How to Properly Paint Cabinets

The key to properly painting cabinets is preparation.

With the doors removed from the boxes and all of the hardware off of the doors, you can begin lightly sanding the cabinet doors. The goal here is to rough up the surface enough to accept the primer.

A pad sander with 220-grit paper will make quick work of the flat areas and a sanding sponge is ideal for curved edges and recesses.

Spreading the doors out on two by fours stretched between sawhorses will allow you to prep and paint without moving the doors.

Before priming, wipe down all the surfaces with a damp rag to remove any dust.

If there is any greasy residue left after sanding, mineral spirits will remove it.

The next step is applying the primer, which blocks stains and promotes adhesion. We’re using a high-volume, low-pressure spray gun to apply both the primer and the paint.

These sprayers are inexpensive and very user-friendly but the operator should be protected by a respirator.

When you spray paint, it’s important to keep the spray tip a consistent distance from the surface and make slow passes back and forth.

Each pass should begin and end beyond the edge of the door so there’s no buildup of paint on the edges.

We’re using the same sprayer on the cabinet boxes inside since the floors are covered and the room is sealed.

In this case, we’re painting the inside of the cabinets to avoid overspray marks or the need to mask each opening of the cabinets.

After the primer dries, you may need to putty nail holes or caulk cracks and seams.

Next, the finish paint is applied. Spraying the doors horizontally like this reduces the risk of drips, which can mar the finish and are more common with spraying than brushing.

Allow the two coats of finish paint to dry thoroughly before handling the doors and replacing the hardware.

If you’re changing the hardware, consider buying new hinges with the exact same footprint of the old ones. This will simplify installation and hide any indentations live by the old hinges.

Watch the video above to see the entire process!


  1. Thanks for the video. Do you put anything on after the paint to stop scratches and minor dings from happening.
    Thanks again.


  2. Hi!
    I have a small upstairs bathroom with a fiberglass tub, it’s wearing thin. What can I use to reinforce the surface? Does marine epoxy work? My kitchen is below, is there anything less toxic I can use?
    Love your show! Especially the banter between you and your daughter!
    Thanks ?

  3. Just a quick comment about the how to videos or any videos for that matter. They all start out great and then stop for about 10-15 seconds. I mentioned this before but apparently nothing has been corrected as of yet. It is just a little annoying when a person is trying to learn how to do something and the actual video stops and then starts numerous times.
    Thank you for allowing me to express my comments.

    • Hi, Pat,

      Thanks for sharing your concern. Videos play from beginning to end for us, so we recommend a couple of things.
      First, check your internet connection and make sure it’s strong.
      Second, run a virus and spyware check, because malware can slow things down, too.

      Also: A representative from our support team will contact you directly — watch your email! 🙂
      Take care.

    • Hi, Abby,
      TSP’s basic function is to clean, not degloss. So sanding would be your best bet for this project.
      Good luck!

  4. What brand of paint sprayer was used on the kitchen cabinets in today’s episode. It looked easy to use and had great coverage. We’ve bought sorayers in the past and wasn’t happy with the results. Thank you!


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