Looking for a way to update your kitchen cabinets? Many homeowners and cabinet painters in Orlando, FL, face a common challenge: how to get rid of wood grain when painting kitchen cabinets. This guide will provide you with the necessary steps to achieve a smooth, professional finish, transforming the look of your kitchen.

How to Get Rid of Wood Grain When Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Why Get Rid of Wood Grain?

Wood grain is the visible pattern on the surface of wood, created by the growth rings. It can vary significantly depending on the type of wood. While wood grain can add a natural aesthetic, it may not suit those who prefer a modern, sleek look for their kitchen cabinets.

Preparing Your Cabinets

Preparing your cabinets correctly is the foundation for a successful paint job. It involves a few essential steps to ensure that the paint adheres well and lasts long. Let’s walk through the preparation steps:

Initial Steps

Start by removing all cabinet doors, drawers, and hardware. It’s crucial to work on a clean surface, so clean your cabinets thoroughly with a degreaser. This step ensures that any residue or oils are removed.


Next, sand the cabinets. Start with a medium-grit sandpaper (around 120-150 grit) to remove the glossy finish and roughen the surface for better paint adhesion. Always sand in the direction of the wood grain to prevent scratches. After sanding, use a tack cloth or a damp rag to wipe away all the dust.

Filling the Grain

Applying wood grain filler is an important step in getting rid of wood grain when painting kitchen cabinets. The right wood grain filler can make all the difference in creating a surface that’s both beautiful and uniform. Let’s explore the selection and application of wood grain filler, followed by the crucial step of sanding for the perfect cabinet surface.

Choosing the Right Wood Grain Filler

Wood grain filler is essential to achieve a smooth surface. Choose a filler that’s compatible with your cabinet material. For best results, opt for a filler that’s easy to sand and dries without cracking.

Grain Filler Application

Apply the grain filler with a putty knife, working it into the grain. Then, use a plastic scraper or a putty knife to remove excess filler, again going with the grain. Allow the filler to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Sanding the Filler

Once the filler is dry, sand the surface lightly with fine-grit sandpaper (around 220 grit). The goal is to smooth out the filler without removing it from the grain. This step may need to be repeated to completely fill the grain.

Priming the Cabinets

Select a high-quality primer that will adhere well to your cabinets and provide a good base for your paint. If your cabinets are made from a dense wood or have a dark finish, consider using a stain-blocking primer.

Apply the primer with a brush or roller, using even strokes. Be sure to cover all surfaces, including edges and grooves. Allow the primer to dry completely, which may take several hours.

Painting The Cabinets

Selecting Paint

When it comes to painting kitchen cabinets, selecting the right paint is crucial. You want something that not only looks good but also stands up to the frequent use and cleaning typical of a kitchen environment.

High-quality acrylic latex paint is often recommended by experts for this task. This type of paint is known for its durability and hard finish, which is exactly what you need in a kitchen. It can withstand the frequent opening and closing of doors and drawers, as well as resist chipping and peeling.

The paint finish also plays a critical role in the final look of your cabinets. We often recommend semi-gloss or gloss finishes. These finishes are not only aesthetically pleasing but also practical. They’re more resistant to moisture and can be wiped down easily, making them ideal for the kitchen environment.

Paint Application

To ensure a smooth, professional finish, it’s important to use the right tools and techniques. For applying paint to cabinets, you have two excellent options: a high-quality brush or a foam roller. A high-quality synthetic brush is perfect for getting into corners and detailed areas. It allows for more control, especially around hardware holes and edges. On the other hand, a foam roller is ideal for flat surfaces. It provides a smooth, even coat without the brush marks.

Note: If you decide to use a paint brush, make sure to read our blog post on how to paint cabinets without brush marks.

Before you begin, make sure your workspace is clean and free of dust. Lay down drop cloths to protect your floors and countertops. Stir your paint thoroughly to ensure a consistent color throughout.

When you’re ready to paint, start with a thin, even coat. It’s tempting to apply a thick coat to finish faster, but this can lead to drips and an uneven finish. A thin coat dries faster and adheres better, reducing the risk of peeling and chipping in the future.

Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next one. This might take a few hours or overnight, depending on the humidity and temperature. Rushing this process can result in a less durable finish.

For most cabinets, two or three coats of paint will be sufficient. The first coat acts as a base, and subsequent coats build up the color and coverage. The final coat is what gives your cabinets their finished look. It’s this layer that will be most visible and most subjected to wear and tear, so take your time to ensure it’s smooth and even.


Transforming your kitchen cabinets by getting rid of wood grain can be a rewarding DIY project. With patience and the right approach, you can achieve a smooth, modern finish that revitalizes your kitchen.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the thought of tackling a cabinet painting project on your own, consider reaching out to Cabinet Coating Kings.

We understand that your kitchen is more than just a space – it’s the heart of your home. That is why we offer a range of services to suit your specific needs. From choosing the right paint to ensuring a flawless finish, our team takes the stress out of the process, ensuring results that not only meet but exceed your expectations.

Take the first step toward your dream kitchen. Give us a call today at 407-917-9535 for a free consultation.