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What Will My Cabinets Look Like Painted?

Written by David | July 15, 2018

If you have wood cabinets, the question may have entered your mind- “What will my cabinets look like painted?”

Here is a video we put together using a time-lapse camera to show all we do to prepare, clean, prime, and paint kitchen cabinets.

Steps for Painting Kitchen Cabinets


You will see how we tape off the walls, we cover the surrounds floor with plastic as well as the counters.

This kitchen was left pretty dirty by the previous owners. We had to use a degreaser to get rid of the grime from cooking oils and cleaners. Even then we had to switch to a very aggressive solvent in order to cut through the grease on the doors.

Once these were clean we could start the priming.


To get a maximum bond- we used Stix bonding primer and then smart prime to not just bond to the wood but to block out the oil in the wood from bleeding through the paint.

Believe it or not- oak is a porous wood- it has a lot of grain and can absorb odor, dirt, grease etc. My wife had an oak china cabinet. It was given to her by someone who smoked. Despite years of cleaning, charcoal, chemicals- after 6 years of being in a smoke-free place- it still smelled of smoke. That same thing will happen with grease and dirt.

Can you really get every piece of dirt from a sponge when you clean it? The same happens with certain wood.

So now that we have applied primer- we get to paint.


It’s time for painting oak cabinets white! Now that we are using an oil modified paints and primers, we can offer a longer warranty. A warranty of 5 years!  The oils will allow a better adhesion and better water repellent capabilities.  We still have and use traditional lacquer finishes. They are good products. They also have their place. Lacquer is very hard but I have found that it can be porous as well. Time will tell.

Water vs Wood

Wood and water just do not mix.  Cabinets will crack, expand, and contract when they are exposed to water and the worst-humidity!

what will my cabinets look like painted - water damage cabinets

Example of Paint Peeling/Water Damage

Keeping your humidity lower and consistent can be the best control of wood movement (this also includes wood floors).

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