Kitchen & Cabinet Redo FAQs


I’ve been getting quite a few questions on my kitchen and cabinet facelift because apparently, I didn’t give nearly enough details as I was going along.  So this post will address the FAQs surrounding the cabinet painting project in our kitchen.  Be sure and let me know if I miss something.


1.  Did you use oil or latex paint on your cabinets?

I used Behr interior latex paint.  Before I got started, I saw only a few examples where people used oil-based paint on their cabinets (oil has a harder finish so it’s more durable, and it’s supposedly an easier surface to clean).  I also asked the guy at Sherwin Williams his thoughts, and he said latex paint has come so far that there is absolutely no need to use oil-based paint on kitchen cabinets unless you just really want to!  I poured Flowtrol directly into the can of paint to help the paint spread and hide brush strokes.


2.  What colors did you use?

The green walls are Martha Stewart’s “Saguaro”.  Go here to see how looooong it took me to make THAT decision.  Yeesh.  The cabinets are painted with Behr’s “Cotton Knit”.


3.  Did you sand the cabinets?

Yes!  I bought an orbital sander for about $40 to help with the sanding.  I used a fine grit (180 or 220) and just went over all the surfaces fairly lightly.  I did not sand enough to remove the existing finish, and unless you want to re-stain your cabinets (good luck!) there’s no need to sand down to the bare wood.


4.  What primer did you use?

I usually use Kilz for everything….BUT this time around I asked at the store for a primer specifically for kitchen cabinets, and they handed me Behr interior enamel primer (in a purple can).  I used it up and then used Kilz for the rest (which wasn’t much.)


5.  Did you use brushes or rollers or a sprayer?

I used a foam roller on the cabinet boxes, and it worked pretty well.  But on the cabinet doors (painted in the garage during 90+ heat), I used a high quality brush only.  I tried to use the roller but it couldn’t load up enough paint to keep the surface wet while I was working, so bits would dry a little and then the roller would “pull” on those spots and create an orange peel texture.  The brush worked great as long as you load the brush all the way with as much paint as it will hold and then work quickly to spread it.  No using the edge of the can to get drips off, just dip the brush as deep as the bristles go and immediately move to your work surface. 


6.  Did you use polyurethane or another type of clear coat?

Nope.  I thought about it, and I decided to put the doors back up and see if they are hard to clean or if they are getting dinged up or anything.  So far, they wipe clean perfectly and I haven’t seen any dents/dings in the paint surface.


7.  Can you see the oak’s wood grain through the paint?

Yes, you can see the wood grain texture when the light hits just right.  Most of the time you can’t tell, but when I do notice it, I think it looks fine.  Personally I think a little wood grain in painted cabinets looks more like a ‘cottage kitchen’ than the perfectly smooth brand-new cabinets you see in the sample kitchens at the home improvement stores. 

IMG_2446 IMG_2449

8.  How did you go about painting the cabinet doors?

I didn’t rig up anything special like I’ve seen some folks do (like using cup hooks in the top edge to suspend the cabinets and paint both sides at once.)  I set up a workspace in the garage with some saw horses and I painted the backs of all of them, placed them in various places in the garage to dry, then I came along and flipped them all over once they were dry and painted the other side.  It took a few weekends.  I did one coat of primer and two coats of paint.


Well folks, there you have it 🙂   I hope I’ve answered your burning questions, but if I missed something, just leave a comment and I promise I’ll address it.


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