How Do You Paint Kitchen Cabinets?

How Do You Paint Kitchen Cabinets?

Painting kitchen cabinets is an affordable way to refresh the space without breaking the bank for new replacements, but proper technique must be utilized for durability.

To complete this project, it is essential to sanding surfaces to remove glossy coating and prep for painting. A deglosser can make this task simpler and less dusty.

Getting Started

Refurbishing cabinets is a huge project that takes considerable time. To be sure you are successful at it, be realistic about your abilities and expectations for the final result; if you want a professional finish with no flaws or drips it may be best to hire professional painters instead.

Locate and prepare a work area, ideally in the garage or an unused room of your house that can be well ventilated for paint fumes. Cover floors and furniture with plastic, taping edges of plastic to avoid paint getting onto other objects in the room, then set up sawhorses or tables as sawhorses or tables for working on cabinet doors and drawer fronts.

At this stage, it’s advisable to store hinges and knobs/handles in labeled zip top bags so you can easily reassemble them when completed. This also helps prevent you from repainting them by mistake or pairing the wrong hinges with doors. Some types of wood such as oak may feature open pores which must be filled using spackling in order to achieve a seamless surface finish.


Before painting cabinets, it is essential that they are thoroughly prepared. No matter if the cabinets are new or old, cleaning and lightly sanding all surfaces must be performed prior to priming. Also important: the removal and labeling of hardware (hinges, handles and knobs). Placed into separate baggies they can later be reassembled later if need be.

Most often, using 220-grit sandpaper will help prepare the surface of your wooden cabinet doors for painting. This step ensures that a new coat of paint will adhere properly and won’t chip or flake away over time.

Once you’re ready to begin, apply a thin coat of stain-blocking, bonding primer such as Fresh Start High-Hiding All-Purpose Primer ($7 on Amazon) or ADVANCE and allow them to dry completely before applying your second layer. Sand with 220-grit paper once or more as necessary until all layers have dried – this ensures that your new paint adhers to cabinet surfaces for years.


Primers are one of the essential components to ensure long-lasting paint jobs, protecting cabinets from moisture damage while creating an ideal surface for better adhesion and accurate color reflection.

Before applying primer, wipe down surfaces to remove dust or debris that could compromise your finish. Also, if you plan to reattach cabinet doors and hardware after your project has concluded, number them with a pencil as they come off so reattaching them later will be much simpler.

There is a wide range of primer options to consider depending on what kind of paint you will be using, including oil-based primers that require mineral spirits for cleanup and have strong odors; in contrast, water-based formulas clean up with water and are free from volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. Another viable choice would be Zinnser Seal Coat Shellac which comes dewaxed and won’t cause adhesion problems with subsequent top coats.


Rather than replacing cabinets completely, paint provides an easier and less expensive alternative that allows for customization of your cabinetry.

Use a high-density foam roller or brush to apply an oil-based primer, which not only blocks stain but also provides a durable long-term surface resistant to chipping and peeling. The oil-based primer dries more slowly than latex but offers longer-term protection that resists chipping and peeling.

Once the primer dries, use either an orbital or hand sander to smooth its surface before vacuuming often to remove sawdust from it. A second coat of primer may often be required.

When applying the actual paint, use both a brush and roller. A high-quality latex paint should only need two coats.