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How to Achieve a Professional Finish and Hide the Grain: Painting Oak Cabinets

CEO Khai Intela
Are you looking to give your kitchen a fresh new look? Painting oak cabinets can be a game-changer in transforming your space. In this article, we will guide you through our proven process on how...

Are you looking to give your kitchen a fresh new look? Painting oak cabinets can be a game-changer in transforming your space. In this article, we will guide you through our proven process on how to paint oak cabinets and hide the grain, resulting in a completely smooth and professional finish.

What You Need to Know Before You Begin

Painting oak cabinets can be a challenging task, especially when it comes to hiding the grain. In the past, there were limited resources available on this topic. However, after extensive research and testing, we have developed a process that delivers outstanding results.

One critical step in achieving a smooth finish is filling in the oak wood grain. We recommend using Drydex wall spackle, which creates a thin layer to conceal the grain effectively. This step is crucial as it prevents the grain from showing through the painted surface over time.

The Best Products for Painting Oak Cabinets

Choosing the right products is essential for a successful painting project. After trying various options, we found that Insl-X Cabinet Coat Enamel in satin is the best paint for oak cabinets. It is an acrylic water-based enamel known for its self-leveling properties, providing a smooth and durable finish.

To ensure optimal results, we diluted the paint with distilled water. The recommended dilution percentage may vary depending on your paint sprayer, so it's crucial to measure and record the dilution for future use.

Step-by-Step Tutorial: How to Paint Oak Cabinets and Hide the Grain

Now let's dive into the step-by-step process of painting oak cabinets and achieving a professional finish:

  1. Gather Your Supplies: Make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials, including an orbital sander, putty knives, paint brushes, a paint sprayer, and more.

  2. Remove Everything from the Room: To minimize dust and ensure a clean workspace, remove all items from your cabinets and the surrounding area.

  3. Remove and Number Doors & Drawers: Take off the cabinet doors and drawers, ensuring you label them for easy reassembly.

  4. Vacuum Cabinet Boxes and Wipe Down with TSP Substitute: Thoroughly clean the cabinet boxes to remove any dust or dirt.

  5. Remove All of the Appliances: Temporarily remove appliances from the kitchen to achieve an even finish.

  6. Sand Cabinet Frames with 80 Grit Sandpaper: Use an orbital sander to sand down the cabinet frames, focusing on damaged areas.

  7. Sand with 220 Grit Sandpaper: Repeat the sanding process with a finer grit sandpaper to create a smooth surface.

  8. Apply Primer: Use an oil-based primer, such as Kilz, to create a solid base for your paint. Apply multiple coats for better coverage.

  9. Sand with 320 Grit Sandpaper: Lightly sand the primed surface with a finer grit sandpaper for a smoother finish.

  10. Primer Again: Apply another coat of primer to ensure an even and solid white canvas for the final paint coat.

  11. Prep Doors & Drawer Fronts: Sand and clean the cabinet doors and drawer fronts following the same process as the cabinet frames.

  12. Caulk all Cracks and Detail (Optional): Fill in any gaps or cracks with caulk to create a seamless surface.

  13. Prep Paint & Paint Sprayer: Dilute the Cabinet Coat paint with distilled water according to the instructions for your paint sprayer.

  14. Test the Sprayer: Before spraying on the cabinets, do a test spray on a separate surface to ensure the paint consistency and adjust the sprayer if needed.

  15. Paint Doors & Drawers: Set up a designated area for spraying the doors and drawers in an upright position. Apply two coats of the diluted paint, allowing sufficient drying time between each coat.

  16. Reassemble Cabinets: After the paint has dried, rehang the cabinet doors and replace the drawers for the final reveal.

By following these steps, you can achieve a professional finish and hide the grain on your oak cabinets, giving your kitchen a fresh and updated look.


Painting oak cabinets can be a rewarding and transformative project. With the right process and products, you can achieve a completely smooth and professional finish while hiding the grain. Remember to take your time, follow the step-by-step tutorial, and enjoy the process of revamping your kitchen.

How to Paint Oak Cabinets and Hide the Grain Caption: How to Paint Oak Cabinets for a high-end white kitchen on a budget

For a more detailed guide on painting oak cabinets, including frequently asked questions, budget breakdown, and tips for long-lasting results, click here to access our comprehensive ebook.

Please note that painting oak cabinets requires some level of expertise and experience. If you are new to DIY projects or unsure about tackling this task, we recommend consulting a professional for assistance.

Remember, with the right techniques and products, you can achieve a beautiful and professional finish, transforming your kitchen into a modern and stylish space. Happy painting!