How to Paint Oak Cabinets to White: The Ultimate Guide

To paint oak cabinets to white, all that is required is to apply a few coats of paint. This task can be completed without the need to fully renovate your kitchen or to spend a lot of money.

By painting your oak cabinets white, the look and feel of your kitchen can be transformed immediately. Painting oak cabinets to white can be a great way to give your kitchen a new lease on life. We will discuss the steps involved in painting oak cabinets to white.

Additionally, we will provide you with some tips and tricks that will help you to hide the oak wood grain when painting. We will also discuss the best type of paint for oak cabinets. All this information will enable you to paint oak cabinets to white with ease and achieve a professional finish.

Choosing The Right Primer

Choosing the right primer is crucial when painting oak cabinets to white. Using a quality primer, such as Kilz Premium or Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Base, can help hide wood grain and ensure an even finish. Proper preparation including degreasing, applying grain filler, sanding, and dust removal are also critical steps for a successful result.

Choosing the Right Primer Before you start painting your oak cabinets white, it’s important to choose the right primer for optimal results. The right primer will ensure that the paint adheres properly to the wood surface and lasts longer. Here are some of the best primers for oak cabinets that you should consider:

Kilz Premium Primer

Kilz Premium Primer is a water-based primer that is ideal for covering up stains, tannins, and wood knots. It is perfect for oak cabinets as it seals in the wood pores, giving a uniform finish. It also dries quickly, preventing any possible drips or runs, and provides a perfect base for your paint.

Zinsser B‑i‑n Shellac‑base Primer

Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Base Primer is a great choice for oak cabinets, especially if you’re looking for a primer that dries quickly. What’s more, it works well on surfaces that are difficult to cover, such as knots, sap streaks, and wood grains.

Kilz Adhesion Primer

Kilz Adhesion Primer is an oil-based primer that works well on surfaces that are hard to stick to, such as tiles, glass, and vinyl. It’s ideal for oak cabinets as it helps the paint to adhere better, giving a smoother and longer-lasting finish.

Kilz Restoration Primer

If your oak cabinets have significant damage, then Kilz Restoration Primer is the ideal primer to use. It works well on surfaces with water and smoke damage, graffiti, rust, and even pet urine stains. This primer helps to cover up the damage and provide a smooth surface for the paint to adhere to. Therefore, choosing the right primer is crucial in ensuring that your oak cabinets are painted to perfection. You should consider the quality, durability, and specific needs of your oak cabinets before selecting a primer. With the correct primer, you will achieve a smooth and long-lasting white finish that will transform the look and feel of your kitchen instantly.

Prepping The Cabinets

Prepare the oak cabinets before painting them white by degreasing them, applying grain filler, and sanding them. It is important to remove excess primer from corners and sand down the trim before applying the paint with a roller for a smooth finish.

Before you paint your oak cabinets white, it is essential to properly prep them. Follow these H3 headings to get your cabinets ready for painting.

Diagramming Your Cabinets

The first step in prepping the cabinets is to diagram them. This is crucial to ensure that you don’t lose track of the cabinet doors, hinges, and hardware as you remove them. Use a labeling system and take pictures of every step.

Degreasing The Cabinets

Next, degrease the cabinets to remove any dirt and grime that has built up over time. Use a mixture of warm water and TSP to clean the cabinets thoroughly. Use a sponge to apply the solution.

Applying Grain Filler

Once the cabinets are dry, it is time to fill the grain with a wood filler. You can use natural grain fillers like Timbermate or use putty-like compounds. Apply the filler with a putty knife and allow it to dry completely.

Sanding The Cabinets

After the grain filler has dried, it’s time to sand the cabinets. Start with 120 grit sandpaper to remove the excess filler. Then move on to finer grits, such as 180 and 220. Sand in the direction of the wood grain to prevent any damage to the wood. Ensure that no sanding dust remains on the surfaces before you start painting. By following these steps, you can prep your cabinets for painting and create a smooth finish. Patience is key, as allowing each step to dry fully before moving on will ensure that the final result is optimal.

Painting The Cabinets

Transform the look of your kitchen by painting your oak cabinets white. With a few coats of paint, you don’t have to gut your kitchen to give it a facelift. Learn how to hide wood grain when painting and the best tips for painting oak cabinets.

Painting the Cabinets: Painting oak cabinets white can give your kitchen a new, updated look without having to spend a lot of money. This process can be done with a few simple steps: degreasing, grain-filling, sanding, applying primer and paint, and finally, adding any finishing touches. The most important part of painting oak cabinets white is the painting process itself. Here are some tips for ensuring that your paint job is flawless. Removing Excess Primer From Corners: When painting oak cabinets white, it is important to make sure that the primer is applied evenly throughout the cabinet and in all of the edges and corners. This helps to ensure that the paint adheres correctly and doesn’t leave any spots. However, when applying the primer, it can be easy to allow too much primer to build up in the corners of the cabinets. To avoid this problem, it is recommended to go back over the corners once the primer has dried and remove any excess primer with a sanding block or sandpaper. Removing Sanding Dust From Trim: Before the paint is applied to the oak cabinets, it is important to ensure that the surfaces are clean and free of debris. After sanding the cabinets, there may be dust buildup on trim and other areas that can affect the quality of the paint job. To avoid this issue, use a clean cloth or vacuum attachment to remove all the sanding dust from the cabinet surfaces. Applying Paint With a Roller: When it comes to painting oak cabinets white, using a roller with a smooth nap can help to ensure a professional-looking finish. Use long, even strokes when applying the paint, making sure to spread it as evenly as possible. It may take several coats of paint to get the desired finish, so be patient and allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next. In conclusion, painting oak cabinets white requires attention to detail and patience. By following these tips and using high-quality materials, you can achieve a modern, fresh look for your kitchen without breaking the bank.

Finishing Touches

Transform the look of your kitchen by painting your oak cabinets white with just a few coats of paint. Expert tips include degreasing, filling in the grain, sanding, and applying a primer coat before painting to ensure a smooth, long-lasting finish.

Avoid mistakes by following the guide to a successful cabinet transformation.

Installing Knobs

Once the paint has dried, add the finishing touch to your newly painted oak cabinets by installing new knobs or handles. This simple update can make a big difference in the overall look of your kitchen. For a modern and sleek look, consider selecting knobs or handles that are simple in design. Alternatively, for a more traditional or rustic look, consider selecting knobs or handles with more intricate designs or made from materials like brass, copper or wrought iron. To install the knobs, use a drill with a spade bit to make a hole where the knob will be installed. Then, place the knob into the hole and screw it in place from behind the cabinet door. Repeat the process for each knob until all the knobs have been installed.

Wrapping Up

With your newly painted oak cabinets, your kitchen is sure to look bright, modern and refreshed. However, before you completely wrap up the project, it is important to ensure that each cabinet has been painted evenly and that each coat has dried properly. Additionally, make sure to clean up any paint splatters or spills, and dispose of any paint cans or materials properly. With these final touches, you can be sure that your newly painted oak cabinets will not only look great but will also stay looking great for years to come.

Expert Tips For Painting Oak Cabinets

Transform the look of your kitchen by painting your oak cabinets white. With expert tips like degreasing, using grain filler, and applying multiple coats of paint, you can achieve a beautiful finish without needing to gut your kitchen. Don’t forget to choose the right primer and fill in the wood grain to create a smooth finish.

Painting oak cabinets white is a great way to update the look of your kitchen without having to replace your cabinets entirely. However, it’s important to follow the right steps in order to achieve a professional-looking finish. In this article, we will cover some expert tips that will help you paint your oak cabinets to white and achieve a durable and long-lasting finish.

Pros And Cons Of Painting Oak Cabinets White

Before we get into the nitty-gritty details of painting oak cabinets white, let’s briefly go over the pros and cons of this project. Pros:
  • Updating the look of your kitchen at a fraction of the cost of replacing your cabinets.
  • White cabinets create a bright and airy feel in your kitchen.
  • Painting cabinets is a DIY-friendly project that can be accomplished in a weekend.
  • Painting oak cabinets requires a lot of prep work, such as sanding and filling grain.
  • The wood grain might show through if not properly primed and painted.
  • The paint might chip or peel over time if not applied correctly.

Hiding Wood Grain When Painting

One of the biggest challenges when painting oak cabinets is hiding the wood grain. The best way to achieve a smooth finish is to use a grain filler. Grain fillers come in various colors, but you should choose one that matches the color of your paint. To apply the grain filler, use a putty knife and spread it over the grain in the direction of the wood. Let it dry completely, then sand it smooth. Repeat this process until the grain is completely filled. Once the grain is filled and sanded, use a tack cloth to remove any dust before painting.

Sanding Oak Cabinets Before Painting

Sanding your oak cabinets is an essential step in preparing your cabinets for painting. Sanding helps to remove any gloss or shine from the old finish and creates a rough surface that the paint can adhere to. Start by using a medium-grit sandpaper (between 120-150 grit) to sand the cabinets. Follow up with a fine-grit sandpaper (between 220-300 grit) to smooth any rough areas. After sanding, use a tack cloth to remove any dust, then wipe down the cabinets with a damp cloth to remove any remaining residue.

Choosing The Best Paint For Oak Cabinets

Choosing the right paint for your oak cabinets will ensure that your project is a success. When selecting a paint, look for one that is durable, self-leveling, and has a semi-gloss or satin finish. It’s also important to choose a primer that is specifically designed for oak cabinets. A high-quality primer will help to prevent the wood grain from showing through and will ensure that the paint adheres properly. Some of the best primers and cabinet paints for oak cabinets include:
Primer Cabinet Paint
Kilz Premium Primer Beyond Paint All-in-One Paint
Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Base Primer All in One Paint
Kilz Adhesion Primer Nuvo Titanium Infusion Cabinet Paint Kit
Kilz Restoration Primer
Choosing the right primer and paint will ensure that your oak cabinets look beautiful for years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions Of How To Paint Oak Cabinets To White

Can You Paint White Over Oak Cabinets?

Yes, you can paint white over oak cabinets and transform the look of your kitchen instantly. You don’t have to gut your kitchen for a facelift. All you need is a few coats of paint. Use a high-quality paint and primer, and sand and degrease the cabinets before painting for better results.

How Do You Paint Oak Cabinets White Without Grain Showing?

To paint oak cabinets white without showing the grain, you will need to follow a special process. This typically involves degreasing the cabinets, applying grain filler, sanding, and painting with a roller. You may also want to consider using a high-quality primer, such as Kilz Premium Primer or Zinsser B-I-N Shellac-Base Primer.

Once the cabinets are dry, they will look brand new and give your kitchen an instant facelift.

Do Oak Cabinets Need Sanding Before Painting?

Yes, oak cabinets need to be sanded before painting to ensure that the paint adheres properly and gives a smooth finish. Sanding helps to remove any existing finish and rough up the surface, creating a better bonding surface for the paint.

Additionally, sanding helps to smooth out any imperfections and knots in the wood.

What Is The Best Paint For Oak Cabinets?

The best paint for oak cabinets is Benjamin Moore’s Advance paint, which is an Alkyd paint that is easy to clean and very durable once it has fully cured. It acts like an oil and provides a smooth finish.


Painting your oak cabinets white is a great way to update your kitchen without breaking the bank. While painting oak cabinets can seem intimidating, it can be done with a little patience and the right tools. By following the steps outlined or watching one of the many tutorials available online, you can achieve a beautiful and modern look in your kitchen.

So go ahead and give it a try, your newly painted cabinets will make a world of difference in your home!

Md Meraj

This is Meraj. I’m the main publisher of this blog. Wood Working Advisor is a blog where I share wood working tips and tricks, reviews, and guides. Stay tuned to get more helpful articles!

Recent Posts