty and what does it cover?

Ask if they offer a warranty and what it covers. We offer a 3 year warranty on product and workmanship but in reality, you should expect a minimum of 10 years before possibly requiring any touch ups with normal wear and tear, and low traffic areas should see much longer than that.

You’ll find lots of variations on warranties, from 2 to 15 plus years.  Ask lots of questions.  Typically, longer warranties have greater restrictions on what is covered.  As a general rule, if a product is going to fail, it will happen in the first year or less.  Some warranties will cover peeling but not chipping or vice versa.  Its more important to know what is covered vs the length of time.  If common issues aren’t covered, it won’t matter how long the warranty is good for.

Is the quote provided the final price?

Ensure the written quote is the final price, no up charges, no hidden costs.  If the scope of the job changes with your approval, ensure you get a new written quote that reflects the changes and what you are expected to pay for them.  If the job was underquoted or something was missed in the normal scope of the job, that is on them.  You should not be expected to pay for their mistakes.

How many references can they provide?

Ask for multiple references – more than 3.  Anyone can come up with three friends to vouch for them.  A good long list where you can randomly pick someone to call is preferable.  When calling references, the best question to ask is, ‘Would the kitchen pass for new?’. 

I hope this was helpful. Please feel free to reach out with any questions you might have. We are always willing to help!

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