The Ultimate Guide to Cabinet Painting – Everything You Need to Know

Cabinet painting can be a great way to freshen up a room without the expense of replacing cabinets. But it takes time and patience to get a good, even finish.

Start by emptying your cabinets and removing the doors and drawer fronts. Then use a foam sanding block to lightly scuff surfaces so they adhere better, and wipe them down with a damp rag.


Cabinet painting services can give your kitchen a facelift without the cost of new cabinets. However, it’s a project that requires careful preparation and the right techniques to ensure long-lasting results. 

Removing all the doors and hardware from your cabinets before starting to paint is important. Not only does this make the process much easier, but it helps to prevent any mishaps like messes or drips. Keep all the hardware in a bag or container and label each door so they can be easily put back together when it’s time.

Light sanding of the cabinetry is also recommended before beginning to paint. This will help smooth out any rough spots and ensure the paint has a nice, even finish. An electric sander is easiest, but you can do it with fine-grit sandpaper and a tack cloth. After sanding, wipe down all surfaces with a damp and tack cloth to remove dust or particles that could waft into the finished paint job.

Finally, it is important to choose the right kind of primer and tint for your cabinets. Consult a local painting store expert to ensure you get the best product for your cabinets. A good quality primer and tint will help your top coat of paint to hold up against daily wear and tear.


When it comes to painting cabinets, a good primer is the foundation that helps your paint job last. It will prevent the wood from showing through the finish, help your new coats adhere to the surface, and block water, smoke, or soot.

The type of primer you need depends on your cabinets’ condition and the paint color you’re replacing. If you are repainting over natural wood, choose an oil-based primer to keep tannins from bleeding through the new paint and staining the wood (latex primers are less stain resistant).

If your cabinets have a smooth painted or lacquered finish, quickly wiping them down with soapy water is usually enough to prepare them for a new coat of paint. However, if the cabinet wood looks worn or dry and is flaking or chipping, sanding it to roughen the surface before priming lightly is best.

Use a moist cloth to clean the surfaces after sanding to remove any dust or dirt. Then, use a brush or a roller to apply your primer. A brush is good for small areas and difficult-to-reach regions, while a roller is quicker and produces a smooth, uniform finish. Before adding your first layer of paint, allow the primer to dry as directed on the package.


If you paint cabinets, it’s worth the extra effort and expense to purchase the best paint you can afford. Good quality paint will last longer and look better, making your project easier in the long run.

Whether you’re painting over old oil-based paint or starting from scratch, choose latex paint for cabinets. It stands up to moisture better than traditional oil-based paints and can easily be wiped clean. Use a high-density foam roller or a wide brush about 3 to 4 inches wide for the smoothest finish. For doors with molding, an angled brush is best for getting into corners and edges.

It’s important to prime the surface before you start painting, especially if your cabinet boxes are unfinished or have a glossy laminate finish. Select an oil-based primer to help keep tannins from bleeding through the top coat (latex primers are less stain-resistant). Pick a stain blocker for an even smoother surface if you paint over bare wood or have previously painted cabinets.

Removing all the door and drawer hardware before you begin is also a good idea. This will make putting them back together much easier once the paint is dry. As you take each cabinet door off, number it. This will make it easy to put the right one back in the same place when finished.


Painting kitchen cabinets is a cost-effective and eco-friendly way to upgrade your home’s look. However, cabinet painting isn’t a task for the faint of heart. The worst part of the job is scrubbing off years of grime. It’s time-consuming, leaving your hands sticky, and you may curse the previous homeowners.

After scrubbing your cabinets, lightly sand them to prepare them for painting. This step is essential to a quality finish. Make sure to use fine-grit sandpaper and sand until the surface feels smooth to the touch. After sanding, remove the dust with a shop vac or cloth. A traditional painter’s tool called a tack cloth is a good way to catch dust and debris, and it’s inexpensive and easy to use. Unfold the tack cloth and loosely bunch it up, then wipe it over surfaces to collect and hold dust. Replace it frequently and when the cloth becomes dull.

If you want the appearance of brush strokes, use a premium brush and multiple coats of paint to cover the whole surface. Utilizing a foam roller will also enable you to save time and work. Try out several roller sleeves to find which one suits you the best. There are several types available. Most home improvement stores and paint shops carry them. If you apply paint with a roller, back buff it afterward to level and smooth it.