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#Evolution of Style: Tips Tricks for Painting Oak Cabinets

Tips + Tricks for Painting Oak Cabinets


My most popular post, by far, has been "How to Paint Your Cabinets Like a Professional." As a result, I have gotten a lot of questions, specifically, about how to paint oak cabinets. I have done client projects that were oak cabinets, so I thought I would share some tips and tricks that I have learned along the way.

I know there are a lot of you out there who are unhappy with your oak cabinets, whether they're semi-new and builder grade, or from an era long gone. You don't want to spend the money on new cabinets because 1) that's expensive and 2) there's nothing wrong with your cabinets, they're just not your style.

The biggest issue with painting oak cabinets is how to minimize the grain that comes with that type of wood. If you have maple or cherry cabinets, they paint up beautifully. Oak can have a similar result, it just takes a little more effort to get there. The wood grain can manifest itself in two ways: through the texture of the wood and also the grain bleeding through the paint.

One product I have used that has helped with both of these issues is Zinsser's Bull's Eye Seal Coat sanding sealer. This aids in minimizing the wood grain of oak cabinets to a certain degree, but primarily helps to keep the grain from bleeding through your primer and paint. Very key in giving your oak cabinets an update.

With the next set of oak cabinets, I used the sanding sealer. It definitely helped with the grain - especially with the issue of the grain bleeding through, and eliminating the need for several coats of primer. I applied the sanding sealer after I had cleaned/sanded/deglossed the oak cabinets, and before I applied my primer and paint.

If you are looking to try and eliminate the wood grain look altogether, I would suggest investing in the help of a professional. There are wood grain filler and putty products out there that can be used for this purpose. I don't have any personal experience with them (yet), as it appears to be a tricky and time intensive process, that may not be for the DIY faint of heart.

That said, if you are a daring DIYer, and want to try to fill the wood grain on your cabinets, one product that intrigues me is Benjamin Moore's Benwood Interior Finishes Wood Grain Filler. I'm a huge fan of Benjamin Moore's products, and use their paints (Benjamin Moore Advance ) and primers (Benjamin Moore Fresh Start ) for my cabinetry overhauls, so this product has my interest. I might have to give it a whirl.

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