Here are my tips for painting cabinets with a paint sprayer for a smooth and durable finish!
We’re bouncing between projects, trying to tackle any projects that we need to work on outside before the icy weather sets in. 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).
How to Paint Cabinets with a Paint Sprayer:
- 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
|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
- 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)
The cabinet 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.
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:
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.
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).
- 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
- 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.