Peeling Or Bubbling Kitchen Cabinets: How To Fix And Prevent4 min read

Over time, kitchen cupboards can become scratched, scuffed, or dented due to daily use and exposure to spills and splashes. And these are just a few examples of many possible types of damage to which your kitchen cabinets are susceptible. So, what’s the best way to fix it?

Many types of kitchen cupboard repairs can be done to address surface damage. These include sanding the cabinets, a fresh coat of paint, or replacing damaged sections entirely. Which option works best for your cabinets will depend on the type and extent of the damage.

Naturally, hygiene and aesthetics are factors in keeping your kitchen cabinets in the best condition possible. To understand what will work best for your damaged cabinets, let’s look at the different methods and kinds of repairs. 

what’s behind the peeling paint on my cabinets?

Peeling paint on cabinets can be caused by various factors, including:

  • Poor surface preparation: If the surface is not cleaned or sanded properly before painting, the paint may not adhere properly and start to peel.
  • High humidity or moisture levels: Exposure to high moisture levels can cause the paint to blister and peel.
  • Using the wrong type of paint: Using paint unsuitable for the type of surface or exposure to the elements can result in peeling.
  • Age of the paint: Over time, paint can deteriorate and start to peel, especially if it is not applied correctly or exposed to harsh elements.
  • Improper application: If you applied the paint unevenly or did not apply multiple coats, this can lead to peeling.
  • Exposure to heat: Cabinets near a stove or oven can get exposed to high levels of heat, which can cause the paint to bubble and peel.
Peeling Kitchen Cabinet
My kitchen cabinets tend to peel at the corners

what are the essentials for cabinet repair?

To repair peeling paint on cabinets, you will need the following items:

  • Clean rags
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Putty knife or scraper
  • Primer
  • Paint 
  • Paintbrush or roller
  • Painter’s tape
  • Drop cloth or plastic sheeting

You may also need additional tools and supplies depending on the extent of the peeling and the type of cabinets you have. 

Before starting the repair process, clean the cabinets thoroughly and allow them to dry completely.

6 steps to Repair Peeling or Bubbling Cabinets

  1. Clean the cabinets: Use a clean cloth or rag to remove any dirt, grease, or dust from the surface of the cabinets. That will ensure the repair will adhere properly.
  1. Sand the surface: Use fine-grit sandpaper to lightly sand the surface of the peeling or bubbled areas. That will help create a rough surface for the primer.
  1. Remove any loose paint: Use a putty knife or scraper to remove any loose paint from the surface gently. If there are large areas of peeling paint, you may need to sand the surface down to the bare wood to ensure a solid foundation for the repair.
  1. Apply primer: Apply a thin, even coat of primer to the surface of the repaired area. The primer will help bond the new paint to the surface and prevent further peeling. Allow the primer to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  1. Paint the surface: Once the primer is dry, apply paint to the surface using a paintbrush or roller. Apply an even, thin coat and allow the paint to dry completely. If necessary, apply a second coat of paint for full coverage.
  1. Clean up: Once the paint has dried, remove any painter’s tape and clean up any debris or drops of paint. Your repaired cabinets should now have a smooth, even finish.

Note: If the surface of your cabinets is highly damaged, removing and replacing the damaged sections may be better than attempting to repair them.

recommended Paint for Kitchen Cabinets

When choosing paint for kitchen cabinets, it is important to select a type of paint that is durable, easy to clean, and resistant to heat and moisture. 

Some of the best types of paint for kitchen cabinets include:

  • Oil-based paint is a popular choice for kitchen cabinets because it is durable and resistant to moisture. However, it has a strong odor and takes longer to dry than other types of paint.
  • Latex paint is water-based and dries quickly, making it a good choice for kitchen cabinets. It is also low-odor and easy to clean but may not be as durable as oil-based paint.
  • Acrylic enamel is a paint specifically designed for cabinetry and furniture. It is highly durable, resistant to heat and moisture, and dries to a hard, smooth finish.
  • Chalk paint is a type of paint that dries to a soft, matte finish and can be easily distressed for a vintage look. However, it may not be as durable or resistant to moisture as other types of paint.

Regardless of the type of paint you choose, carefully follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application. 

Also, consider using a clear coat or sealant to protect the surface of your cabinets from wear and tear.

Best Alternatives to Paint for Kitchen Cupboards

Whilst paint can be convenient for refinishing kitchen cabinets, there are other alternatives that provide a different look and feel.


Laminate is a popular alternative to paint for kitchen cupboards as it is available in a wide range of colors and finishes and is easy to clean and maintain.


Veneer is a thin layer of wood applied to the cabinets’ surface to create a new look. Veneer is available in various wood grains and finishes, giving your cabinets a natural, warm appearance.

Stains And Glazes

Stains and glazes can be applied to the surface of the cabinets to give them a new look and finish. Stains are available in various colors and can enhance the wood’s natural grain. In contrast, glazes get used to add depth and dimension to the cabinets.


Refacing involves covering the existing cabinets with a new veneer or laminate to give them a fresh look. That is a cost-effective alternative to replacing the cabinets and can be done quickly and easily.

Ultimately, the best alternative to paint for your kitchen cupboards will depend on your budget, the condition of your cabinets, and the look you are trying to achieve.

Which Kitchen Cupboard Finishes Are the Most Durable?

Kitchen cabinets will take knocks and are meant to last 10 years plus, so it’s important to choose the most durable option. If you’re considering buying new kitchen cabinets, I wrote another article reviewing the quality differences between Lowes and Home Depot kitchen cabinets.

Oil-Based Polyurethane

Oil-based polyurethane is a durable finish that provides a hard, protective coating over the wood. This type of finish is resistant to moisture, heat, and abrasion and is a popular choice for kitchen cupboards.


Lacquer is a type of finish that dries quickly and provides a hard, glossy surface. This type of finish is resistant to moisture and heat but may scratch more easily than other finishes.

Conversion Varnish

Conversion varnish is a finish that dries to a hard, durable surface. This finish is resistant to moisture and heat and is also highly resistant to fading and yellowing.

Powder Coating

Powder coating is a type of finish that gets applied to the surface of the cabinets in a fine powder form. This finish dries to a hard, durable surface that is resistant to moisture and heat and is also highly resistant to fading and yellowing.

The Cost of Repairing Kitchen Cabinets

The cost of repairing kitchen cabinets will depend on several factors, including:

  • The extent of the damage: If the damage is minor, such as small chips or scratches, the repair will likely be less expensive than if the entire cabinet surface needs to be sanded and repainted.
  • The type of paint and materials used: The cost of the paint, primer and other materials needed for the repair will vary based on the quality and type of paint used.
  • The size of the cabinets: The larger the cabinets, the more paint and materials will be needed, which can increase the repair cost.
  • The cost of labor: If you hire a professional to complete the repair, the cost of labor will be an additional factor to consider.

In general, minor repairs to kitchen cabinets can cost anywhere from $100 to $500. More extensive repairs or repainting an entire set of cabinets can cost $1,000 to $5,000 or more. 

It’s best to get quotes from several professionals to get a more accurate repair cost estimate.

+ posts

Hi, I'm Ed, and I run BuildFanatic! I enjoy providing the best possible information on a range of home improvement topics.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *