How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets Professionally

Having your kitchen painted is not an easy task to do as it requires a high level of patience and a lot of time, depending on your desired outcome.

Painting kitchen cabinets is usually one of the highest and most rewarding investments anyone could make in their home.

However, if you choose to carry out this project all by yourself, it would cost just a tiny amount of money while it helps transform your kitchen and home and improve its resale value vastly.

In this post, I will not only show you how to paint your kitchen cabinets yourself, but this article is also well detailed enough that it helps you gain a complete understanding of how to paint kitchen cabinets professionally—having it look like you just got it delivered from a professional cabinet shop.

While you go further with this post, you’d stand a chance to learn the best possible ways to finish your kitchen cabinets, how that you’d get a perfect and eye-catching finishing either using rolling or spraying, what to do to have your kitchen that seasoned look which is as though a professional did the work amongst others—all of these without having to pay anyone.

Painting terms

1. Pigment: A substance to which color is imparted into a paint.

2. Viscosity refers to the thickness of a paint(Upon addition of a thinner, either a stain or water thinner, you decrease the viscosity).

3. Sheen: The luster of a particular surface after painting. It is important to note that different paints give different shines.

4. Roller nap: This is how far the fabric sticks out from the base (core) of the roller. It is the raised fabric/thread on a roller.

5. Enamel: A paint that dries harder than average paint. It is a hard protective coating.

Materials and tools needed to paint your kitchen cabinets.

There are some necessary tools needed to be able to carry out this project successfully, and they include:

Latex gloves: Regardless of whether or not you are spraying, it is essential always to put on your gloves to save your hands and make cleanup faster.

Tape: This is necessary for prepping the exclusive areas you don’t plan to paint.

Charcoal face mask: Either you’re using latex-based or oil-based paint, a charcoal mask is an excellent investment that helps keep you safe and healthy during and after the operation, respectively.

5-in-1 painters tool: A painter’s tool is suitable for cutting tape, pressing tape, opening cans, and the likes.

1.5-3″ paintbrush: Note that a latex brush should be used for latex paints and a white bristle for oil-based paints.

Painter’s plastic: This is used to prep off countertops, block off the rooms, and more.

Paint mixing cups: Usually, I don’t use the paint directly from the can. I often want to thin it down with either water or paint thinner, so to get my mixing done accurately, a few mixing cups with measurement will do just fine.

Sanding sponges: Medium grit sanding sponges will sand the cabinet before applying paint to the surface. Also, you’d need fine-grit sanding sponges to sand after the primer coat, as well as extra-fine sanding sponges between topcoats to ensure a smooth finish.

Brown rosin paper: This is for prepping off countertops and floors. It lasts throughout the job, which gives it an edge on durability.

Rags: This should be provided to clean up the cabinets, clean hands, spills, and wipe off the dust as the case may be.

Additional tools required for rolling and brushing cabinets.

Small roller trays: These are cool disposable trays used to hold your paint.

4″ paint roller: A 4″ roller for cabinets is more preferable as it gives you a good size surface while giving you plenty of control.

6×4″ Paint roller pads: The roller covers perfect for painting kitchen cabinets are the Purdy 4″ roller covers with a 3/8″ nap. Try as much as possible to go for quality roller covers as cheap ones will shed all over in your finish, and you’d regret it.

Additional tools needed for spraying your kitchen cabinets

Paint suit: This would keep you clean, free of overspray, and protect your skin from absorbing the VOCs released by different paints.

Painters plastic: This is needed to prep the inner part of cabinets, appliances, and walling off the work area to avoid overspray getting into unwanted areas.

Full face charcoal respirator mask: This is a basic 3m respirator mask setup. And it helps to protect harmful vapors from penetrating the body through the eyes. So this mask helps to cover the sensitive parts of the body, such as the eyes, nose mouth, when painting.

Earplugs: Provided you’d be using a full face mask as discussed above, an earplug is the following recommendation. This is literally to protect the brain, which is another area that harmful fumes can quickly enter the body.

Type of paint to use on your kitchen cabinets

Oil vs. Latex

Oil-based cabinet paints

Oil-based paint is a slow-drying paint consisting of color pigments suspended in oil and thinned with a thinning agent such as mineral spirits. The slow drying aspect of an oil-based tends to make them get a glassy smooth finish quickly, and this is because it allows more time for the paint to settle to a uniform finish. Oil-based paints are desirable for their lustrous look and durability.

However, this is not to say oil-based paints do not have cons. This particular type of paint is harder to clean, and they usually require the addition of mineral spirits to clean up brushes, sprayers, and other tools.

Another con of oil-based paint is its much higher VOC content than water-based counterparts. Meanwhile, this can be overcome by properly venting the painting area and putting on a charcoal filtered mask.

NB: The used mineral spirits and leftover oil paint must be properly and legally disposed of as they also contain a high level of VOCs.

Water-based cabinet paints

These are fast drying paints instead of oil-based, and they consist of pigments suspended in acrylic latex. Water is the only thinning agent for these paints. Water-based paints are similar in durability and look to oil-based.

Some of the pros of water-based stains are that they make cleanups easy, contain fewer VOCs, make them much safer and better for the environment, and disposal is relatively easy.

However, they sure do have their drawbacks as well, and one of them is that due to their faster drying times, it can sometimes be challenging to get a lustrously smooth finish similar to oil.

Painting kitchen cabinets professionally

Prep the site
This is the first and essential step on how to paint kitchen cabinets professionally or doing any interiors professionally. You prep the kitchen or whichever home area you’re using for the remodel. Be sure to use heavy papers on the floor to ensure their complete protection and do away with every breakable from the counters.

After which, the next step is to decide the location you’d use to spray the cabinet doors and drawers covers. Whichever area you eventually get to use, be sure it has enough room to spray the doors/drawers and stack them to dry during the curing process.

You’d also need to mask off the cabinets, counters, wall, backsplash, and the inner walls once the doors/drawers have been removed to avoid paints entering the cabinets.

Sand the cabinets

This process involved using a dustless, random, and orbital sander to lightly sand all surfaces of the cabinets and doors so that no damage is done to the wood before painting. Ensure to remove or scuff off the top clear coating of the stained cabinets to provide a fully adhesive surface for the paint and primer.

The best grit of sandpaper to use on cabinets tends to be between 120-220 grit as a reduction in grit might likely cause damage to the wood, and higher grit won’t give the clear coat on cabinets.

Clean all surfaces

Right after sanding, you sure want to give them a good cleaning. So make sure to remove all the dust and not leave behind any debris or grease.

Get the primer coats on

Once you’re done with all of the stages explained above, it’s not time for you to prime the cabinets, boxes, doors, and drawers. Your spray booth for the door and drawer should be built out before applying your primer. It is important to note that your choice of primer used determines how the cabinets perform over time. The primer used should cover all of the tannins in the wood and prevent oil from gaining access to the surface.


This happens to be one of the shortest steps when it comes to refinishing your kitchen or bathroom cabinets. Now you’re ready to paint. Firstly, you should pick the Sheen to be used on your cabinet, and the most common Sheen is the semi-gloss.

Note that the more Sheen there is to the topcoat, the more durable the finished product. It is often advised not to use paint product test samples directly onto your cabinet surface. Instead, sampling is highly recommended to test your product before finalizing. And lastly, in whatever you do, make sure to use high-quality products that would last for a long.

Reinstall your cabinet doors and drawers

This is the last step to getting your cabinets painted, and it might require the assistance of other hands in case of any adjustments to ensure that all the drawers are hung square. After which, you give the work site a final cleanup, and there you go, enjoying the freshness that comes with your kitchen renovation!


Having mentioned all that there is to be said on how to paint your kitchen cabinets professionally, we hope you find this piece helpful. These steps are effective only for kitchen cabinets, but they can also be applied to any system in your home, including the bathroom, workshop cabinets, and wet bars.

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