19 June 2013

Burnt Biscuit to Stainless Chic: Journey of Appliances

There are two things that make me feel like a grown up: number one; going to college bars (umm, when did dresses get THAT short??) and second; having to make large purchases for our home.  I had a moment of "omigod" the other day – I was drooling over a fridge. Yeah – not shoes, makeup, or clothing… a fridge.  It’s no secret that we became proud owners of medieval appliances, and that I desperately want to update them.  However; between bills, projects, yard work, cars, life, etc. that has not made it on the short list.

The original color of our appliances was “biscuit.” While the kitchen was still in a cavesque state they weren’t offensive, just noticeably dated – because the dark wood spindles didn’t make it obvious enough.  Once the cabinets were painted, that was a different story.  “Biscuit” became “yellow curdled milk” and looked awful.

Old AppliancesOld Appliances

I had seen appliance epoxy at Lowe’s before, and I have seen a painted fridge – but never a dishwasher, oven, range top and hood.  Just as an FYI – appliance epoxy is not meant for any surfaces that are subject to prolonged periods of high heat.  After doing a bit of research – I found nothing.  Literally, it’s like the DIY world was plagued with Pissy Polly’s that day. “It’s not worth the time and effort, mine looked horrible” blah, blah, blah.  Well, if you don’t spend the time doing prep work and don’t use the right materials, then I completely agree – it’s absolutely not worth the effort at that point.

Rustoleum makes heat resistant spray paint in a variety of colors – “stainless” being one of them.  I previously used the flat black on our fire pit with great results (that reminds me, I need to post that picture soon).  No flaking, bubbling, or discoloration.  So, why not try it in gloss?  The fun part was disassembling everything – luckily I have an awesome family and they were willing to give up their Saturday to help!

In taking apart the dishwasher my brother and I realized that the front was really just a reversible panel.  All this time, I could have had a black dishwasher! To make your life easier be sure to label all of the hardware and pieces – take pictures as you take pieces apart that way you will have a reference for how to put them back together!

Deconstructed Dishwasher
Yes, we wrote how to put it back together on the cardboard inset panel -- just cool like that.

Dishwasher Panels

The oven door was fairly easy to remove – for mine; we opened the door about 4 inches and pulled straight up.  I highly recommend checking out your owner’s manual or researching your particular oven online – they all hinge differently. The door itself was two panels screwed together.  Given that everything was disgusting I went on a cleaning spree.  Being able to take the door fully apart made painting much easier, because I wasn’t worried about having to tape off the glass or handle.

The range top came off by unscrewing the heating element screws as well as the knob electrical units.  Do yourself a favor, TURN OFF THE POWER.  Kill the switch at the breaker, at 220V [fried] is an understatement.  The hood was a different story – it was snug. There were also a lot of wires that had to be disconnected and finagled, and the stupid exhaust fan.  Talk about obstacles!

Once everything was off I set everything up outside.  The first thing that I painted was the range top; to get a uniform finish spray in a smooth sweeping motion.  If you stop and start in the middle, you’ll be able to see it. Wait about an hour before you spray the second coat.  For the second coat switch directions so that you end up with a uniform finish.  This spray paint is rated up to 1200F, and unless I suddenly was gifted with a kiln, I’m fairly certain my range doesn’t get that hot.  I ended up doing 4 coats of paint – that way I could spray from each side.  Between the coats I lightly sanded with an automotive paint sanding block.  I also did this after the last coat so that the clear coat would adhere better.

Range Top, Before

Range Top, After

The oven door followed the same procedure, as did the range hood and dishwasher.  The only difference was that I used the stainless paint.  This was a little trickier, but just because I felt that it looked splotchy in some areas.  This was combated by doing a bit more sanding than I had done on the range top.  This paint is also rated up to 1200F.  The clear coat that was used on all of these pieces is actually used as a finish coat for car engines.  It is rated up to 550F.  Time will tell if this is a high enough heat rating – but given my experience cooking in my kitchen rarely do the oven door and range top get hot to the touch.

Painted Oven Door

Let everything dry longer than you think you need to – there is nothing worse than getting impatient and ruining your paint job.  Once you’ve bitten off all of your fingernails in anticipation reassemble everything, BAM! Updated appliances!!

Painted Kitchen AppliancesPainted Kitchen Appliances

The dishwasher turned out a little splotchy, but I think a little bit more sanding will fix that!

Painted Kitchen Appliances

Please let us know your thoughts, ideas & questions!

Xoxo, Kate


  1. Looks great!
    Did you change out your knobs?

  2. Thanks! The knobs are the same -- I think with the panels getting a facelift it made everything look different!

  3. Thank you for posting- I just did my oven door with a semi gloss and it was not as reflective as I was hoping and so I took your advise about the automotive clear coat and it turned out fantastic!

  4. It's always nice to hear when our tips help other DIY'ers! Super glad it turned out for you, enjoy your "new" oven!

  5. Can you specify what product you used? All I'm finding online is the 1200 degree paint and that seems extreme. About to paint my oven door. Thank you so much for this post, as you're right that there are crickets when you start to mention 'paint oven door', or yes, those darn pissy pollies :)

    1. I used Rustoleum High Heat Paint in stainless and black, which is rated up to 1200F -- it may sound extreme, but typical spray paint isn't for high heat areas, so I felt that it was better to be safe than sorry...and that's what was available. I recommend using a high heat primer first (typically advertised as automotive engine primer), as I've experienced some chipping with mine and I didn't primer first (project for the upcoming weekend!) -- please share your results with us!

  6. Oo! I'm so excited to try this - we are redoing our kitchen on a tight budget and the oven is the only appliance that is white. As soon as we thaw out a bit from this super snowy winter, I'm going to try it. I'll take pictures and let you know how it worked!!

  7. hmm, I think my post disappeared! Anyway, I'm excited to try this - redoing our kitchen on a budget and don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on a new stove. I'll take before and after pics!

    1. Elise -- your post didn't disappear (I just wasn't diligent in checking our email to approve it, oops!). I definitely recommend cleaning everything with a strong de-greaser, sanding the existing appliance with a fine grit block, priming with a high heat (typically automotive) primer and then painting your finish coats. I know it seems like a lot of steps, but I didn't sand/prime after cleaning and before spraying and ended up with some chips. Good luck, can't wait to see it!!