How To Get A Smooth Finish When Painting Kitchen Cabinets?

Painting your kitchen cabinets is an easy process that can give a total transformation of your kitchen. If you’re at a crossroads, whether to go for it, the answer is yes, and you’ll be happy with the results.

For the job of how to get a smooth finish when painting kitchen cabinets to be successful, there is a need to prepare adequately, budget early and have all the materials ready.

Unlike ordinary wood, cabinets have different finishes that require special attention when repainting.

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets?

A renovation may be expensive, and repainting your cabinet gives your kitchen a fresh appeal. Instead of replacing the old cabinets, we have a cheap solution on how you can paint them and get value.

Keep scrolling as we dig deeper into how to paint the kitchen cabinet.


awesome kitchen cabinet

Preparation involves gathering the right materials for the project. There’s a need to set some money aside for this project.

The planning process also involves moving things from the kitchen to a neighboring room for a temporary duration. It’s also critical to inform the rest of the family members about the upcoming project.

For starters, it’s worth noting that there are different types of cabinets from metals, wood, or wood laminate. These are easy to repaint effortlessly.

However, plastic cabinets are difficult to paint and may resist a fresh coat.

Also, laminate surfaces normally require a primer to create a cohesive bond. Conversely, the surface must be in good condition for better results and may require special paint, which will cost more.

If the drawers have plastic laminate materials, consult with your paint store and test the paint before ordering. It’s important to check whether the paint will attach well to the surface.

 It’s critical first to read the label on the paint container before buying just to be sure you make the right purchase. Quality is an essential consideration to allow for a fine polish and smooth cabinet.

Also, flat-faced doors or drawers are easy to paint when you compare with wooden types that have raised blocks. If the wood is severely damaged, then there may need to do some repair work before painting.

Similarly, if they are beyond repair, then consider replacing with new ones.

For this project, you’ll need the following materials

  • Paint
  • Materials needed
  • A paintbrush,
  • A paint bucket
  • Paint roller naps
  • Primer
  • Sandpaper
  • Sanding block
  • Vacuum
  • Screwdriver

Foam Roller

When it comes to painting, there are two options here, the oil-based and latex types. The type of paint will determine the type of brush to use for this exercise.

There are several options of painting your drawers; you may spray, and brush or roll with a gentle bristles brush. Decide on the option that you find the ideal for your situation.

Preferably a two inches long paintbrush is ideal for this project. Look for a high-quality paintbrush, for oil paints. A synthetic or normal bristle option is preferable.

However, water-based paints require brushes with synthetic bristles for better results.

A paint bucket is important as it reduces the mess that would occur when using a can. It prevents the paint from splattering everywhere when paining. The ideal paint bucket should have lips on the side for wiping the pain.

A magnet on the interior grips the brush when not in use.

These are suitable for raising the flat cabinets. Choose at least a quarter inches to produce a fine finish. A thick roller may cause rough texture on a smooth surface. A foam roller is necessary for covering all the cabinet sides and the frames.

Below here, we look at the procedure of painting a kitchen cabinet.

  • Unfasten the doors and the knobs

white color kitchen cabinet

Some cabinets have screws that attach the doors to the frames. Using the screwdriver, loosen the hinges on the doors and the knobs on the drawers or door.

Where the hinge feature extra screws, take care not to interfere with the screws.

The next step is to remove the shelves’ faces, which are found inside the drawers. It’s vital to put these parts in a small enclosure to prevent losing any parts.

Number the doors to correspond with the location where you removed them. It helps to prevent mixing the doors and the hinges, which might give you a problem when reinstalling them.

If you only need to paint the drawer faces, there won’t be any need to remove the slides. However, when removing the slides, clearly put marks on the hem and the location to prevent mix-ups.

  • Clean the cabinet surfaces

The next step involves cleaning the cabinet surfaces on areas for painting. Even if your cabinets appear clean, there may be some grease or grime trapped beneath the surfaces.

Cover any open places such as the floors or countertops. You can use rosin papers or drop cloths and masking tape for holding the cover. A scrubbing sponge is also ideal for cleaning the grease.

Cleaning before painting helps in cleaning the grease for proper adherence of the paint. A grease cutter that is readily available in the hardware is suitable for cleaning.

Normally a phosphate-free material is ideal and requires mixing with warm water.

It’s important to follow the instructions and wear protective clothing such as gloves. Gently with a soft cloth and rinse thoroughly using warm water.

  • Repair any dents, holes, and grooves

If there are any holes, grooves, or dents in your cabinet, it’s important to repair them before painting. Repairing also depends on the type of hardware used before painting.

For instance, if it’s of a different size, then there may be holes that need filling.

Underneath the holes, place tape and fill using a wood filler. For any excess, wipe using a wet cloth. The next step is to squeeze a hardener in the hole or dent and spread using a putty knife.

There’s no need to worry if it overfills since you can flatten the surface using sandpaper. However, before using sandpaper, let the filled surface dry completely.

  • Sand the cabinet surface

Before painting, sanding is necessary as it scuffs and dulls the cabinet surfaces. It helps ease the priming process.

If you just want to give your cabinets a facelift, then sanding won’t be necessary. Similarly, there’ll be no need to paint the interior of the cabinets.

In this case, you can mark the inside using a tape and sand the exterior and visible areas such as the frames.

A sanding block is useful for flat surfaces and the sandpaper for corners and rounded edges. Using the vacuum, clear off the dust particles and wipe using a sticky garment which is available in any hardware or paint stores.

A high-pressure vacuum is ideal since it has the capacity to blow out all the dust even from gaps or molds. Ensure all the sand particles are completely wiped off for a smooth paint application.

If the old paint is still in good condition, there’ll be no need to remove it. However, you can just coarsen the entire surface so that the new paint can hold firmly.

Also, cleaning the base allows for a high-quality adhesion. You can pay attention to areas that appear a little bit worn and sand any shiny places to roughen. There may be some hard, tough finishes, and these will need alcohol or steel wool to soften.

There may be some flakes of old paint, and this may interfere with the adhesion. When moisture content, air, or oil gets on the paint layer, it may cause flaking and affect a fresh layer of paint.

Therefore sand or prime before applying paint. When sanding natural wood, blend the corners too where old paint and wood meet.

If you’re on a budget and don’t have sandpaper, you can also use a de-glosser and wipe the cabinets using a washcloth.

  • Priming the doors and drawer surfaces

Applying a primer requires using a high-quality brush to allow for even application and a smooth coat. Prime sealers help reduce the sanding exercise and also deglazes some old paints before a new paint application.

A prime sealer also provides an ideal surface for water paints and semi-gloss. In the olden days, high-quality gloss paint was necessary for painting kitchen cabinets since it was easier to clean.

However, recently water-based paints are ideas and provide a long-lasting finish.

Using a piece of a drop cloth or a newspaper cover the surface you’re working on. Raise the doors and their faces using wooden scraps to enable painting the corners.

It helps prevent sticking to the newspaper of cloth when drying.

You can also use the thumbtacks to raise the surface and prevent the door from touching the ground when you flip over.

There’s no difference between priming and painting. It’s only that painting is more detailed and involving focusing on brushing longer and even strokes. However, priming is just painting a little.

When it comes to flat surfaces, begin painting from one edge while overlapping long strokes from the bottom to the top.

If the door is raised, begin painting from the top, then end with the lower parts. Therefore it means you’ll begin painting the frame part, proceed to the center, and the area between the center and the frame.

When the top area dries, turn the doors and begin priming the lower side.

  • Priming the cabinets

After priming the doors, the next step is to prime all cabinets. It helps if you can use masking tape to cover the adjacent areas and prevent painting them.

The area between the cabinet and the wall, floor, or the top need to be separated. A tapered brush helps in painting this area.

Foam Roller Vs. Spraying Vs. Brush

Now, there are three ways you can get through your painting job on a cabinet. You can either use a foam roller or a spray, or a brush to paint the cabinets.

Each of them has its advantages and disadvantages. Let’s check out which one is better for what situation.

  • Spraying

This is probably one of the best and quickest ways you can paint your kitchen cabinets. Not to mention, it’s very easy at the same time. However, the cost may be an issue for you.

Also, you will need to take some safety precautions when spray painting.

To do this, you will either have to buy an airless sprayer, or you will have to rent one. Well, if this is a one-time thing for you, then buying doesn’t make any sense.

In that case, you can rent one for your needs. Either way, it will cost you way more than the other methods.

  • Foam rolling

With this method, you can cost-effectively do the job. You won’t have to spend too much money on the equipment. However, in this way, you will need to put more time and effort into the painting.

Also, you have to be careful of the air bubbles on the paint when you use a foam roller. Make sure not to put a thick layer of painting while using a foam roller.

In short, you will need to be careful of a lot of stuff.

  • Brush

Well, using a brush is the most manual form of painting you can do on your cabinet. It gives you more control, but it also takes a lot of time and effort to do so.

You constantly need to be careful about not spreading the paint too thin or thick.

Having said that, it’s a super cheap way to paint. You probably have a paintbrush at your home already, so you don’t even have to buy anything.

And even if you do, they are very cheap so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Now, which method you choose is up to you. If you want to save up some money, you can either go for foam rolling or brush. Between these two, foam rolling is quicker and easier.

And if you don’t mind spending some bucks, then spraying is the best way to get the smoothest results.

How To Get A Smooth Finish When Painting Kitchen Cabinets?

painting kitchen cabinet

By starting from the inside, you can quickly finish the other areas which are not very critical. Also, it’s possible to see and any dripping of oil or any smudge on visible surfaces.

If there are any raised areas, allow the paint to flow on any gaps or corners. It helps in preventing the accumulation of paint in these areas.

Begin by dipping the brush into the bucket full of paint. Start painting from the area where the cabinet meets the wall on the sides: paint long strokes and prime the front area of the cabinet.

Consider painting thin and light paint coats on all surfaces, including hidden edges. The advantage of thin layers is that their brushstrokes are invisible, and they tend to dry fast.

Refrain from overworking the paintbrush as air pockets might get trapped inside, and this will leave bumps or pits after drying.

After around three to four coats, allow drying then sand again the areas lightly in preparation for the second layer of paint. Remember to wipe the sanding particles using a tack cloth and after that repaint.

When repainting, you may use longer strokes and then allow them to dry. Apply a second layer of paint, and when it dries, you may consider a third coat.

The third layer of paint is ideal on kitchen cabinets due to the heat and overuse. Therefore a thick paint will be necessary as it gives wood protection.

Some people ignore painting the hardware. However, this is necessary to give your kitchen a fresh look. A sprayer is ideal since the hardware is small. After spraying, let them dry before attaching them to the cabinet.

  • Reattach the drawers and the doors

Before replacing the doors, put some marks before reattaching new hardware. You may use a pencil to mark the doors and the drawer faces.

In the end, reattach the doors, including the drawers. Drill the hardware and start screwing while tightening the hardware. Now watch the video on how to paint kitchen cabinet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I paint over painted cabinets?

Usually, there is no problem in painting over existing paints. However, if the old paint is chipping away or peeling off, you should first scrape it.

Otherwise, your new painting job will not last for long, and it will not look smooth at all.

Is sanding necessary?

Sanding plays a vital role when it comes to smooth painting. If you don’t sand before painting, there are higher chances of leaving bumps.

Also, sanding greatly helps in the bonding process of paint and primer, which will help you get better results.

What is better, an oil-based primer or a latex-based primer?

Oil-based primers are a better choice because of the strength you get in the bond with them. Also, they can cover wood grains very easily.

The only time you should prefer using latex primer is when oil primers are banned for VOCs.

Should I wet my brush before painting?

It’s better to start painting with a dry brush rather than wetting your brush, especially if you have oil-based paint because it can completely ruin the pain since they both don’t mix well.


Painting a kitchen cabinet is an easy procedure if you know how to get a smooth finish when painting kitchen cabinets; however, it requires early preparation for better results.

It is vital to have all the materials ready and consult with your hardware or paint stores. Locally available materials are cheap, and the entire process will cost you less when you compare to a complete renovation.

By following instructions on the paint label and using the right brushes, your kitchen cabinet will have a fresh coat of paint that will highlight a new look to your kitchen.

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