My kitchen cabinets (doors and sides of pantry) have a dated vinyl finish. I'd like just plain matte white cabinets and have been looking online but white vinyl wrapped ones seem to be around $50 per door.

Considering the vinyl is in reasonable condition, would there be any issue if I just painted the existing cabinets, vinyl and all, with white paint and a roller (or even spray paint)?

3 Answers 3


I'll venture a couple of hints without having seen the cabinets. First of all you'll need to degrease them with a good washing. Even though they're in the pantry and not the kitchen you want to minimize surprises later. I'd also consider abrading the vinyl by running a fine sandpaper over it; The small scratches will give better adhesion while being invisible under the paint.

Primer is mandatory with a questionable surface. Primers have a higher concentration of resins, hence better adhesion than paints. I'd shy away from anything purporting to be paint+primer in one can though. Ditto for the "house brand" primers in hardware stores, get one you know will adhere to plastic.

If appearance is especially important your best bet is a paint store, which generally features better advice and products than hardware stores. Make sure you tell them you're painting over vinyl so you get the correct primer.

If cost is paramount, it's off to the hardware store. I know Rustoleum markets a bunch of specialty coverings, notably XIM high-adhesion primers. (Including a "bonder" intended for plastic.) I'd try a coat of that or the local equivalent under the paint of your choice.


Realistically, no if the vinyl has held up well so far, but it also shouldn't be too much work to peel off the vinyl to prep for refinishing. That said, depending on the cabinets, you could have particle board or MDF underneath, which you wouldn't want directly exposed for painting due to porosity. In that case, lightly scuffing the vinyl with any abrasive, priming, then painting should suffice to give a good coating.

The only real concern I know of with painting over vinyl is the potential for bubbling or warping issues with the vinyl transferring through the painted surface. Like I said, though, if the vinyl has held up well for a good amount of time, I can't foresee any of those issues happening easily.

  • 1
    There are vinyl paints that would be better than trying to remove the vinyl.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 14:10

I did this: cheap melamine kitchen cabinets were dark purple, all scuffed with 120 grit sandpaper (orbital sander and hand sanding routed grooves) paint with brush Dulux maximum adhesion primer and two coats with my small roller of Dulux pale tendril quarter (white that throws a little green). Finish is great and holding up well will need gentle touch up roller but this is my house paint colour just in the semi-gloss for trims so I have this paint on hand.

  • 1
    Melamine & vinyl are different substances. Are you sure that the sanding you seem to be recommending as a prep step won't just go right through the OP's vinyl?
    – FreeMan
    Commented May 22 at 11:58

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