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Do You Paint Cabinets Before Installing Countertops?

Remodeling a kitchen or bathroom requires a lot of planning and the coordination of multiple tasks, even if you hire contractors to do all of the work.

Many people run into issues as they try to avoid doing anything that would damage their cabinets or their countertops. 

Thankfully, if your cabinets only need to be painted, it typically does not matter if they are painted before or after the countertops are installed, especially if skilled contractors are putting the countertops in, as these people are both careful and skilled. 

Keep reading to learn about how to optimize cabinet and countertop remodeling based on your overall plan. 

Cabinets vs Countertops: When to Do What 

What needs to be done first really depends on how much work is going into the cabinets, as well as whether you or contractors will be doing that work.

To determine if you need to paint the cabinets first or have the countertops installed, consider the following: 

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If Cabinets Only Need Painted 

If the cabinets only need painted, you can have them painted before or after the countertops are installed.

It is unlikely that the cabinets will be affected in any way unless whoever is installing the countertops is extremely careless. 

Some contractors do advise that you should paint the cabinets after the countertops are installed, as there is a chance that the colors in the countertop may look somewhat different than you expected.

Your lighting can bring out different hues in the countertop, which may change what color of paint you prefer for the cabinets. 

If Cabinets Are Being Remodeled 

On the other hand, if your cabinets are being remodeled or repositioned in addition to being painted, they should be removed and worked on before anything is done with the countertops.

Doing things in this order has many advantages and prevents several setbacks. 

Since you will already need to take the cabinets out, you can paint the entirety of each cabinet without having to worry about missing spots that you would otherwise potentially have to cover with trim at some later time.

Keep in mind that you can always repaint the cabinets or change your lighting if the countertops end up looking slightly different than you had expected. 

You will also have the chance to inspect the backs of each cabinet for problems like cracks.

If you do find any cracks, this may alter your remodeling plans, as it might be easier to replace the cabinets than attempt to fix a very old or flimsy set. 

In terms of stopping setbacks, reinstalling the cabinets after they have been remodeled and painted prevents the countertops from cracking or being in the way.

Granite countertops in particular have a lot of ore veins that can also act as weak points, so it is best not to put stress on them by installing the countertops after the cabinets have been worked on and anchored. 

If Experts Are Doing the Work

People who remodel homes for a living will probably have their own ideas of how to go about setting up your dream bathroom or kitchen.

However, a credible contractor will discuss these with you prior to doing any work. 

Your expert will probably tell you the same things that have been outlined in this article, but some contractors or companies prefer to do things differently or in a specific way. 

Again, you should not have to worry if they are only painting the cabinets, but if they insist on installing the countertops before uninstalling the cabinets, you should probably fire them to prevent them from doing permanent damage to your countertops. 

Tips for Working on the Cabinets and Countertops Yourself  

While many people paint their own cabinets, installing countertops is much more difficult, and doing so yourself is not recommended.

However, the following advice applies to taking a do it yourself (DIY) approach to both of these tasks: 

Take Your Time 

One of the biggest mistakes that people make, especially when painting, is rushing to finish the job.

Although painting may seem like a simple way to completely change the look and feel of a room, this process still requires patience. 

If you rush, you might forget an important step like priming or dusting the cabinets before painting them.

Most experts claim that painting kitchen cabinets properly should take at least four days, maybe even a week if you factor in time for the paint to cure. 

Although you are less likely to rush the countertop installation, it is easier to make mistakes.

It is best to proceed with this process slowly and carefully. 

Use the Right Tools 

Be sure to check that you have all of the right tools and supplies before you attempt to work on your cabinets or your countertops.

Installing a countertop requires several special tools that most people do not have laying around in their homes.

At the very least, consult with the countertop supplier for advice and to double check that you have everything you need. 


If you are only painting the cabinets, it does not matter if they get painted before or after the countertops are installed.

Some experts do recommend painting the cabinets after installing the countertops, as your lighting can bring out unexpected hues in the countertop and alter the look of your remodel. 

Keep in mind that the cabinets should be worked on first if they also need remodeled, as this will prevent the countertops from getting cracked after they have been installed.