TP Home | About | Newsletter | Blogs |

Potential First Kitchen To Paint

I have been asked to quote for what would be my first hand-painted kitchen job.

The customer had bought some F & B eggshell to do it themselves but I think they have realised what is involved.

I have been reading for some time now all the regular email updates from TP plus the details on the forum and the blogs belonging to all the TP specialists. As I would like to submit a professional looking quote plus a breakdown of all the steps required plus materials and equipment needed I have listed below what I hope is correct:

  1. Mask off worktops and floor with 1200 lining paper, standard masking tape and scotch edge lock tape.
  2. Clean/degrease all surfaces to be painted with KrudKutter Original and Mirka Mirlon pads.
  3. Remove doors and drawer fronts taking care to number each one.
  4. Sand down doors and drawers using abranet hand sander attached to Henry vac. Sand door and drawer profiles, end panels, cornices, pelmets, kick boards with Mirka Gold pads.
  5. Vac off and wipe down with Axus pro-finish tack cloths.
  6. Apply first coat of Otex primer tinted to F & B Elephant’s Breath.
  7. When dry de-nib then fill any gaps and holes with Fat Hog fine filler with a knife to maintain sharp edges and profiles. When filler has dried sand down with Mirka Gold pads then vac and wipe down with tack cloths.
  8. Apply second coat of tinted primer.
  9. When dry de-nib, vac off and wipe down with tack cloths.
  10. Apply first top coat of Empire Eggshell with Fox Mini Velvet roller tipped off with The Fox laying off brush (various sizes).
  11. When dry de-nib and apply second top coat.
  12. Re-hang all doors and drawers.
  13. Remove lining paper and tape then a final clean and tidy up.

1200 lining paper
Standard masking tape and Scotch Edge Lock tape.
Krudkutter Original
Mirka Mirlon pads
Abranet Abrasive Sheets
Mirka Gold Pads
Axus Pro-Finish Tack Cloths
Fox Mini Velvet Rollers
Fox Laying Off Brushes
Selection Of Small Artists Brushes
Otex Primer Tinted To Match Finishing Coat (F & B Elephants Breath)
Otex Primer Aerosol For Hard To Reach Areas Tinted As Above
Empire Eggshell (Tinted To Match F & B Elephants Breath)

Henry Vac
Erecta Rack

I have told the client to forget the F & B paint and that I can get a high adhesion primer and either a water-based or oil-based top coat to match the F & B Elephant’s Breath colour exactly. I’m not sure whether to go with the oil based Empire or suggest Feelings for the top coat. Any recommendations would be welcome.

Would anyone suggest I use any other brush for tipping off than a Fox?

There are 28 wooden doors and 8 drawers. Not sure what type of material but it’s not high quality just a mass produced kitchen installed on a typical new housing estate. Rather than 2 coats of Otex would I be better off applying a coat of Zinsser BIN first, then a coat of tinted Otex followed by 2-3 top coats?

How much primer and top coat will I need for this amount of doors/drawers? I notice that the Otex and Empire come in 3 litre tins. Would 1 x 3l tin of each be sufficient?

I haven’t got a Deros or Festool sanding/extraction system yet but would probably invest in a Flex palm sander if I get this job and then upgrade to the professional kit later. Can the Flex sander be attached to my Henry or do you just use the small bag that’s attached?

I would however get an Erecta Rack as this seems an essential piece of kit that I would get plenty of use out of.

I know that a standard method of pricing for kitchen painting is £100 per door but as this is my first possible job and I am really keen to get it I will probably just work out a quote on my day rate + materials as I think this will be more in line with the clients budget. I have estimated that it will take me 8-10 days. Does that sound about right?

Sorry for the long post and all the questions but I am excited about the prospect of doing a hand-painted kitchen and want to get everything right to give me the best chance of securing the work :slight_smile:

1 Like

Hi Mark, first things first, can you introduce yourself for the benefit of future readers. That is quite the question!

See Mark’s introduction to see where he is coming from: Mark J Painter and Decorator

Fair play for doing your research, the process you describe certainly sets the bar high and sets customer expectations high too. Thanks for understanding the message we are spreading on Traditional Painter.

I also appreciate you being so open with your level of experience. Many who seem to paint kitchens these days don’t let on to their clients (or anyone) that they are dipping their toe in to see how it goes. They view it as just another job, and downplay, or more often, completely overlook the slight detail that they are working on someone’s pride and joy kitchen!

That specification you have listed is very high, and is in line with the variety of specifications that kitchen painting specialists, particularly the 20 Traditional Painters who are endorsed on this site, will work to as standard. We have developed these levels of spec - and we continue to evolve them, because kitchen painting should be approached with one standard in mind only - very high.

On balance, having seen all the alternatives, we have concluded that the the only safe and sustainable way to hand paint kitchens, is to offer highest quality finishes at a rate in line with the WHOLE story of painting a kitchen - it isn’t cheap, it isn’t the easy route, but the clients who trust your judgement, will thank you for being so frank and for having their interests at heart.

So for anyone interested in kitchen painting, that specification you have put up, sends out a good message and underlines a clearcut, no messing, approach to the technical side of the work.

To mean anything of course, the painting specification has to be delivered impeccably well too. :blush: and if you are doing it on a commercial basis, the level of customer service should be equally high, because to make this type of project a total success, your efforts will need to go way beyond the painting.

More than a coat of paint

As a word to the wise, kitchen painting is not just about painting lots of wood. Where you see it distilled down to a rate for painting lots of small doors, to get in and out as quickly as you can, things go horribly wrong. (see below)

###I write this site for the benefit of homeowners and DIY
and of course, trade guys like yourself have picked up on what we advocate technically, and that is fine by me, we all benefit from a higher bar in this predominantly miserable 1980s trade. :slight_smile: But I see many tradesmen misinterpret what kitchen painting is all about, in that they are doing the usual decorator thing, looking at a kitchen as “just some more painting” and undervaluing what is involved overall.

Distilling the work down to a paint spec also makes it hard for a client to gauge what they are getting for their money. As I’m sure anyone who has had a kitchen painted will attest, a kitchen is quite precious.

As an example of why kitchen painting is not general decorating, how many times has someone called and said, Im really not sure it is wise to paint my living room door frame. Just not done, is it!

Most calls I get during the enquiry stage are from the owners of the house, unsure if they are doing the right thing! After all, who knew you could even paint a kitchen! And the colours? and is this the best finish? and what about the paint? and what if… That nervousness on the part of the client may not disappear as you walk through the door to start the work. It may well get worse if you arent on top of your game and you don;t have answers. The whole service side of kitchen painting is demanding. It all has to be very right.

It looks glam work at the start, but half way through day 10 and no end in sight, customer twitching… it is not for the faint hearted. You need to know exactly what you are doing, if everyone is to remain calm, and have enough on the job to make sure it goes well.


It wont come as surprise then when I say that your pricing approach is random and way too low!!

Our £100 rate for instance wasn’t just plucked out the air, it allows for the full service, the highest standards and backup and everything else that comes with what we offer.

So, knowing what else goes into a kitchen painting job, when you and other pro decorators plumb for a safe decorator day rate, I hope you can see that you are putting yourself at the top of a potentially slippery slope and no room to manoeuvre. The worse thing about this approach is, the other party is put at risk by the low pricing too -

the homeowner is regularly hit the hardest when their painter doesn’t charge the price needed on a kitchen paint.

Where price isn’t right
I have received an email or three I can promise you, from conscientious decorators who earned pennies a week on kitchens, doing it for cheap. If they have hit snags, they have been working for even cheaper.

As you know, a good decorator will stay conscientious throughout a job, doing the right thing by the client, and stay poorer in order to leave their client happy. Periodically everyone has a nightmare, but those toiling regularly on £40-£50 a door rates know what I am talking about when it is not sustainable to be cheap. There is too much to do for cheap.

And the second scenario (I am not casting you into this second group btw) we do get calls from homeowners in tears, because their local decorator charged their normal week’s money and of course, the only way they could possibly deliver their price and get in on budget and clear their £120 a day, was by not doing all they were contracted to do, like rub down, or paint backs of doors or miss out coats just to get away.

Where in the market are you?

  • Can mates rates prices really deliver the best overall paintwork they ever saw and a really enjoyable experience too and turn their tired old kitchen into a wow feature with all the back up and…? Nah!

  • There are conscientious and skilled decorators all over, who are painting kitchens now and again for decorator rates and a bit on top. If everything always goes well over the course of a job, that is fine on a job by job basis, but it is not ticking all the boxes.

  • And there are specialists dedicated to their craft, like the Traditional Painters, and those journeymen you rarely hear of, who are making sure every single box is ticked.

That’s the market really for those in hand painted kitchen refurbishment projects.

So I urge you - you have set your stall out with that high end spec, you clearly see the job is more of a craft job, than a paint-it-out job, you have a clearer idea now of what is involved. I would consider advising your client that the budget they have set cannot possibly deliver the standard of work needed, with the level of service needed.

They might poo poo you and say take it or leave it, but as I have said, there is no room for error on your part with the level of finish, and once the price is set, be aware that the client doesn’t care, quite rightly, whether it is a good or bad price for you, they are paying, they want it right and looking just like the kitchens they see on go-to websites like this.

You have to be covered for all the angles, for instance, does your juicy rate account for the liability implications in the event of a problem put down to your workmanship? You have to be covered.

I have given you a fairly hard time here, Mark, but with the best of intentions. Lot to think about. Let us know how it goes.

btw Your questions about how much paint is required, and so on are a little bit out of kilter with the knowledge wrapped up in the extensive spec you are proposing? You need to measure up the surfaces to be painted and allow the m2/litre rate of each product, plus 10% for good measure .


I had a clients kitchen to paint, this was at Mark Wilkinson furniture, the demands that were put on me were inbelievable, the kitchen was being used and there were builders and decorators sanding in the next room.

The client wanted the finish that was in the showroom, I was on a hiding to nothing.

I spoke to the client and gave her my requests to get the kitchen to a showroom standard and what I would need her to do. She gave me 80% of my requests, which was fine.

At the end of the job, she got in contact with head office saying she was not happy with the finish, This in turn set of a series of events as these allegations were taken very seriously. The MD, senior installation manager and 2 directors turned up as this was a high profile client, they all trotted along to the showroom and then back to the kitchen I had painted, it was agreed by the mediator that my finish was as good if not better than the showroom!

There was no apology and I had to continue to finish other items of furniture in the house, the only thanks came from the IM and it must of killed him to say it, but I took that as a degree of thanks.

The moral of this reply is, there can be some really fussy clients, believe me I have met them all, my procedures are bulletproof and I still got questioned on finish although the allegations were as far as we were all concerened, unfounded.

If I was starting of in this game hand painting kitchens knowing what I do now I would be checking and double checking every aspect on every procedure applied.

Just sayin :smile:


All sound advice , I’m in week two of a three week kitchen 60 door repaint. It took a full week to clean down and degrease what looked like an immaculate kitchen.
It will take me at least one more week and my price won’t change. The best advice I can offer is to resist compromising your standards and stick rigidly to your work plan, even if you are going to be out of pocket. This sounds easier than it is, the perfect finish is based in the perfect prep generally with the best of tools including extraction sanding. You can’t renegotiate with clients after starting the job and when they’re looking at every brushstroke in their eyeline every day after washing the dishes, observations and critique of your finishes happens every day.




Thanks Andy, Chris and Lee for taking the time to reply to my post because the reason I posted was to obtain comments, positive or negative.

At the end of the day I have to start somewhere when it comes to painting a kitchen and as far as I look at it I am starting from a point which is probably as good as it gets thanks to the knowledge I have gained from TP and its endorsed specialists.

I really do care about the work I do and the satisfaction I get from seeing a happy customer. That is why I have tried to learn all I can about kitchen painting before attempting my first one. If I am going to paint my potential clients kitchen I want to paint it to the highest spec I can.

I understand everything you say about my pricing suggestion but to be honest, if I could, I would do it for nothing just to get the first project under my belt and experience everything it throws at me. So, if I get roughly my daily rate I will be more than happy. If it takes me twice as long to get it right I take it on the chin, charge the same and consider it a price well worth paying for the experience and knowledge it will give me. From then on I charge the recommended TP rate of £100 per door.

Regarding my asking about paint quantities, yes I can work it out, just being lazy there, sorry.

One thing I know that I have in common with the 20 endorsed traditional painters and probably most of the regular readers of TP is an ingrained pursuit of excellence. I want to do the best job possible, use the best materials and equipment, adopt the best techniques and offer the best service for my customers.

I now use Wooster/Axus/Fox rollers, Fox/Corona/Adorn brushes, paint conditioners like Owatrol Oil/Floetrol/XIM and paints from Holmans plus lots of other products recommended on TP and by the specialists. All have made me produce better results. Next on my list regardless of whether I get this kitchen painting job will be Erecta Rack and a Festool Sanding/Extraction system.

The next step in my learning experience and hopefully what will make me into a better P & D and add another string to my bow will be to paint a kitchen.

1 Like

It is sometimes the case that the clients personal expectations for something can never be met even if the job is perfect in everybody else’s eyes. Even if you give the customer exactly what they have asked for, but in their minds it is not what they ‘expected’ it to look like you can never win. Thankfully these people are few and far between.

1 Like

Hi Mark,

What a refreshing email and to know that our Teach and Tell, Not Sell philosophy is being embraced by people like yourself. Spreading the kitchen painting love, as we say!

However that’s one giant step for mankind going from one kitchen under your belt to charging specialist rates. Rest assured though if anything does go a bit Pete Tonge for you, you can always pop back on here, where all at Team TP are waiting to help.

Good luck and best wishes in your new kitchen painting business and who knows, not far from now, you could possibly be walking the TP boards yourself.

Cheers TTFN


Hi Russ

Great to get a response from you.

There seems to be a difference in opinion about how much I should charge from the outset but that’s to be expected as everyone will have a different point of view. I tend to fall on your side of the fence and charge lower until I have 2 or 3 kitchens completed.

It’s reassuring to know that if I hit problems I can come on here and get some help from specialists such as yourself. That’s what is so good about TP :slight_smile:

Well, the potential hand painted kitchen job that prompted me to start this thread last October didn’t materialise.

I have however just completed my first kitchen last Saturday which came about as a result of the customer finding my website via a Google search.

Because of the help and advice I obtained from reading through posts here on the TP forum plus emails and telephone conversations with a couple of TP specialists/associates I was able to thoroughly plan out the process well in advance of commencing the project.

I turned up on the first morning with all the equipment and materials I needed and knew exactly how I was going to proceed.

I gave everything a thorough clean and degrease with Krudkutter and Mirka Mirlon pads then rinsed down with clean water. I then removed all the doors, drawer fronts and hinges. I sketched out a plan of where every door and drawer came from and marked them and the hinges so that everything would go back in the exact same place.

All the worktops and floor were then covered and protected with heavy duty cardboard and I added extra protection on the corners of the worktops. I masked up the insides of the casings with yellow Frogtape.

I then sanded every flat surface that I could get at with my Festool RTS 400 EQ and midi extractor and used Axus ceramic flexible sanding pads for the mouldings and more intricate areas. After a thorough vacuum I then went over everything with methylated spirits using a toothbrush to ensure that I got into the corners and mouldings.

After a once over with a tack rag I then applied Zinsser BIN (diluted 50/50 with meths to reduce brush marks) using a Fox original brush. Once dry I lightly sanded with 320 grit pads, vacuumed and tack ragged then applied a second coat of BIN.

All gaps, holes and dings were filled with Graft filler.

After sanding, vacuuming and tack ragging the surfaces again they were ready for a coat of Tikkurila Otex. The customer had chosen a Marston & Langinger colour called Clocktower and Holman Specialist Paints tinted the Otex to perfection. I applied the paint with Nour Heritage, Proform Blaze and Staalmeester brushes.

The Otex was left to dry overnight and then lightly sanded with 400 grit pads, vacuumed and tack ragged.

I had recommended Helmi semi-matt for the top coats and once again Holmans had tinted it to the chosen colour. I applied 2 coats with a light sanding in between coats. It dried to a lovely satin finish.

The following day I cleaned inside the cupboards and drawers, re-attached the cupboard doors and drawer fronts and as a finishing touch fitted new handles.

During the process the customer had also asked me to paint the ceiling and walls white and to paint the legs of her dining room table using the Helmi paint so that they matched the kitchen units.

Once completed I handed the kitchen over to a delighted customer.

Can’t wait for my second one now.


Ah so you are Finefinish on Twitter - just realised :slight_smile: I’m the Green Giant. Really nice job on the kitchen anyway - looks good.

1 Like

Hi mark well done looks superb,look forward to seeing more off this work on here from you. With your electric socket you could loosen and cover with sandwich bag? As for your Wooster, you can buy magnet clips that clip on side or your one might be magnetic on the inside or maybe not,thats for your brush ,but apart from that thanks for sharing your excellent workmanship.

1 Like

Hi Mark, a lovely looking job there and a great advert for future work.
I just wondered about your decision to double the coats on the BIN.
Did this work for you and was it because 2 thinned coats are better than 1 full coat.
I find that applying BIN is the coat that makes the job harder than it should be (any secrets?) and wondered if anyone just knots the knots rather than BIN on all the woodwork.
Also do you kitchen painters paint inside the cupboards and do you use rollers for that?

1 Like

Hi Green Giant, yes we cross paths on Twitter don’t we.

Thanks Jason. The electric socket was loosened and taped up but thanks for the sandwich bag suggestion. The Wooster Pelican is magnetic inside and I have 3 of the brush clips too. They are really handy.

Hi pd67, thanks for your kind comment.

The double coat of BIN was recommended to me by a long standing kitchen painter. It can be very draggy and leave heavy brush marks. Diluting it 50/50 with meths makes it easier to apply and minimises the brush marks. Two thinned diluted coats is the equivalent of one full coat.

I was asked on this job if I could paint inside the cupboards but every specialist kitchen painter I’ve been spoken to has warned me off it, mainly from a durability point of view.


HI mark Russ pike passed on a good tip,my apologies if it wasn’t him and that was a metal looking adhesive tape ,that stuck inside cupboards,I think it can be bought in lakelands,it looked rather cool check it out.

1 Like

Thanks Jason, will do.

Open shelving and insides of glazed units tend to be painted. Standard cupboards, if painted inside, would literally double the cost of the painting work. Laminate is much more practical, or oiling if starting from new.


Hi Mark
That kitchen looks amazing - and tricky - with the curves and cut-outs. I bet the customer was thrilled as it looks like a brand new, expensive kitchen.
Thanks for sharing the tip re thinning Zinsser Bin then applying two coats. I used Bin recently on some awful cheap door frames installed by the builders. It’s pretty horrible to use for a newbie and then we ended up sanding quite a lot of it off! I’ll definitely go your route next time.
Any tips for the best way of attacking those curvy corner pillars (not sure what they’re officially called) as I have some stair newel posts to paint soon which are similarly curvy? I’ll be using Helmi matt.
Many thanks


Hi Liz

Thanks for your kind comments.

I treated the decorative corner posts just the same as the rest of the kitchen. Just used a smaller brush to get right in to the back of them.

I’m going to try Isofix Pegaprim next time instead of the BIN. Does the same job but from what I’ve been told it levels out better with fewer brush marks. Plus Holmans will tint it to the top coat colour.

I used Helmi semi-matt and it was a fantastic paint to apply and left a lovely finish.