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How long does it take to paint kitchen cabinets?

February 6th, 2024 | 5 min read

By Kaylea Kuhlman

Kitchen with cream painted cabinets, black counters, and dark hardware.

You may feel overwhelmed heading into a cabinet refinishing project for the first time. You may be wondering…

  • How long will a cabinet project take? 
  • Why does cabinet refinishing take so long?
  • Can I use my kitchen or room during the process?

As you are investing in a transformation project for your home, you deserve to have your questions answered and be in the know every step of the way. 

As a professional cabinet refinishing company in Omaha, Nebraska, we at Brush & Roll Painting realize the privilege of working in customers' homes. We know it is not easy to share your space, so we make the process as seamless as possible for our customers while providing high-quality results.

In this article, we will answer your top concerns about the timelines of a cabinet refinishing project. By reading this article, you will have a better understanding of how much time your project may take and why.

Factors Affecting Cabinet Refinishing Timelines

1. Process of Your Contractor or Painting Company

The cabinet refinishing process looks different for every contractor or painting company. While some companies spend a few days on the project, others may spend a few weeks.

Generally, the longer it takes to complete a project with daily work on the job, the more you can be sure you are getting higher quality.

For Brush & Roll Painting in Omaha, NE, you can expect a team of painters to be in your home for about a week. At our shop, we will continue to work on cabinet doors and drawers for an additional week to 2 weeks.

Learn about other processes for cabinet refinishing, here.

2. Size of the Cabinet Refinishing Project

Large kitchen with medium brown stained cabinets and white counters.

One of the primary factors influencing the timeline is the size of the project. Larger spaces with more cabinets naturally require more time to complete. 

Often, homeowners will pair a cabinet refinishing project with interior painting, to get a total remodel of a kitchen. The more services you need to be done, the longer the project might take.

This is why a thorough assessment of the scope of work by a project consultant is crucial to providing accurate time estimates. Before you receive quotes for your project, be sure you know what you want your project to entail.

  • Do you just want all the cabinets in the kitchen refinished?
  • Do you want the insides of your cabinets painted?
  • What about the bathroom cabinets?
  • Is now the time to change the color of a wall or two?

3. Current Condition of the Cabinets

The existing condition of your cabinets plays a key role in determining how long the refinishing process will take. Cabinets with extensive damage or wear and tear may require additional time for repairs and preparation before the refinishing work begins.

Cabinets with extensive damage on the finish may look like the paint or the finish is peeling, you might have multiple scratch marks in the product, or nicks in the wood.

4. Color of Cabinets

Kitchen with white cabinets.

The color you choose for your cabinets can impact the timeline. Lighter colors may require additional coats for a smooth, even finish. Which can potentially extend the duration of the project. 

5. The Type of Finish

The type of finish you select also influences the timeline. Different finishes have varied drying times and application requirements. Some finishes may necessitate multiple layers, adding to the overall duration of the project.

Kitchen with glazed white cabinets and image of before refinishing with golden oak.

For example, glazing cabinets is an additional step in the entire process. After applying the solid color, painters use a special technique to glaze the cabinets. This extra product layer and amount of precision calls for much more time than a regular paint or stain project.

Timeline of Cabinet Refinishing

From start to finish, below is a typical timeline for a cabinet refinishing project. 

1. Finding the Perfect Color & Finish for Your Cabinets

Before the actual refinishing begins, time is invested in a consultation and the selection of the ideal color and finish. 

This could involve your contractor or painting company creating samples for you. Then you can compare them to wall colors, tiles, counters, or hardware options. This can help you ensure that you are satisfied with the choices before the project kicks off.

This process could take a few weeks, which typically fits seamlessly into the time you accept a project proposal and the time your painting company is ready to get started on your project.

2. Preparing Your Home for a Cabinet Refinishing Project

Preparing your space is an important part of cabinet painting that often gets overlooked. As a homeowner, you should protect your belongings on counters, on top of upper cabinets, and anything inside drawers that don’t have detachable drawer fronts.

On the first day, the team of finishers or the contractor should lay paper to protect your floors and countertops from products and dust. Doors and drawers should be removed from the cabinet boxes and taken to a separate location to be worked on. 

3. Prep Work on Cabinets

Painter cleaning cabinet doors with a rag.

Surface preparation is the key to high-quality results. This process includes cleaning, sanding, and priming the cabinet boxes, as well as the drawers and doors in a workshop.

This step lays the foundation for a smooth and long-lasting finish. On cabinet boxes in your home, this will roughly take a few days. On the detached doors and drawers, this could take about a week.

During the time in your home, you should be able to use your kitchen to a certain extent. Painters should clean up after themselves daily, so you can use your kitchen after they are done for the day. 

The main task that can create dust is sanding.

4. Applying Products

To have results that last, applying products isn’t as simple as a coat of paint. There are hundreds of products on the market to paint cabinets. Often contractors or painting companies will use a primer and apply a few layers of a solid color, stain, or tone. 

For Brush & Roll Painting in Omaha, Nebraska, our process is likely different than most. Before applying 1-2 coats of primer, we apply an isolate resurfacer. A resurfacer is an added layer of clear product that locks down the existing finish and gives us a new surface for our primers.

Between each layer of primer and the finish, we sand the surface. This helps ensure the best proper adhesion between layers.

Due to the time to apply these layers and the dry time for the products to fully cure, it can take multiple days to a week on cabinet drawers. When painters are applying products, they should pay careful attention to achieve an even and professional coat on each cabinet surface.

5. Touch-Ups on Cabinets

Once the primary application is complete, painters and homeowners can identify and address all imperfections or uneven areas. Touch-ups are applied to ensure a flawless final result for your project.

Touch-ups typically take a few hours to complete.

6. Installing Hardware, Doors, & Drawers

Painter putting cabinet door hinges on the refinished cabinet.

The final step involves reassembling the cabinets, including attaching hardware, doors, and drawers. This phase completes the transformation, allowing you to enjoy your revamped space.

This process usually takes a few hours of work, depending on the kitchen size. This could extend to 2 days of work. 


Embarking on a cabinet refinishing project is a significant investment in your home's aesthetics. Understanding the factors influencing the timeline of the project is crucial for setting realistic expectations. By considering the size of the project, the current condition of cabinets, chosen colors and finishes, and the type of refinishing, homeowners can make informed decisions and better appreciate the craftsmanship involved. 

At Brush & Roll Painting, we prioritize transparency and quality, ensuring you are well-informed and delighted with the results of their cabinet refinishing projects. Schedule an estimate with us to get one step closer to the home you love.

The factors affecting the time it takes to complete a cabinet refinishing project are similar to the factors affecting the cost of the project. Learn more about the cost of cabinet painting next.

Kaylea Kuhlman

Kaylea is the Brush & Roll Painting Content Manager.