Asked on Jan 11, 2020

How do I paint oak cabinets in which I can see the wood grain?

PamelaFiddledd224Kathy Gunter Law


I have oak cabinets in my kitchen. I would like to paint them cream or white to update my kitchen. Is it possible when you can see the pores in the grain of the wood?

8 answers
  • Janice
    on Jan 11, 2020

    When you paint oak the grain will show through. If you don't want the grain to show, you must sand and then fill in with a filler and sand until smooth. Painted oak cabinetry can look beautiful and create an entirely different look. I've seen beatiful oak cabinets painted grey. Gorgeous!

  • Cheryl A
    on Jan 11, 2020

    we stained ours so the grain would show through and used a darker stain they look brand new

  • Betsy
    on Jan 11, 2020

    Hi Kelly: Do you want to see the grain? If so, I'd clean them really well. Check this site: and then maybe stain them or check this site:


    There are more if you scroll down.

    Good luck

  • Kathy Gunter Law
    on Jan 11, 2020

    Since you want the grain to show, you can clean and prep then prime and paint. You could also do a wash instead of paint or pickle finish. Make sure to research the prep and organizing of this process. Things like numbering doors and drawers as well as gathering all hardware in a sealed container will save you a lot of time and grief.

  • Fiddledd224
    on Jan 11, 2020

    Take a good photo or one of the cabinet doors to your home improvement or paint store and ask for their advice on paints, stains and application methods. They have the newest products you may not have thought of!

    • Fiddledd224
      on Jan 12, 2020

      Kelly, for a major facelift (no matter what the's about impact) I always ask for advice from the pros. Not only is it free, but they know their stuff and want you to have the best results. I'm anxious to see the finished project 😁

  • Pamela
    on Jan 11, 2020

    Hi ! The retirement home we recently bought was stuck in the 70's . I had builder grade oak cabinets that had an ugly scalloped inset on the cabinet doors . Since my kitchen was last on the list , and I was impatient , lol , I thought I could do something to the kitchen to hold me over . I did a lot of research on types of paint , I really didn't want to have to sand them first . I found 2 ways , one was using chalk paint and a sealing wax , my sister used that method , and they came out great . I chose to use advance paint by Benjamin Moore . No sanding , or primer needed !!!! Just clean your cabinets well , I used a de greased and a de glosser both by Krud Kutter ($6 each ) I also cut a piece of beadboard to cover the inset area , glueing it down , before painting . I used 2 coats of paint . This paint is a hybrid paint that brushes and hands wash off with soap and water , but dries hard like an enamel . It is also a self leveling paint , brush strokes , or roller marks level out to a smooth finish . It has been 2 years since I painted my cabinets and they have held up great !!!

    I posted a tutorial on this site called New kitchen on a budget . You can see my step by step process and tips . Good luck !

  • Pamela
    on Jan 11, 2020

    Here are some pictures ... you can still see some grain , if you really look for it

    Painting them white made a huge difference !!!

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