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How to Update Kitchen Cabinets

Learn how to paint kitchen cabinets like a professional! It’s a big job so make it easier with these tips about using a quality paint sprayer.


A kitchen is the soul of the house, so updating cabinets to reflect your style is a high impact and budget friendly home DIY project. We gave this kitchen an amazing update by paint spraying the cabinets, updating the door hardware, and adding new pendant island lights. The cost to paint cabinets is much cheaper than a remodel, and it's time to give your kitchen the remodel look, without the remodel expense. And after staring at this wall of honey oak cabinets for years, this kitchen was due for an update.

*Please note, new island light install is not featured in this project


Kitchen Before


Kitchen Cabinet Makeover


Clean with TSP or degreaser

The good news is you do NOT need to sand down to bare wood, a good rough up with 120 grit sandpaper will do for most cabinet paints. Sand in the direction of the grain or use an orbital sander and mouse sander to reduce the work by 80%. Make sure to wipe off all dust thoroughly before painting.

Not Sanded and sanded


For this cabinet set, we recommend the Flexio series that comes with 2 nozzles and tanks like the Wagner FLEXiO 3000 Paint Sprayer. This sprayer comes with two nozzles – one for finer, detail work such as cabinets and one for larger projects like staining a fence or walls. On this particular sprayer, and most Wagner sprayers, there are 3 knobs to adjust: the air flow, the paint flow, and the paint width. The detail nozzle does not have the spray pattern width. Both sizes have the option to spray vertically or horizontally.

Although this sprayer can handle most paints un-thinned, if you are getting a spotty finish or the sprayer is spitting, thin the paint with up to 10% water.

Flow Control Knobs


Beyond the setup, using the sprayer is as easy as it gets. Just point and shoot! However, there are a few quick tips to make the process go smoothly:

  • Dried paint can build up on the tip of the sprayer, causing your paint to splatter. Simply wipe away with a lint free rag occasionally
  • Always test a scrap board (preferred) or large piece of cardboard, even after refills or breaks
  • Your spray pattern should be wider than your cabinets. Start by spraying off the board, meaning engage the sprayer just before you are over the surface. Spray all the way across, and let go of the trigger after you have gone off the door. If you do happen to see spatter, wipe off immediately and spray again.
  • Clean the sprayer immediately after use to keep it working in tip-top shape. If spraying in an enclosed space, clean out the air filters on the side of the Wagner 3000.
  • Spraying Cabinets


    After spraying, dry the doors raised off the floor to keep the wet sides from touching anything.

    Kitchen Cabinets drying
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