How Much Does It Cost to Paint Cabinets

One question we are asked several times a week is how much does it cost to paint cabinets?

Painting cabinets are the most effective ways to renovate your kitchen space. However, making sure that it is done the right way with the right products is the key to enjoying the look of painted cabinets.

How do you determine the cost of painting kitchen cabinets?

There are several factors when we price out cabinet painting.

  • What type of cabinets do you have? (solid wood oak or maple, veneer plywood, MDF?)
  • Have the cabinets been painted already?
  • Are the cabinets stained?
  • Are you removing hardware?
  • Is there any water damaged cabinets?
  • Do you want a solid color paint or are you looking to have them glazed?

Each of these questions affects the price of the cabinet painting job.

So, how much does it cost to paint cabinets? We start out at about $105.00 per door/box set. A door/box set consists of both sides of the door and the frame on the cabinet. The cost of drawers is about $45.00.  The cost can increase to about $150.00 per door/box set depending on the questions above.

What is the process you use to paint cabinets?

We recently posted a few small videos on YouTube about the painting process of cabinets. It is a good introduction to the process we use.

  • We start with cleaning. Cabinets gets cleaned with a de-greasing agent
  • Each cabinet is sanded to scuff the surface in preparation for the primer
  • Rubber gloves are used at all times when cleaning and painting
  • The cabinets are wiped clean before the primer is applied
  • Primer is sprayed on, allowed to dry, then we sand it to remove any uneven areas
  • Finally, we paint!

What products do you use to paint cabinets?

One of our products of choice for priming are Duralac white vinyl primer or the same type made by ML Campbell, but we have really taken a liking to Stix bonding primer. They are heavy bodied and have some of the best adhesion properties. When we are painting Oak doors, two coats of these primers will fill in quite a bit of the oak grain.  Once we paint, we use ML Campbell Aqualante, Chem Aqua, or Sherwood paint. This paint is a true cabinet grade paint hybrid lacquer. It dries ultra smooth and hard. It resists stains, it touches up well, and it is water clean up. There is some smell but what paint doesn’t?

Damaged Cabinet doors?

If any of your doors or drawers have water damage we have some extra work to do.

  • MDF doors with water damage are difficult to repair. MDF swells once water is introduced. It swells like a sponge but does not go down again. The area must be sanded smooth to the existing door surface. We then use a shellac based primer or problem surface sealer which will seal the damaged area from further damage.  If a filler is needed we use glazing putty to make smooth. Then we are ready to prime and paint.
  • Doors that are cracked, broken, or other wood damage are repaired using wood glues, putty or other fillers or repair materials.

Other ways to improve the look of your kitchen

Hardware!! Aside from new paint, new hardware is the last factor you need to consider. If there was no hardware previously, we need to drill holes to mount them. That adds about $7.00 per door.

A few other things you can do:

  • Changing out your hinges to a soft close style…pretty cool!
  • Change out your counter tops
  • Add or update your backsplash
  • New appliances
  • New sink/plumbing fixtures

That, in a nutshell, is a basic course on how much it will cost to paint cabinets. It is a lot to take in and digest, so if you want a quick ballpark figure, text us some pics of your cabinets to 847-553-1726 and we can give you an idea of what to expect. If you have any other questions, give us a call!

dfranco dollars - painting referral program
Here is 1 of our D’franco $100 referral vouchers!

Where can I buy custom wallpaper murals?

Custom wallpaper murals!  Now that you see them, where do you buy them?

As we have been installing wallpaper murals, we share the results on our social media outlets such as LinkedIn, Google My Business (Google Maps) and Facebook. With all of these posts we also have been asked “where can I buy custom wallpaper murals?”

Well here are the top 3 that I know of.

Buying wallpaper murals

This company is based in the USA. We have done a blog post before (How to buy a custom mural) about knowing where the wallpaper is coming from or what products are used to make the wallpaper.  I would read that blog as well so you have an idea of how and the questions you need to have answers for before you buy.

digital wall mural - story mural
health care story mural

The one constant question is “how big?” No matter who you call, that is the question you will be asked.  Size matters!

  • The bigger the wall, the bigger the file size you’ll need
  • File size refers to the image you are wanting to have a wallpaper mural made of
  • The larger the file the better the quality of the wallpaper mural
  • Poor images or low file size results in the mural to be very pixelated or blurry. It will look like the digi camo the military guys are wearing.
commercial wallpaper mural - custom wall murals
here is a custom graphic or mural used in a business

Another consideration is what kind of wallpaper? Self stick or traditional paste the paper wallpaper?

  • Self stick is where the wallpaper, usually some type of vinyl, has some type of adhesive already applied to the wallpaper. No need to apply wallpaper paste.
  • Traditional paste the paper has nothing on the back of the wallpaper. You will have to have the adhesive and apply it to the wallpaper before applying it to the wall.

What is better? Self stick or paste the paper?

I can’t say one is better than the other. They are just different.  Self stick is becoming more popular for sure. We have found that self stick can be very difficult to work with. Think of it like contact paper to some extent. If it sticks to itself it may not come apart. One other factor is the thickness of the self stick. It is sold or made by the mil – that is how thick the materials are. You will also see this reference when you buy trash bags or plastic. When the mil is a higher number it means it’s a thicker material. These thicker materials are also easier to install (usually).

peel and stick wallpaper - custom wallpaper murals
peel and stick wallpaper

Pasting paper also comes in different thickness, but more times than not, we don’t know how thick it is.  Commercial wallpaper will be labeled type I, II, III, and like the vinyl, the higher the number the thicker the paper. (even though commercial wallpaper is actually vinyl! Confused? Join the club.)  The wallpaper we receive to install varies from tissue paper consistency to heavy paper the thickness of a cereal box.

wallpaper mural - heavy duty wallpaper
heavy duty wallpaper mural

As you are applying the paste to the paper you need room. We use special wallpaper pasting tables. These tables are about 3×6 feet.   These papers also need time to absorb the adhesive which is called the booking time.

installing wallpaper murals
this was one of the type III murals we installed

Each of these materials have there benefits and their drawbacks. Either way, calling a wallpaper installer to help with more detailed answers is always a safe bet.

3 Companies that you can buy custom wallpaper murals from

Murals your way is one company that can make murals to fit the size of the mural you want.  When you call them at 888-558-0279, you get prompted to choose residential or commercial.  After that every time I have called I have  received a person to talk to. We have installed both their self stick and paste the paper products. Both have been very easy and seamless to install.  They have excellent customer service and support if something is wrong. Go to their website and sign up for their newsletter they are always helping you with ideas and will send out 30% saving codes here and there. is another US-based company. We reached them at 877-448-7295 and we have received voicemail and a live operator.  We’re in the process of installing one of their self stick products here in a few weeks but we have not installed any of their paste the paper products.

There were a few points that had me more interested in them. They have product installers on staff that we could talk to about the tips tricks and special instructions.  The other was that they are being featured on the HGTV program Big Beach Builds. (I have never seen it or heard of it but you can look for it)

Your local sign shop!  If you are here locally in the Elgin or Fox Valley area Image 360 in South Elgin is the one we go to. You may think of them as just business cards, banners, car graphics, etc. but they can also print large images on wallpaper-type stock!  I like the local aspect myself.  Call your local shops to see what they can offer. If they can help, AWESOME!!

Did we help?

A small blog, but quick and to the point. We want to make sure we send you to people we have used, know they can get you what you want and most important what will work! If you have questions we love to hear how we can help!! Maybe we can feature someone you know who sells and produces wallpaper as well! Let us know how we can help you love the space you’re in!

Hire a Painter for The Day

If you are like me, you have a little bit of interior painting to do in your home and don’t want to do it yourself.

Being a painter, the last thing I want to do is paint when I get home! Here is a solution for you: hire a painter for the day! This is a simple and straight forward program we offer that a lot of people really like.

How much does a painter for the day cost?

I figured we might as well get this out of the way first. We will send a painter to your home that will:

  • Work in your home for up to 7 hours
  • Use the paint you have in your home
  • Touch up or repaint walls etc. in your home
  • Repaint a door where needed
  • Do those little touch ups around the new lights
  • Fix minor drywall repairs

And all for $480.00!  All of our painters are employees that have been fully been given background checks so you can trust who is in your home.  This is also something that works great for gifts for family members who “have it all and don’t need anything”. Hire a painter for the day as a Father’s day, Christmas or Birthday gift!

How do I know if my paint is any good to use for touch ups?

Before we schedule a painter to come to your home, we will come to the house and make sure what you want to be done is able to get done in 7 hours.

We will walk with you and identify:

  • What areas you need painted
  • What areas you need repaired
  • Potential issues that we cannot work on such as mold, water damage
  • The paint you have and if you have enough paint for the touch ups
  • How much time it will take our painter to do the work you want done

What if  I need more paint?

This is where things get tricky.  When we come and look at the work you are wanting done, and you don’t have enough paint or you don’t have the paint we have several options:

  • If you have no paint, we can try to match the wall color but you will end up painting the whole wall
  • When we look at the paint and it is old you may be stuck with buying a new gallon and again painting a whole wall
  • Repaint the whole room with a new color

Sometimes the paint you had is no longer available. The base used may not be made anymore or the tints may have changed which means you are buying new paint.

Will the painter move furniture to do the work?

As with any interior painting project there are items that have to be moved.

  • Heavy items such as pianos we do not move.
  • Other items such as large bedroom furniture can be moved but we need more than 1 person to do that. You can use furniture gliders to help moving some of these pieces.
  • Refrigerators, gas ovens, gas dryers we also shy away from moving due to water or gas line damage.  We can move them but we will require a hold harmless agreement from you.
  • If you have bookshelves like we do in our home we will need those cleaned off so they can be moved. It is too dangerous to try move the items and the bookcase at the same time.
  • Pictures are also a top question. If there is a hole in the wall we fix it, if there is a nail in the wall we leave it alone. I know for a fact the nails you have found “just right” after the “just a little bit more up or left” is something you want to keep.

How can you Hire a painter for the day?

Call us (847) 553-1726, or go to our website and fill in a contact us now form and we will help you love the home you’re in with a painter for the day.

Don’t forget about our referral program!

dfranco dollars - painting referral program - hire a painter for the day

Here is one of our D’franco $100 referral vouchers! Click here to start earning!


dfranco bee logo

We look forward to helping you love the home you’re in! 

How much does it cost to paint a room?

Are you looking to have a room in your home painted?

It would seem like a pretty easy question but among other considerations, one of the top questions will be: How much does it cost to paint a room?

There are several factors and things to consider when looking for interior painting services, we will walk you through our process and what you can expect to pay us to paint your room.

Doing a paint estimate virtually?

Virtual estimates started at the end of 2019 for us. COVID definitely made that happen for most contractors as almost a must.  We do our estimates several ways:

  • We can do an on-site visit – still the best way to make sure nothing is missed
  • I can look up your home and see what rooms you want painted with redfin!
  • Using your smart phone we can do a facetime call
  • There is also zoom and other google video calls we can do
  • Then the basic send pics via text message

Anything other than on-site visit will still need an on-site verification before we set things in stone. There are always things missed with the virtual estimates BUT they are very very close in the cost.

How much will it cost to just paint the walls in my room?

Pretty easy question right? Yes and no. Here is what we will ask:

  • What color are you looking to have painted?
  • What type of sheen are you looking to have on your walls?
  • Which type of paint are you looking to use? (contractors grade, premium or high washable)
  • Is there any damage to the walls we need to repair?
  • Are all your window treatments staying?
  • Will the outlet and switch plate covers be painted?
  • Do the walls have any issues such as being excessively cold in the winter?
  • Are there any issues such as hair products, crayons, magic markers, or other stains that we need to look at?
  • Would there be any heavy objects that need to be moved?
  • What is the size of the room? (Foyer will be more)

All of these issues can affect the cost. The time needed to make repairs, special primers to cover sharpies on the walls, all affect the cost. Some of the items like heavy furniture may require two painters on your project vs. one.

panting a foyer - interior painting

Painting a foyer like this will usually cost $600-$700

All things being equal, we will charge about $480.00 to paint a average size say 12×12 room. Just keep in mind the above questions as that can affect the final cost.

How much will the estimate to paint my room change by adding ceilings?

For the most part, painting ceilings is a very easy add on to the paint project. Knowing what color is usually the hardest part. The questions we ask above will also play a part in the cost of the room, but typically expect 25% of the existing cost to be the charge for the ceiling in the above quote of $480, you can expect to add about $90-$110

painting ceiling - interior painting services

Painting the ceiling can add a huge AH to a room.

How much will it cost to me paint the trim in the room as well?

painting wood trim white

Painting wood trim white?

The first thing we need to know is if the trim is painted white already. If you have wood trim like above, then there are several issues and factors that will affect cost. Sometimes painting the wood trim is as much as painting the room itself…sometimes more. The steps we have to take to paint wood trim are:

  • Filling all nail holes.
  • Caulking the trim to wall.
  • If there are multi layers (2-3 pieces), then they each have to be caulked as well.
  • All the wood has to be cleaned.
  • We will need to prime the wood.
  • Then we can paint it.

If your trim is white already, we just need to know if it is base trim, crown, windows and doors? Expect to add at least $200 if doing doors and trim.

Why Choose D’franco Painitng & Wallpaper to paint your home?

dfranco dollars - dfranco painting

Here is 1 of our D’franco $100 referral vouchers!

Did this help? We hope so. If you have more questions about how much your room will cost to get painted, then please call or text! We want to help you love the space you’re in!

Hiring a paint contractor with employees vs subcontractors

So it is time to paint the house, you need to hire someone and you’re not exactly sure who to hire.

I feel your pain every time we have to hire a contractor for services such as plumbing or electrical work.  As a business owner, we have decided to invest in people and have the people who represent us be employees. There are other contractors that have decided to use subcontractors and not employees. Is there a difference? Does it matter? Decide for yourself it it matters hiring a paint contractor with employees vs subcontractors.

painter - dfranco - Hiring a paint contractor with employees vs Subcontractors

Do you know who is in your home working?

If you have called a reputable company odds are they have employees working for them.  How do you know for sure?? ASK THEM! Find out when you call them about getting an estimate or before a service tech ever shows up to your home.

Being a business owner has been a blessing to our customers, our family and to our employees! We have been working hard to:

  • Create a family atmosphere
  • Find people that fit into our culture
  • Believe in our 5 core values
    • Faith
    • Ownership
    • Vision
    • Focus
    • Experience
  • Find people who work together as a team.

When we hire anyone we have them fill out a background consent form in addition to random drug testing and no-use policies while at work.

For all of our background checks we use a company called Verifirst. They perform local, state and federal background checks so that we know who we have working for us and with us! We want you to trust the people in your home as much as we trust them with our tools, vehicles and reputation.

Want a story? We interviewed a person some time ago. Everything seemed to be great, attitude, knew what he was saying, knew many of the things we did, had his own tools and a brand new work van.  When we did a simple Google search of his name – assault, battery, restraining order, registered sex offender popped up on the 1st page with his picture! Now this person had been and still is working as a painter. So again, I ask – Do you know who is in your home working?

Is the contractor you hired trained or self-taught?

I want to make sure I stress there is nothing wrong with being self-taught and learning!  Because I also have learned a ton from YouTube.

But there are some things you cannot learn form videos or reading. Sometimes you need professional or organized training.

  • Our employees get certification training from the PCA and from Sherwin Williams education resources.
  • Hands-on training of tools
  • Training at our shop on drywall repair, caulking, filling nail holes etc.

We also take advantage of the training and local seminars that are hosted by Sherwin Williams and local Benjamin Moore/JC LICHT representatives.

Is my contractor insured?

You better know the answer to this question! What happens if:

  • A person in your home breaks something?
  • The person falls, trips or gets hurt in your home?
  • Moves an appliance and the water starts to leak?

By hiring a established company, they have insurance for all of these issues and others you may never think about. What if there is a defect in the product being used – the contractor did nothing wrong yet the paint peels?

  • How does it get fixed?
  • Will it get fixed?
  • Who pays for the repairs?
  • Do you know who pays for the new materials?

How do you check on past work of your contractor?

We used to use references from customers, but with growing privacy issues, we rely on online reviews such as Google.  Google does a check to verify the person doing the work, we also comment on every review we get so we know who is doing the review.

Local paint stores usually know who the top guys are to do the work you need.

Facebook is also a tool we use for marketing but not for reviews, no reason for or against it, just where we are at.

Do you know what your painting will cost up front?

All of our estimates are in writing, you can look up our blog posts, Facebook, YouTube or our Podcast to see and hear what we charge for almost everything. We strive for you to know, not be shocked or surprised by what we do, how we do it, and how much it costs.

We follow that up with lifetime warranty on labor of the work we perform.

Now the next time you have to hire a painter…

You have a few more tools and questions to ask so you know who you’re hiring and what you’re getting.  I was told years ago that people hire people and contractors that they know, like and trust. So that is what we strive for.

So Hiring a paint contractor with employees vs Subcontractors – what do you think?

Let us know if you have any questions.  We hope we help you love the space you’re in!

Top 3 Problems with Painted Cabinets

Are you considering painting your cabinets?

“Will the paint on cabinets last?”

“How Durable are painted cabinets?”

“I have painted cabinets and the paint is peeling, can you help?”

“How do I prevent water damage to my cabinets?

“Will the paint chip if I paint my cabinets”

These are the top questions and concerns about having cabinets painted. So we thought we could put together a quick article for you on the top 3 problems with painted cabinets. The top 3 are not what you may expect!

water damaged cabinet - top 3 problems with painted cabinets

Enemy #1 of wood cabinets: water is not a friend

This is the number one problem with wood in your home – moisture!! It doesn’t matter if it is stained or painted cabinets, wood floors, or wood furniture, water will cause permanent damage to wood.

There several ways water can cause damage to wood cabinets, floors or furniture:

  • Leaving wet rags hanging on cabinets
  • Not using coasters on your furniture
  • High humidity
  • Washing wood (painted or stained) with water and leaving heavy water residue on the wood surfaces

After 15 years of painting and re-staining cabinets, water damage is always an issue.

The cabinets by your sink get the most abuse!

  • Water from washing your hands, doing dishes, cooking, and cleaning usually take their toll in this area of your kitchen cabinetry.
  • Next are the cabinets or cabinet panels next to your dishwasher. The ventilation from dishwashers was not given much thought as to where the steam goes. They have traditionally either gone out the top damaging countertops or out the sides damaging the cabinet right next to your dishwasher.
  • Do not use harsh chemicals to clean cabinets – vinegar and water are all you need. Chemical cleaners will cause the finishes of your cabinets to break down faster and then allow water into the wood.
  • Fix any problem as soon as it is seen, don’t wait for it to get worse!

How durable is the paint on the cabinets?

This is question is closely tied to some of the other questions we receive, will the paint peel, and will the paint chip?

When the time is taken to do the right prep work on your wood cabinets – NO the paint will not peel.  When we are getting cabinets ready for paint we have a multi-step process to make sure the paint sticks to the wood:

  • We clean the entire cabinet surface with TSP, degreaser cleaner. This can take several times to get cabinets clean
  • We also scuff sand the surfaces to give the primer something to stick to. When the cabinets are previously painted, the surface is slick so paint or primer has nothing to stick to. Think of it as glass vs. your skin – they both look smooth but one is more porous than the other.
  • Bonding primer is what should be used as your primer for cabinets. This stuff will bond to almost anything! Without the right primer, paint will have issues with sticking to any wood you are painting.

The devil is in the details!! All of the prep work is the key to a great, long lasting paint job.

As for the paint- USE THE BEST! ILVA, ML Campbell, Shur Wood Aqua Chem are the ones we use.  They are great paints!!!

Can you fix the peeling paint on my cabinets?

No.  If the paint is peeling from your cabinets then the only way to fix it is to strip all of the paint from the door(s).


These are the top 3 problems with painted cabinets but there are some other questions we are asked and if you have questions regarding painting your cabinets please let us know.

How to install wallpaper on a ceiling

Wallpaper is not just for walls!

Disclaimer- this is not something to tackle on your own!! Installing wallpaper on a ceiling will take two people. This blog details how we installed a wallpaper that is designed for a paste the wall application.

finished dining room wallpaper ceiling

finished dining room wallpaper ceiling

Now on to the fun- Installing wallpaper really does make a huge difference in the look and feel of your home.  Accent walls are more of what we have been installing over the past year or so.

Here are a few things you need to keep in mind before starting:

  • Are you sure you want this? Wallpaper is not for everyone.
  • Know your budget. Wallpaper itself can be expensive, but the cost to install is typically just as expensive or more expensive than the wallpaper itself.
  • Think of how you want it to look in terms of layout- left to right, right to left, north to south, etc. The width of the ceiling and room layout can provide a few different options compared to a typical wall installation
  • Lighting- are you changing out any lights? If so make sure the installer knows. Better yet just take them down and your new light fixtures can be installed right away without the worry about how large the old light fixture mounts were. (If you have a light with a round mounting bracket and you go to a square or a rectangle- you may end up seeing white walls if this is not thought out ahead of time)

Prepare the ceiling for wallpaper

Each paper has their own instructions. These instructions will typically say something about the surface, what type of primer the walls need and the type of adhesive they say to use.

For this wallpaper we used Gardz wall sealer for the primer.  As we were installing to separate areas, Daniel started in the dining room to apply primer so it could dry.

After several hours (4) he went back to the ceiling and applied a coat of wallpaper adhesive to the ceiling.  This will the help adhesion between the surface and the wallpaper itself.

applying wallpaper glue - wallpaper ceiling

glue has been applied and allowed to dry before installation

Allow this to dry overnight

Getting ready to install the wallpaper

Proper preparation prevents poor performance. That is what my sons Scoutmaster (Hello DOUG HORTON!!) used to tell the boys before starting any project. It is no different with starting a wallpaper project.

Inspect your wallpaper. We always unroll/reroll each roll of wallpaper.  Just look to see there are no defects before you start to install. Better to know before you begin hanging the wallcovering than to find out while you’re on a ladder on the 3rd piece there is a defect and your not going to have enough wallpaper to finish!

Where will you start? you can pick the middle and go to the edge, you can start on the left or the right. But plan it out!! We will do this portion when we estimate the wallpaper. Sometimes you can use less wallcovering due to the room layout and the pattern on the wallpaper by going a vertical vs horizontal type install.

Measure the wallpaper.  How wide is it? Take that measurement to the ceiling and make a mark. If the paper is 27 inches, mark the ceiling at 26 1/2, this allows for extra room in case the wall/ceiling lines are crooked- not straight or plumb.

measuring for wallpaper

Daniel is measuring the width for the 1st piece of wallpaper we are installing

Now make another mark at 26 1/2 about 3 feet away. This is so you can make yourself a guideline.

wallpaper measuring - wallpaper for ceiling

after marking two locations of the width of the paper- draw a line as a guide to where the edge of the wallpaper will be installed too

Lets hang some paper!!

Quick review:

  • You have enough wallpaper
  • You have primed the walls for wallpaper
  • You have the right wallpaper adhesive
  • All of your tools are ready to be used (see our blog about wallpaper tools here)
  • The wallpaper has been inspected and there are no defects
  • There is a ladder for you and your helper!

This actually goes pretty fast- partially because this wallpaper we demonstrate is a type where you paste the wall.  No glue on the wallpaper makes is much easier and cleaner to install.

Apply the wallpaper adhesive to the area you are installing the first piece – 27-30 inches wide in our case.  Then apply with a brush on the edges.

Get the 2 ladders in position so one person can hold the roll of wallpaper while the 2nd person makes sure it is flat, on the line, no bubbles etc. Once you get the first portion of the wallpaper placed, all you have to do is roll it out and smooth it to the surface to get the glue on the paper – the glue and suction will do the rest.

applying wallpaper to ceiling

you can see the line we use as a guide and rolling out the 1st piece

I didn’t take other pics as I went because we did a time lapse video of two people installing the wallpaper on the ceiling.

Finishing up your ceiling wallpaper install

Now that you have all the paper installed, stand back and look!!  Aside from wiping your brow of sweat, look for shiny spots – that will be adhesive that got on the wallpaper that you will need to wash off. Use clean warm water and sea sponge, it works the best!

here is a wallpaper on a ceiling

If you have any questions on installing wallpaper on a ceiling (or you just want someone else to do it)  let us know how we can help you love the space you’re in!

How to paint your new wood cabinet doors

Are you replacing older cabinet doors?

Then today is your lucky day! We are seeing more and more customers where they are repairing their kitchen cabinets.  This means repairing doors that are damaged.  If this is you- then we are going to give you a quick how to paint your new wood cabinet doors! The hardest part about this is what color are you going to paint?

oak wood cabinet door - how to paint your new wood cabinet doors

here is a raw oak wood cabinet door

So what kind of wood door do you have?

Knowing the type of wood you have is the first step in telling you how to paint your new raw wood cabinet doors. It does make a difference in the amount or type of prep you will have to do to get your new doors looking perfect! There are a few basic types of materials new wood doors are made from:

  • Oak
  • Cherry
  • Maple
  • MDF
  • Birch
  • Both hardwood and MDF

Each of these types of wood has unique properties as to why they are used.

Oak is really used for the look of staining the grain of the wood. I do not know anyone who selects a oak door for how well it paints! As I am sure you know, and can see from the image above, painting oak doors presents a trick… getting rid of the heavy grain.

Cherry looks amazing when stained – flat, smooth, great colorations. Beautiful!

Maple is very hard. It will wear better than most other woods, but the kicker is that it is very difficult to stain and cannot be re-stained.

MDF is a manufactured board made from glue and sawdust. It is cheaper, is very smooth, and is very susceptible to water damage, but it does not shrink or expand like traditional wood doors.

Birch is nice, light, smooth, more inexpensive, and is a very nice wood to paint on.

Applying primer to a raw oak door

Since we covered the different types, we will just focus on painting an oak door.  Oak is very porous and heavy grained. You see every line that the tree had.  So to make it look good, these are the steps for how to paint your new wood cabinet doors.

These doors need to be sanded.  Once sanded then you can apply a coat of wood primer. Oak doors have all of that grain so we use a small foam roller to roll the primer on the doors and it will get forced into all of those nooks and crannies.

painting oak cabinets - one coat of primer

a oak door with one coat of primer

When you have primed the door with primer, the wood will swell up and it will be very rough and splintery.  After the primer is dry, you will need to sand it smooth then use a vac to clean all of the dust.

festool sander and vac - repainting cabinets

our Festool sander and vac

With the 1st coat applied and sanded, apply another coat of primer (you can use a fine roller but we spray).  The 2nd cost of primer will sit down very nice and the grain you saw in the 1st coat of primer will almost disappear. Check to see that the primer is dry- usually a few hours- then again sand and vac clean.

Painting your primed oak door

Let’s review:

  • You sanded the raw wood door
  • Then you cleaned it to remove all dust
  • A coat of primer was applied to the door
  • After the primer was dry, you sanded it smooth
  • You applied a 2nd coat of primer
  • Checking to make sure it was dry, you sanded it again and cleaned it.

Make sure that you are not touching this door with your hands – wear gloves. This keeps your hands clean and keeps the oils from your fingers off of the surface to be painted.

new cabinet door painted - dfranco cabinet refinishing

a new cabinet door primed and painted

Your door is ready to be painted!!

With your paint in hand and ready to go- get painting!! Again, we like the Wooster foam rollers, but everyone has their favorites.  Anything that will leave a smooth surface is great! (We spray them) When you finish painting the door, then allow it to dry overnight.  PLAN on having to apply a 2nd coat of paint.

Allow the painted door to dry!

There are several good cabinet paints on the market. It doesn’t matter which one you choose as long as you do your work to prepare the doors and allow enough time for them to dry.  Once the final coat of paint is applied, again, make sure you give it 24 hours before you decide to install hinges or hang the door.  By allowing this extra time, you are giving the paint more opportunity to harden which will make sure the door does not get damaged when you install it. Once dried and installed, it is time to sit back, relax and enjoy your new cabinets door(s).

Questions? This was a brief insight on how to paint your wood cabinet doors.  We hope it was a help to you. Let us know if you need help, we are here to help you love the space you’re in.


Installing digitally printed wallpaper in your home or business

Do you know what digital wallpaper is? Did you know there was such a thing? (You may be asking who cares!)

As a company that installs all types of wallpaper, digital is a huge buzz word in wallpaper.  Most people still think of wallpaper as something that goes on a computer screen.  If you are a fan of murals or if you like personalized decorations, then installing digitally printed wallpaper in your home or business is something you may want to look into!

What is digitally printed wallpaper?

A quick answer is something akin to Fatheads- if you recall them from a few years ago.  This company pretty much stole the ability for us to paint sports murals on walls of peoples homes as these digitally printed graphics were very inexpensive to install.

The basic premise is that print companies can now take images, patterns, colors, or text to make a large scale completely custom wallpaper that you can have installed in your home, office or business location.

digitally printed wallpaper - dfranco elgin

digitally printed wallpaper graphics in a theatredigital wallcoverings

digitally printed wallpaper in a elevator lobbyThese customized wallpapers can then be printed to fit the size of any wall, ceilings, windows, or as you see on the road- billboards!

Not only can the size be adjusted to whatever size you want but the look and feel of the graphic can be customized as well!

  • Ultra smooth surface
  • Shiny
  • Dull
  • Light texture
  • Heavy texture
  • Paper
  • Vinyl

It is great!! You pick it, then call us cause we can stick it!!

How expensive is digitally printed wallpaper?

I would love to tell you it will cost you “X” per square foot, but I cannot. There are so many variables that I could not even take a guess.

What I can tell you is that we had one printed for us, it was 8×10, color on a thin vinyl textured material, and it was under $800.00.

There are many companies out there such as Murals your way that make the shopping experience easy and pain free. They even offer the resources to find a wallpaper installer in your area!  (Yes we are on that list)

Where can they be installed?

The beauty of these printed materials is that they are diverse not just in what you want but where you want them:

digital wallcoverings for wall

digitally printed wallpaper for a health locationdigitally printed wallpaper

digitally printed wallpaper in a men’s washroomdigital wallcoverings - dfranco painting wallpaper

digital printed wallpaper at a sports facilitiesdigital wallcoverings - digitally printed wallpaper

digitally printed wallpaper in your homedigital wallpaper in conference room

digital wallpaper for a conference roomHere is a video of one that tells a story of a hospital.

What are the drawbacks of digitally printed wallpaper?

There are always disadvantages in any product or thing you want. Wallpaper is no exception. This is the short list of the most common issues:

  • Cost. We touched on this above, this can be affordable, but that does depend on your budget
  • Installation. These are one of those products you don’t want to mess around with if you don’t know what your doing.  There are special tools that help with installation, however, you need to know how to handle them, type of adhesive and if the pattern doesn’t line up- how to blend them together.
  • Location of where it is being installed.  Most of these types of materials will require a wall that has been completed to a level 5 finish.  That means ultra flat and smooth.

Are you ready to have your very own custom wallpaper made and installed just for you?

Then aside from the resources above, give us a call so we can help you with this project and we can help you love the space you’re in! Call, text or email – we are here to help.

Should I paint my cabinets with high gloss paint?

That is a loaded question- kind of like do I look fat in these pants!

Ok, so you want to paint your cabinets.  You want something with a “pop” – shiny.  So you may be asking yourself “should I paint my cabinets with high gloss paint?” The better question(s) is/are:

  • Can you paint with high sheen paint?
  • Will the items you are painting look good in a high sheen paint?
  • What will happen if the high sheen paint is scratched or damaged?

Let’s take a look at these questions as part of the overall question of should I…

What does high sheen paint look like?

high gloss paint

high gloss red paint

This furniture piece is painted with a very high gloss (almost 90 degree sheen). This particular paint is from Fine Paints of Europe.  The level of difficulty in application is very high- we have only done it twice!

There are several reasons for the level of difficulty with this material:

  • Cost- it is 2-3 times more expensive than other high gloss paints
  • It is the highest level sheen home type paint you can buy
  • The dry time is from 6 hours to 12 hours depending on which type you get
  • It will attract dust while drying
  • You need to have a negative atmosphere to pull away all dust-overspray etc.
  • It should be polished after it dries (24 plus hours)
  • The surface it is being applied to must be perfectly smooth like a car
  • This product requires a special primer prior to being painted- again expensive!

Now that you are armed with that information, do you want to go to the effort and expense? As this product dries and is complete- keep in mind there is no getting a brush and touching up a nick, scratch, ding etc. You are repainting entire sections.

Armed with this knowledge, do you want a high sheen paint on your cabinets?

Other options to high sheen paints for cabinets

Keep in mind that every paint store sells a gloss paint. Each paint manufacturer has different degrees of sheen level unique to their products.  Different paint manufacturers also have their own twist on gloss paints such as:

  • Latex
  • Acrylic
  • Lacquer
  • Oil
  • Alkyd
  • Waterborne
  • Hybrids

Each of these paints has their own level of gloss from 20, 30, 35, 40, 60, 80 degree- that is how the sheen level is measured.  80 would be gloss, 60 would be semi-gloss.

black high gloss paint - repainting cabinets

Benjamin Moore high gloss black butler pantry

In each of these paint makers and sheens presents a more affordable option to get a higher sheen paint for your cabinets.  Companies like Benjamin Moore, Ilva, ML Campbell, and Envirolak all sell paints made for cabinets with higher sheen levels that can be applied by most cabinet refinishers.  These paints do require someone with experience and the right tools to prepare and apply these paints to provide a solid finish.

medium gloss paint

Ilva medium gloss(60) sheen entertainment unitmedium gloss sheen - dfranco painting

Ilva medium gloss (60) sheen mantle

Will you like high sheen paint in your home?

Think of this, would you want furniture in your home to be shiny like your car? Aside from the difficulty in repairs when they are damaged, they do offer some other advantages:

  • Wow factor – everyone will say wow
  • Light reflection – looks pretty cool
  • Washability – much higher than low sheens
  • Feel/touch – there is a huge difference in how these higher sheen paints feel when you touch them

Cost to paint high gloss paint on your cabinets

I can only go into the cost that it takes for us to produce a high gloss great looking finish. There are multiple steps compared to traditional cabinet prep.

These steps differ depending on what we paint but it gives you an idea of the extra time and materials needed:

  • Surface must be cleaned and solid
  • Soft surfaces (drywall and pine) will need a primer that dries hard and flat
  • All imperfections must be removed- this requires a level 5 finish on everything- ultra perfect smooth
  • With each repair that is made, the repair must be sanded and sealed then sanded again
  • The surfaces must be cleaned of dust at all times
  • Air scrubbers or movers will need to be used to keep dust and over spray away from the painted surfaces
  • The surfaces must be sanded with degrees of sandpaper from 200, 320, 400, 600 an 800 or higher to remove any scratches or marks in the surface being painted.
  • Any dirt on the floors around the surfaces being painted must be removed from the area to prevent dirt/dust blowing into paint
  • Primers used must fully cure-8-24 hours
  • Paints used can take from 6-24 hours to cure
  • Paint must be allowed to dry 2-3 days then buffed like a car to get the ultra high sheen

Looking at all of the above items – the time it takes is usually 4-5 times longer than traditional cabinet painting.  We typically charge $105 per door, but  you can expect 4-500 per door depending on the degree of prep you need to take, in order to get a finish like the red image above.

What do you want your cabinets to look like?  Should I paint my cabinets with high gloss paint? Maybe. But we can help you figure it out! Give us a call, text or email and let us know how we can help you love the space you’re in.

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