Kitchen Week: How to Paint PVC Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets look like they need an upgrade? Are you going to spend your savings replacing them? It might be better to clean and paint kitchen cabinets instead. This will save you thousands of dollars but will make your PVC cabinets look as good as ever.

PVC is short for polyvinyl chloride. Which is long for high-quality plastic. Great for value and durability, but hard to paint. Normal latex wall paint won’t stick to the PVC surface easily. If it does stick, it will probably scratch off with little trouble. There are special paints made specifically for PVC and other plastics.

Kitchens in Toronto come in all shapes and sizes. You can even paint old kitchen cabinets. You can infuse new life into your kitchen with a little bit of kitchen cabinet painting to add a new burst of color.


Follow our easy steps for how to paint kitchen cabinets made of PVC:


Step 1: Break It Down

  • Take apart the cabinets using a screwdriver – NOT a hammer. You have to put it back together again after!
  • Take a picture of how the cabinets and drawers looked before you started removing screws. This will help later on, if you have difficulty putting them back together.
  • Keep screws and hardware together. If possible, tape them together and stick them to the inside or underside of a piece that isn’t being painted, so you don’t lose them.
  • Remove as many doors, knobs, and drawers as possible. This will make painting a lot easier.


Step 2: Clean the Cabinet Surfaces

  • IMG_9184-1Clean out all dirt and oils from the surface of the cabinet pieces.
  • Wipe them down with a clean damp cloth. Soak the cloth in a mixture of warm water and dish detergent, or use trisodium phosphate (TSP) if they have excessive grease and grime on them. This is a heavy-duty cleaner that you can find at Home Depot or any other hardware store.
  • Dry the washed pieces thoroughly. I’ve written before about the dangers of letting moisture sit.


Step 3: Scuff Sand Surfaces

  • IMG_9461-1Scuff-sand any finished cabinet surfaces. Use a very fine sandpaper – 220 grit if you can find it.
  • Sanding will make the plastic surface more textured. This helps the paint stick to the PVC cabinet better.
  • Clean the cabinet pieces again to remove loose fragments that may still be on the surface from sanding your kitchen cabinets.




Step 4: Apply Primer

  • IMG_9176-1There are several primers you can use on PVC, but oil-based primers are the safest bet. I like to use Kilz low-odour oil primer. For latex primers, Benjamin Moore has a good latex based primer called Stix, which will work to prime kitchen cabinets as well.
  • Spread a thin coat of primer on the PVC cabinet surfaces. Use a natural bristle paintbrush for this, or a sponge roller works as well.  Check out our blog choosing the right brush.
  • Allow the cabinet pieces to dry for an hour or two.
  • Apply a second coat of primer using a foam brush. Apply with long even strokes.
  • Leave the primer to dry for at least half a day or more.


Step 5: Time to Paint Cabinets!

  • IMG_9468-1Choose a durable acrylic latex paint in your preferred colour. Use a foam brush or roller, and follow all our tips for painting evenly.
  • Even with priming, you might need a second coat. This depends on the original color of the kitchen cabinets, and the new colour you are painting the cabinet doors.
  • Kitchen cabinets are often sprayed rather than painted with a brush or roller. See our video on “How to Spray Paint your Kitchen cabinets” for details.


Step 6: Apply a Clear Coat if Necessary

  • Are you hard on your cabinets? If you know that your cabinets go through a lot of wear and tear, take the extra step to protect the surfaces.
  • Apply a thin coat of clear polyurethane varnish to the PVC cabinet surfaces. Use a clean cloth.



Step 7: Rebuild

  • Reattach all the pieces you took out with a screwdriver. Use the pictures you took earlier to help.
  • Make sure they are completely dry before re-attaching.







See?  Wasn’t that a lot easier than it seemed? With these useful little tips, you’ll be able to save both time and money by painting your PVC kitchen cabinets on your own. Want to see more? There are even MORE pictures of the whole kitchen cabinet painting process in our Pinterest gallery!

Of course, you may not have the time to do it yourself. If that’s the case, why not give us a call? Home Painters Toronto with over 25 years of experience in kitchen renovations, call us NOW at 416.494.9095, or email us at to get a FREE estimate for your house renovation or touch up project.

From The Owner & Founder


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I’m both deeply honoured and flattered you are considering using our services.

Since 1987 when I was at York University simply earning my way through school, I’ve had the privilege to meet and work with thousands of amazing homeowners like yourself.

Besides the birth of my daughter, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a homeowner’s life change when we have transformed their dream home into a masterpiece. For that reason, we take our jobs very seriously and are committed to our cause.

At Home Painters our mission is to paint homeowners’ dreams, and make your painting experience last a lifetime!
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