Should I Paint Kitchen Cabinets or Install Quartz Countertop First?

Updating your kitchen can be an exciting yet daunting task. Two of the most popular kitchen upgrades are installing new countertops and repainting cabinets. When renovating your kitchen, a common question is which one you should tackle first – painting the cabinets or installing the new quartz countertops? Here is an in-depth look at the pros and cons of each option to help you decide the ideal order for your kitchen remodel.

Overview of Painting Kitchen Cabinets vs Installing Quartz Countertops

Painting kitchen cabinets and installing quartz countertops can both make a dramatic impact on the look and feel of your kitchen. Here is a quick overview of each option:

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

  • Less expensive option compared to new countertops
  • Allows you to change color and update style
  • Quicker process than replacing cabinets
  • Low commitment since you can repaint down the road

Installing Quartz Countertops

  • Durability and stain/scratch resistance
  • Ease of maintenance
  • Stylish updated look
  • Large variety of colors and patterns
  • Increases home value more than painted cabinets

Should You Paint Cabinets or Install Countertops First?

When planning your kitchen refresh, deciding the order of cabinet painting and countertop installation depends on your specific kitchen and renovation goals. Here are some things to consider:

Paint Cabinets First

Tackling cabinet painting first can make the most sense if:

  • Your current countertops are in good condition. No need to replace them yet.
  • You want to spread out costs of the kitchen remodel over time.
  • Your cabinets need a color change more than your countertops need replacing.
  • You plan to replace cabinet hardware so want to paint first.

Painting the cabinets initially allows you to give your kitchen a mini makeover for a smaller price point before investing in new countertops later on. Since painting cabinets is the faster, more affordable update, it can be smart to start there.

Install Countertops First

Installing new quartz counters before painting makes sense if:

  • Your current countertops are very outdated or damaged.
  • You want a seamless, uninterrupted look for the new countertops.
  • You plan to make changes to the cabinet layout or replace cabinets.
  • Your cabinet boxes are in good shape, but doors and hardware need updating.

Since quartz countertop installation is a bigger project, you may want to tackle this first. Then you can paint the cabinets to match the new counters without disrupting or damaging the freshly installed quartz.

Key Considerations for Order of Updates

Whichever order you choose, here are some important factors to keep in mind:

  • Mess and dust: Painting creates a lot of dust so if you paint first, thoroughly clean surfaces before installing new counters. Countertop installation also creates debris, so prep and mask off cabinets if installing quartz first.
  • Backsplashes: If doing counters first, wait to install any new backsplash until after painting cabinets to avoid damage.
  • Paint splatter: Cover countertops well during painting if doing cabinets first to prevent splatters and drips on new quartz.
  • Edge details: If painting cabinets first, be extra careful painting the cabinet edges next to countertops.
  • Connections: Make sure wall paint, countertop edges, and cabinet finishes all flow together seamlessly.

Pro Tips for Successful Painted Cabinets

If you opt to paint your kitchen cabinets before new countertops, follow these pro tips:

  • Clean cabinets thoroughly to remove grease and grime so the paint adheres well.
  • Sand and prime cabinets properly before painting for long-lasting results.
  • Remove doors and hardware to paint separately for easiest access.
  • Apply thin coats of high-quality cabinet paint in a smooth, even application.
  • Allow proper dry time between coats and before reinstalling doors and hardware.
  • Seal painted surfaces with polyurethane for added protection when done.


Should I paint cabinets and install new countertops at the same time?

It’s generally not recommended to take on both big kitchen projects simultaneously. Doing one update first allows you to focus on it completely, then refresh with the second project.

Should I get new hardware before or after painting cabinets?

If possible, install new hardware after painting. Removing old hardware allows for a thorough paint job. Plus, you can match new hardware style perfectly to your freshly painted cabinets.

Can I install quartz counters myself or should I hire a pro?

Quartz countertop installation is a challenging DIY project. Hiring a professional ensures proper cutting, seamless seaming, durability of materials, and customized fabrication.

How long does it take to paint kitchen cabinets?

The cabinet painting process takes 2-3 days total allowing for thorough prep, 2-3 coats of paint, and ample dry time between steps.

Should I repaint my kitchen cabinets or just replace them?

If cabinet boxes are solid wood and layout works well, repainting is an affordable option to refresh the look. For damaged cabinets or layout changes, replacement may be the better route.


The decision between painting cabinets or installing new quartz counters first comes down to your budget, project scope, and design priorities. Carefully evaluate the condition of your existing kitchen components. Identify which update makes the most sense to tackle initially. By thoughtfully planning the stages of your kitchen remodel, you can achieve a cohesive, stunning result. With some strategic prep work and expert execution, you can have beautifully painted cabinets seamlessly integrating with fresh, modern quartz countertops for your dream kitchen.