Can You Paint Cabinets Without Sanding

Are you tired of looking at your outdated kitchen cabinets but dreading the thought of sanding them down? You're not alone. Sanding cabinets can be a tedious and time-consuming task, but luckily, there is a solution. You can paint your cabinets without sanding them first.

Yes, you read that right. You can transform your kitchen cabinets without the hassle of sanding. This may sound too good to be true, but with the right supplies and techniques, you can achieve a professional-looking finish that will make your cabinets look brand new.

In this article, we will guide you through the process of painting your cabinets without sanding, from gathering the necessary supplies to finishing the job. So, put down that sandpaper and let's get started.

Key Takeaways

  • Cleaning cabinets thoroughly before painting is crucial to ensure a smooth finish.
  • Alternative priming options such as bonding primer or liquid sandpaper can be used instead of traditional sanding.
  • Choosing the right primer, paint, and protective topcoat is important for durability and longevity.
  • Cabinet color choices should match the kitchen's aesthetic, and hardware should complement the new color.

Gather the Necessary Supplies

You'll need to grab all the supplies, like a degreaser, painter's tape, a paintbrush, and a foam roller, before you can start painting your cabinets without sanding. It's important to clean your cabinets thoroughly before you start the painting process.

Cleaning hacks like using vinegar and water or a mixture of baking soda and dish soap can help remove any grime or grease buildup on the cabinets.

Once you've gathered your supplies and cleaned your cabinets, you can start prepping them for painting. There are alternative priming options available that can help the paint adhere better to the cabinets without the need for sanding.

These options include using a bonding primer or a liquid sandpaper product. With these steps complete, you can move on to the next section about 'clean the cabinets' to ensure a smooth and successful painting process.

Clean the Cabinets

Before beginning the process of transforming your kitchen, it's important to prepare the cabinets by thoroughly cleaning them. This step is crucial as it ensures that the paint will adhere properly and last longer. To properly clean cabinets, you'll need to gather some cleaning products and tools.

Here are some of the best cleaning products for cabinets and how to use them:

Cleaning Product How to Use
Mild dish soap and warm water Mix 1-2 teaspoons of dish soap with warm water in a bucket. Dip a cloth in the mixture and wring it out. Wipe the cabinets with the cloth, making sure to get into the corners and crevices. Rinse the cloth frequently and change the water as needed.
Vinegar and water Mix equal parts of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture onto the cabinets and wipe them down with a clean cloth. Be sure to rinse the cloth frequently and change the mixture as needed.
TSP (trisodium phosphate) Mix 1/4 cup of TSP with 2 gallons of warm water in a bucket. Wear gloves and protective eyewear when using TSP. Dip a sponge in the mixture and wring it out. Wipe the cabinets with the sponge, making sure to get into the corners and crevices. Rinse the sponge frequently and change the water as needed.

After thoroughly cleaning the cabinets, the next step is to prime them.

Prime the Cabinets

Oddly enough, even though it may seem counterintuitive, skipping the primer step could actually end up costing you more time and money in the long run. Priming the cabinets before painting them can benefit you in several ways.

Firstly, it ensures that your paint adheres better to the surface, preventing any peeling or chipping. This is especially important for cabinets that are prone to moisture or grease, as they can compromise the paint's integrity over time.

Additionally, priming can help cover up any stains or discoloration on the cabinets, giving you a more even and consistent finish. When choosing a primer for your cabinet painting project, it's best to opt for a high-quality, oil-based product. Some popular options include Zinsser BIN Shellac-Based Primer, Sherwin-Williams ProBlock Oil-Based Primer, and Kilz Original Oil-Based Primer.

Now that you understand the benefits of priming, it's time to move on to the next step: painting the cabinets.

Paint the Cabinets

Now it's time to get down to business and jazz up those drab cabinets with a fresh coat of paint! First, choose a cabinet color that matches your kitchen's overall aesthetic. White, gray, and navy are popular choices for a classic and timeless look, while bold colors like red or green can add a fun pop of personality.

Consider the cost comparison between using a high-quality paint versus a cheaper option, as well as the potential need for multiple coats of paint.

Next, gather your supplies and start painting! Use a high-quality paintbrush or roller to apply even coats of paint, starting with the cabinet frames and then moving on to the doors. Be sure to let each coat dry completely before applying the next one. Don't forget to paint the sides and edges of the doors for a finished look.

Cabinet painting can be a time-consuming project, but the end result is worth it. With a fresh coat of paint and a new color, your cabinets will look brand new and completely transformed.

To finish the cabinets, you'll need to add a protective topcoat. But before we move onto that step, let's take a closer look at cabinet finishes.

Finish the Cabinets

Now that you've successfully painted your cabinets, it's time to finish them off.

Applying a protective coat to the cabinets will not only add a layer of durability but also enhance the appearance of the paint job.

Remember to reattach any hardware and doors that were removed during the painting process to ensure the cabinets are fully functional.

Apply a Protective Coat

To protect the painted cabinets, you should apply a coat of protective sealant. Benefits of protection include preventing scratches, water damage, and fading. Choosing the right finish will depend on the desired look and level of durability. Options include polyurethane, wax, and varnish.

My friend painted her kitchen cabinets without sanding and applied a clear polyurethane coat to ensure the paint wouldn't chip or peel.

After applying the protective coat, it's time to reattach hardware and doors. This step will give your cabinets a polished look and ensure they function properly.

Reattach Hardware and Doors

As you reattach the hardware and doors, the final touches will come together to give your cabinets a polished and complete look. Before you start, make sure you have all the necessary tools and hardware. If you are replacing hinges, make sure they are the same size and style as the old ones. If you are updating knobs or handles, choose ones that complement the new color of your cabinets.

To reattach the hardware, use a screwdriver to secure the hinges and handles in place. Make sure they are aligned properly and tighten the screws until they are snug. Check to see if the doors open and close smoothly. If they don't, adjust the hinges until they do. Once everything is in place, step back and admire your newly painted cabinets with their updated hardware.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I need to wait before using my newly painted cabinets?

To speed up cabinet paint drying time, wait at least 24 hours before using them. Properly clean and maintain newly painted cabinets by wiping down with a damp cloth and avoiding harsh chemicals.

Can I use regular wall paint on my cabinets instead of specialized cabinet paint?

You can use regular wall paint on your cabinets, but it's not recommended. Pros include a wider range of color options and affordability, but cons include lack of durability and potential chipping or peeling. It's best to use specialized cabinet paint.

Will painting my cabinets without sanding cause the paint to peel or chip easily?

To ensure long-lasting results, sanding is typically recommended before painting cabinets. Skipping this step may lead to peeling or chipping. However, some pros of skipping sanding include saving time and effort. Best practice is to use a deglosser or primer before painting.

How many coats of primer and paint do I need to apply for the best results?

To achieve the best results when painting cabinets, consider the type of primer and application technique used. Allow ample drying time and follow the recommended curing process for optimal durability. Think of it like building a strong foundation for a house.

Can I paint over laminate cabinets without sanding them first?

When painting laminate cabinets, tips and tricks include using a high-adhesion primer, cleaning with a degreaser, and using a bonding agent. Alternative methods for prepping include using a liquid sandpaper or a deglosser. Sanding can also be necessary for best results.


Congratulations, you've successfully painted your cabinets without sanding! Not only did you save yourself time and effort, but you also achieved a beautiful and updated look for your kitchen or bathroom.

By following the steps outlined above, you were able to gather the necessary supplies, clean the cabinets thoroughly, prime them, paint them, and finish them off with a protective coating. It may have taken some patience and attention to detail, but the end result is worth it!

Remember that painting cabinets without sanding is a cost-effective and efficient way to transform your space. Plus, you can choose from a wide range of colors and finishes to suit your personal style.

So go ahead, show off your newly painted cabinets and bask in the satisfaction of a job well done. Happy painting!

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