Why You Should Not Paint Cabinet Hardware

Even if you really like your cabinet hardware, you can eventually grow a little tired of it. Or, if you’re refinishing or repainting your cabinets, you might want to freshen up the pulls and knobs. To save money, you may be tempted to paint the hardware instead of buying new. But it’s very likely that you’ll be unhappy with the finished product. Painting hardware isn’t easy, and there are many issues to overcome:

  • Shape: You may be a whiz at painting walls and even furniture, but hardware is typically curved — so it’s more difficult to reach all areas and coat them evenly. Hardware also doesn’t just stand straight up like a wall or table. You have to find some way to prop it up so paint doesn’t run, pool or stick.
  • Size: If you’re used to painting walls, small bits of hardware are a real challenge. The surface area is limited, so it’s tougher to see what you’re doing.
  • Age: If the hardware has been in place a while, it might be tricky to remove with everything intact. Hardware you break or strip will need replacement.
  • Metal: Paint doesn’t stick well to all metal. If you choose to paint, you’ll need to add a priming step.
  • Time: Painting hardware so you’re really pleased with the results is extraordinarily time consuming. You’ll have to carefully sand, clean, prime and use multiple coats of paint.
  • More Time: You have to make sure the paint sets properly, so you won’t be able to reinstall hardware as soon as it’s dry to the touch. It could be bothersome to live without it during this period.
  • Caution: You need to be very careful with the sanding step, or you’ll leave obvious marks that paint won’t cover.
  • Expense: In order to get long-lasting results, you’ll need to use top-of-the-line painting materials. You might not save as much money as you anticipated.
  • Space: On hardware, people typically use spray paint, which contains many chemicals. For safety’s sake, you need to paint and prime in a well-ventilated area. Do you have room for this?

Don’t make assumptions. Before you start painting, check to see how much new hardware actually costs. You can choose from a wide range of styles and prices. Then decide how much your time, effort — and possibly frustration — is worth. You may well decide that replacing hardware is the better option.


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