How to Paint Cabinets Without Sanding.
I have to be honest. I feel a little blasphemous for saying this, especially when so many of you out there are pro-DIYers, but….IrarelysandwhenIpaintoverwood.
Phew! Now, that I’ve got that out of the way, let me explain just how I get away with painting things, like cabinets, without sanding.
First, I have to take a moment to
brag give you a little background about my dad. He’s spent his entire life in the construction business. He started on the job when he was quite young, then moved into the office as an estimator. When the owner of the company he worked for retired, he took over as part owner for 12 years. Owning a company involved an incredible amount of work and stress though, so he eventually resigned from that company. He moved to another company where he was essentially doing the exact same job, just without the stress of ownership. My dad is a perfectionist through-and-through and has won numerous national awards for his work. So, needless to say, when it comes to any type of home project, I trust his judgement fully. (Okay, bragging explaining concluded.)
My dad has remodeled/renovated the house that I grew up in (and that my parents are still living in) many times over. So, whenever my brother and I have questions about home projects, he is our first, and often only, source of information. And this is the method he recommends for painting wood.
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- Paintbrush (and roller) – We use Purdy products
- Deglosser/Liquid Sander – (My dad recommends the brand Paso. It can’t be found in my area though, so I use this.)
- Some type of soft rag – An old t-shirt works well for this
- Primer – Our favorite is Sherwin Williams Pro-Block
- Paint – Again, our favorite is Sherwin Williams Pro-Classic in semi-gloss
- Small square of sandpaper – (I know I said no sanding, so just stick with me here.)
- Drop cloth
- Paint thinner (for cleaning brushes)
- Painters tape (if needed)
- Chemical resistant gloves (if you have sensitive skin)
And that’s it. So, let’s get started.
The first step is to wipe down the entire surface that you are painting with the deglosser.
Liquid sander/deglosser essentially breaks down the surface that it is applied to, or micro-etches it, allowing paint to better adhere. Bear in mind, it does use chemicals to achieve this, but it saves a massive amount of prep time.
Let this dry for about 10-15 minutes, and you are ready to move on to the next step – painting!
Now, here’s where it may get a bit tricky. The Sherwin Williams Pro-Block and Pro-Classic are available in both latex base and oil base. My dad has always recommended using oil based paint when painting over wood. Oil paint provides an amazing looking finish, and it is significantly more durable than latex. It can be a bit tough to work with though, especially if you’ve never used it before. (You’ll need to make sure that your paintbrushes are suitable for oil paint. Oil brushes have different bristles than latex brushes.)
Once your deglosser has dried for 10-15 minutes, give your cabinets a coat of primer.
Make sure your brush strokes are going with the grain of wood, not against it. With oil paint, you don’t want to get too much on your brush at a time, and you’ll want to move somewhat quickly. You certainly don’t need to feel frantic or rushed, but oil paint becomes quite tacky after it’s been applied to a surface. So, once you have created a brush stroke, you won’t be able to brush over that same spot again and again to smooth it out perfectly because the paint will be too tacky. Don’t panic, though, when your first coat looks terribly uneven. Oil paint really does a pretty good job of leveling itself out.
For our cabinets, we removed the doors and painted them in the garage. The doors of our cabinets are actually two separate pieces. The inside panel of the door is removable. So, after removing the panels, my husband painted them with a roller. The outside frame of the doors, as well as all of the stationary cabinet, were painted with a brush. (Another important note: Oil paint is more prone to running than latex. So, this is another reason you want to be careful not to use too much paint. Stick to fairly thin coats, otherwise you may end up with drip marks.)
If you have a piece, or cabinet, that has a large flat area, feel free to paint that with a roller, as it will probably be quicker and more even. Any detail work though, will obviously need to be done with a brush.
Moving on. Because oil paint is so tacky, it takes a while to fully set and dry. So, you’ll want to make sure that each coat has dried enough before moving on to the next coat. We had no problem doing one coat per day until the project was finished.
After getting a coat of primer on, it is time to break out the paint. This is actually where the little square of sand paper comes in. We did a very light sanding in between coats. Truly, it was nothing heavy duty. Just a very quick once over to help the next coat adhere. (Honestly, it’s not a necessary step. So, feel free to use it, or not.)
The same rules that I mentioned above apply here as well. If you are working with oil paint, don’t get too much on your brush, move relatively quickly, and don’t repaint over the same area too much. You’ll find that with every coat you do, you will become more and more comfortable working with oil paint.
I would recommend at least a full day in between coats. My husband and I did 1 coat of primer and 2 coats of paint on these cabinets. Once you have completely covered the original surface, you’re done!
Note: As I mentioned earlier, oil paint takes a while to fully dry and set. Once you’ve completed painting, you will need to be careful with your project for a few days to a week. The paint will be easier to nick if it has not fully set yet. So, just be gentle for a little while. 🙂
Another note: Oil paint can only be removed with paint thinner or mineral spirits (although paint thinner works best). You will not be able to clean your brushes, or your hands, with just water.
So, there you have it. That is how I paint without sanding. This particular painting project was part of a quick bathroom redo that we did right after the holidays. I’ll be revealing the whole thing next week. So, stay tuned!