Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

October 10, 2013

Painting the Kitchen Cabinets with a Paint Sprayer

How to paint kitchen cabinet doors with a paint sprayer

We're bouncing between projects, trying to tackle any projects that we need to work on outside before the icy weather sets in (it hits Thunder Bay a little earlier than Ottawa).  Soon it will be too cold to tackle paint projects in our un-insulated garage (weep), so although we aren't quite ready to work on the kitchen yet, we capitalized on a couple of warms days and quickly gave our kitchen cabinet fronts a coat of bright turquoise, using our new paint sprayer.


As a refresher, here's our oak kitchen cabinetry, au naturel.  We're ditching the upper cabinets in favor of open shelving and finally doing a turquoise kitchen (in addition to updating the counters, sink & faucet). 

Oak kitchen before

How to:
  • First I removed all of the cabinet fronts, including the hardware and hinges (what I couldn't remove, I covered with painter's tape)
  • Next I cleaned the grease and goo off with soapy water and a chore boy scrub pad, which is excellent for a deep clean
  • I also lightly sanded the surface, even though the Zinsser primer can tells me it's unnecessary
  • Once they were sanded, I wiped the cabinet fronts with a damp cloth and let them dry 
  • In the meantime, we laid down the faux french door inserts I axed from the living room to help keep the cabinet fronts up and away from the garage floor
  • Next I applied a thin coat of Zinsser primer with an angled paint brush, starting with the back - it only takes about half an hour for this primer to dry (it cures fully in 7 days)
  • We set up our paint sprayer (it took minutes) and tested the spray out on a scrap of plywood to practice a little and fiddle with the settings
How to use a paint sprayer
Yes, Hubby's mohawk evolved from a faux-hawish mohawk to a full on mohawk.  Go Hubs.
  • Then we got to work spraying the cabinet fronts, again starting with the backs
  • Spraying the cabinets was ridiculously easy and straight-forward: Hubby sprayed side to side on the surface before spraying the edges, making sure not to start or stop the spray on the cabinet, but slightly before and after, also paying attention to overlap the spray as he went
HomeRight paint sprayer review
  • Once dry (we waited a couple of days because it started to get cool and it slowed our drying time), we flipped them over and sprayed the fronts
  • As recommended by the folks in the Canadian Tire paint department, we skipped a protective top coat because we chose a semi-gloss finish which should be durable enough (especially with the primer)
Aqua cabinet doors!
    So far, the fronts look amazing!! 

    The Paint Sprayer Finish

    The kitchen cabinet boxes will be painted with a roller and brush, but I know it won't compete with the excellent finish the cabinet fronts now have.  The paint was applied rather thickly, but evenly, with the paint sprayer, and we got away with only one coat (it took a couple of days to fully dry).  At first, when it was wet, the paint looked thick and textured as if we had used a roller, which was disappointing.  But then, magically, as it dried the paint sort of sunk into the wood and dried in a super smooth finish.  The paint doesn't look "applied" - it looks like a factory-finish, without distracting roller marks or brush strokes.  There's a bit of the texture of the grain peeking through, which is what I wanted, but with a second application of paint I'm sure we could have covered it up. 

    Paint applied with a paint sprayer

    Including our practice sprays, and painting both the fronts and backs of the doors, we used just under half a gallon of paint.  As with any spray painting, there was some overspray:

    Painting cabinet doors

    HomeRight Heavy Duty Paint Sprayer Review

    The last time Hubs and I used a paint sprayer was to paint my '92 Dodge Colt lime green.  It was my father-in-law's equipment (serious stuff) and required an air compressor to operate.  It was heavy and a bit awkward, but it did the job.  When HomeRight offered me the chance to review a paint sprayer that doesn't require a compressor (and weighs only 3lbs), I jumped at the chance to add this tool to our DIY arsenal. 

    Airless paint sprayer - no compressor needed!

    This particular sprayer, an airless paint sprayer from the titanium series, is fabulous.  The set-up and clean-up of the sprayer took about 10-15 minutes each, but then spraying all of the doors took only 10 or so minutes (per side), meaning the total paint time for all of the doors, front and back, was less than an hour (which is crazy fast).

    PROS:
    • No air compressor needed!!  Just plug it in to an outlet and GO
    • Small and easy to store
    • Simple to clean (we just ran soapy water through until it came clear and then rinsed with clean water, but the cleaning method depends on the type of paint used)
    • Easy to use (with a few seconds of practice, we created super smooth results)
    • No need to use the itty bitty canister provided, a tube and clip is provided that lets you work right out of the can which is amazing for larger projects, and makes it even easier to clean
    • For major projects, this sprayer can paint a gallon of paint in only 7.5 minutes
    • The MSRP is $109.99, which I think is a reasonable price, especially for the avid DIYer or for someone with a big project looming
    CONS (I'm really grasping at straws to think of something negative):
    • Super loud (not really a big deal - just wear ear plugs, but you have to provide these yourself so don't forget to grab some before starting a project)
    • Vibrates a bit uncomfortably, but wearing work gloves alleviates discomfort 

    HomeRight provided the Heavy Duty Paint Sprayer for review but I was not prompted or paid to review this sprayer positively.  We genuinely like this tool and are already dreaming up our next paint sprayer projects (I'm thinking of painting the exterior of the house deep grey!!).  The Zinzsser primer, Premier paint in turquoise (it's made in Canada!), and Dream Finish angled brush were generously provided by Canadian Tire, who is helping us take the lakehouse from cottage to contemporary.  I wanted to colour match the turquoise Pyrex butterprint pattern, but the colour-matching machine couldn't read the shade because of the sheen of the Pyrex.  Darn.  But with the folks in the paint department I found a near perfect match: Niagara Mist, available at your local Canadian Tire paint department
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    18 comments

    1. Looks great - love the color! We painted our cabinets using an HVLP paint sprayer, and I wouldn't do it any other way! The finished product is like no other!

      http://evolutionofstyleblog.blogspot.com/2011/11/kitchen-reveal.html

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      1. WOW - your kitchen looks amazing!! It's so crisp and fresh and looks professionally made over. What a fabulous before and after! It's so much lighter and brighter now, and I love the hardware you chose.

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    2. oooh I can't wait to see how it all looks!! that color is going to be so pretty and light... not to mention, it will coordinate with a favorite line of pyrex :)

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      1. I wanted it to match my Pyrex collection for a more tidy look (especially with all the open shelving I'm planning to display it). I hope it looks good when it's all together, but so far I'm loving it.

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    3. Cannot wait to see these up and in action! I love the color you chose!

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      1. I'm pleased with the shade of turquoise too! It's SO BOLD in real life, but I think it will be perfect.

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    4. Wow - what a relatively quick process! The paint sprayer is sure to become one of your favourite tools! I've been reading a lot of positive reviews about them. I have some furniture that needs a fresh coat of paint and I'm debating investing in one of these gadgets.

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      1. If for some reason we no longer had this one, I'd buy one to replace it. Especially because we have some big projects looming. If you have quite a few projects yourself, it might be worth it.

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    5. I LOVE the colour! it makes me happy looking at it :)

      One question: did you find the short-ish tube restricting or requiring being very hunched over for doing the painting? Thanks!

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      1. It makes me happy too!! A longer tube would be awesome, but we just held the can as we worked. It kept us from wandering too far and knocking it over. We got used to it. But if someone offered me a longer tube, I wouldn't refuse. Excellent question!

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    6. Amazing! I've been dying to paint my kitchen cabinets and this looks like the perfect solution. Can't wait to see the after photos!!

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    7. ooooh wow that is a really great price for a paint sprayer! we've been considering getting a sprayer but am afraid it wouldnt be worth it...but now that i read your review...i am leaning towards worth it.

      love your new color can't wait to see it put back together!!

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      1. If you've got a lot of paint projects, go for it! This one has a 2 year warranty which is nice. Fall might have some good sales, too.

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    8. Your turquoise dreams are becoming a reality!! Ah-mazing. Excited about the price of that paint sprayer... and the fact that it clips to the can!!

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    9. I've been debating buying a paint sprayer for ages. Painting is my therapy which is kinda funny cause it drives my husband nuts when I do paint. :) But I've used cans of spray paint before and find it's pretty easy to end up with little drips if you're not careful. Did you find that with the spray painter and/or do you have any tips to avoid drips of paint marring the pristine surface?

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      1. We did not have a single drip, but with spray paint cans I have had drips. I think we can't take any credit - the paint just came out really evenly. We were also careful not to apply too much as it came out rather thickly. Also, we worked mostly on a flat surface, not a vertical one, except where we painted the edges. We plan to paint more with this sprayer and I promise to share those experiences too.

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    10. Thanks for trying out our Heavy Duty Paint Sprayer for this project. The color you selected looks so pretty, we can't wait to see the after photos of the kitchen.
      Laura Clark
      HomeRight
      www.homeright.com

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