The thought of getting beautifully painted cabinets makes your heart flutter. However, getting there is a big process, one filled with potential missteps. How can you tackle the cabinet painting process yourself and end up with flawless results?

Here are answers to 10 commonly asked questions about the job:

Should You Paint Wood Cabinets? 

It’s the million dollar question and many homeowners are hesitant to paint hardwood cabinets; for good reason. Hardwood is seen as the holy grail when it comes to homes. However, just because you have wood cabinets does not mean you have to live with the stain forever. 

For instance, if you have dated oak cabinets, then transforming them with bright white paint can do wonders for your space. Likewise, if the stain looks overly yellow or orange, then painting them a new, more modern color makes sense, especially if it will flow better with the rest of your home. In addition, if you have wood cabinets and wood floors it can be overwhelming. That’s also where painting your cabinets can make a beautiful statement. 

When considering painting cabinets, another factor to think about is the style of your doors and drawer fronts. If they’re more dated cathedral, arched or curved panels, then staining them again or even painting them won’t provide the big upgrade you want. In this case, consider cabinet refacing. You can get new, custom-made doors and drawer fronts for a fraction of the cost of a full replacement. 

Can You Paint Cabinets Without Sanding? 

Skipping the sanding process can be risky for DIY-ers. If there’s even a little bit of damage in any area, then it’s going to show through the new coat of paint. You don’t want to perform all that work and not have a picture-perfect outcome. 

That said, sanding needs to be handled with care and done lightly. If you go overboard, you can end up causing damage by sanding too far down. This creates the potential for moisture to seep into the wood. 

If your cabinets are in good shape and you’d prefer to avoid sanding, you can use mineral spirits and a scrubbing pad to clean your cabinets before priming and painting them. This will roughen up your cabinets enough to help the primer stick well to the surface. 

How Much Does it Cost to Hire Someone to Paint Cabinets?

It depends on where you live, the condition of your existing cabinets, and the layout and size of your space. Most reputable cabinet painting companies will provide you with a free quote and timeline before they start the job. On average, according to, the cost to paint kitchen cabinets is around $3 to $10 per square foot or $50 to $100 per door.

What Kind of Paint Do You Use When Painting Kitchen Cabinets?

There are many different types of paints to choose from and not all are well-suited for cabinets. That’s why, before buying supplies, you must do your homework and purchase the right paint for your kitchen cabinets. 

For instance, consider an acrylic urethane based product. It’s a water-based paint and designed for high-performance use. This means it will be able to stand up to the heavy duty wear and tear your kitchen cabinets experience. Paint that’s made for walls or other applications, on the other hand, will chip and peel over time. 

How can I Paint Without Brush Marks or Drips?

Streaks, marks and drips can lead to disappointing results. Since your cabinets are so prominently featured, they’re also the first thing you’ll notice when you walk into your kitchen. 

To avoid them when painting your cabinets, first make sure you apply primer correctly. Primer can often be a culprit for brush marks and drips because it dries so quickly. It doesn’t have time to level out, as a result. You can pick up a slow-drying primer to limit the drips and marks. 

In addition, make sure your cabinet doors and drawer fronts are laying flat when you paint them. You’ll have gravity on your side since potential drip marks can sink into the paint instead of dripping down.  Otherwise, you’ll risk runs in your paint. 

Finally, eliminate the chance for brush strokes completely by avoiding brushes. Use a sprayer instead if you’re able to rent one. If not, consider a foam roller, using brushes as little as possible. 

How Do I Prepare Kitchen Cabinets for Painting?

It depends on the condition of your cabinets. For instance, if the surface is painted and in good condition, then the old paint won’t need to be removed. However, if the surface is damaged, paint will need to be stripped. 

In addition, before you can paint your cabinets, you’ll need to:

  • Clean them thoroughly with a product designed to eliminate grease, wax, grime, and other build up that accumulates on cabinets over the years. 
  • Repair any damaged areas, such as dings and scuff marks, with a wood filler. You can then use a putty knife to press it in and smooth it out. 
  • Make sure surrounding surfaces, such as your countertops and floors are properly taped off and protected, so they don’t get paint drips or marks on them. If you plan to sand, then tackle it after everything is draped off to limit dust.
  • Before you prime, make sure to clean up any debris from the sanding process. 
  • Priming your cabinets next will provide a suitable surface for the cabinet paint to stick. When you’re applying it, work from the inside out. So if you’re painting the cabinet boxes, start from deep inside and work your way out.

Is It Cheaper to Paint or Replace Kitchen Cabinets?

Painting your cabinets is going to be far less expensive when compared to replacements. This is for a few reasons. First, there’s less work to perform. Second, there are fewer supplies to purchase. In addition, painting takes up less time, translating into lower costs. 

On average, according to, the cost to paint kitchen cabinets is $3 to $10 per square foot with professional painters charging between $50 to $100 per door. The average cost of new kitchen cabinets ranges between $160 and $380 per linear foot for stock or semi-custom styles, and up to $1,000 per linear foot for custom cabinetry.

Should I Paint Cabinets with a Brush or Roller?

Avoid both as much as you can and instead consider a sprayer. A sprayer aerates the paint, which means you can achieve a smooth, factory-like finish. 

With a roller or brushes, on the other hand, there are often streaks and drips. In addition, using a sprayer means you can reach the narrowest of crevices, which can be difficult with a roller or a brush. This is important especially if your cabinets have a lot of nooks and crannies in the design style. 

However, keep in mind, if you’ve never used a sprayer, perform a trial run first. It’s not always as easy as it looks and if you’re a beginner, you can still encounter problems, like uneven coverage, drips and runs. So if you can spare some paint, make sure you practice.

Is It Better to Spray or Use a Brush to Paint Kitchen Cabinets?

It’s better to use a sprayer and in fact, it’s what most professional cabinet painters use. With a sprayer, you can get a completely smooth finish without worry about brush strokes and streaks. In addition, when you use a sprayer, you typically won’t have to do as much touch-up work when you’re done with painting. It’s faster with fewer headaches and provides a better-looking end result. 

Do Painted Kitchen Cabinets Hold Up?

The longevity of your painted surface depends on many factors. If you perform the job on your own, how well you prep and the products you use can greatly impact how your kitchen cabinets withstand use. In addition, if you have heavy foot traffic in your home and your cabinets get a lot of use, they can wear out faster than a home without as much traffic. However, if you perform the job properly from the start and maintain your cabinets well, you can expect many years of beauty and durability.

The Alternative to DIY Cabinet Painting

Painting your kitchen is a big project to handle on your own. Why not leave it to cabinet painting professionals instead, like those at N-Hance®? With our team, we’ll help you every step of the way, from picking out a color to providing a price quote to painting with care and expertise. We’ll deliver an end product that’s top-quality, all without the mess and minimal downtime. 

If you’d like to learn more about our cabinet painting services and the difference they can make in your home, call your local N-Hance at (855) 642-6230 today to set up a FREE design consultation.