How to Achieve a Smooth Cabinet Painted Finish

Different styles of kitchen cabinets require unique methods for applying paint correctly. If you have real wood raised panel doors, the application is going to be different than if your cupboards are fabricated out of flat melamine. Thermofoil has its own guidelines that should be followed to achieve professional results as well. In this article, we will explore a few of the different methods of applying new colors on existing kitchen cabinets.

The process for painting all types of cabinets should be as follows:

  • Clean all surfaces with soap and water
  • Lightly sand all areas that will be painted
  • Fill holes and cracks with a wood filler
  • Sand the filler flush once it has dried
  • Apply the first coat of primer
  • Apply the filler again and sand
  • Apply the second coat of primer
  • Apply two final finish coats


Note: Thermofoil doors should be wiped down with a wax remover prior to starting the above steps.

Spray Painting
When you are putting on the kitchen cabinets paint with a sprayer, it’s going to be a messy job that requires you to cover everything with protective paper that is not supposed to be painted.

Your paint will need to be the proper viscosity to flow smoothly through the spray gun. Consult with your paint supply company for the correct thinners to be mixed with the paint. Cabinet Refacing Trends

You will first spray the parts horizontally and then immediately make a vertical pass. This will ensure that there are no blotched areas that do not look completely covered. Immediately after spraying, the paint should look “uniformly” wet when you look at the surface from all directions.

You can use this method for any type cupboard door, unless you are attempting to get a glazed finish look. In such cases you will need to use a brush for some of the steps involved.

You must use an industrial type sprayer. You can rent one from a rent-all company for a couple of days in order to get the job done right. A small Power Wagner spray gun will not yield professional results.

Painting Cabinets With a Brush and Roller
Here’s where the different methods of painting come into play. For any style raised panel cupboard door, you will always start applying the paint to the center panel and work your way out. This will reduce the possibility of getting runs in the paint. You will be using a brush for this task. Put a nice coat of paint on going in one direction, then lightly go over it with the brush going in the opposite direction. This will help eliminate the “brush mark” look and also ensure complete coverage.

If you are applying the cabinet paint to flat doors, you can use a roller. It is best to paint the edges of the flat doors first using a brush.

The inside of the kitchen cabinets can be painted either with a sprayer or brush. I personally prefer using a brush and a roller for painting inside the house. If you want to spray in the house, you must seal off the area and cover everything that you do not want “any” paint to get on. I do like to spray the doors outside or in the garage area though.