Asked on Mar 08, 2018

What is the best way to paint high gloss white kitchen cabinets?

Bev McElravy
by Bev McElravy
We are remodeling our kitchen and like the high gloss cabinets but don't know what is the best paint to get that effect. Our current cabinets are a regular semi-gloss white paint and have not stood up to the constant cleaning they get.

  11 answers
  • If you have a healthy renovation budget, send the doors and drawers out to be professonally finished. Then you paint the boxes yourselves. Here is the trick. They need to use the same paint that you will be using to paint the boxes. Let me try to explain. If a project takes 2 gallons of paint, I dump both 1 gallon cans into a 5 gallon paint bucket and gently stir (you do not want to get air bubbles), so any imperfections from the separately mixed paint is now consistent. If you are buying a "stock" color, make sure the lot or batch numbers are the same. Otherwise you run the risk of slight color variations between the different lots or cans. Hope I explained that well enough.

  • Lacquer would give you a high-gloss finish.

  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Mar 08, 2018

    to try to simplify the above comment....maybe this will steer you in the direction.

  • Rosy Rosy on Mar 08, 2018

    Go to your local paint store and get advice from them. I personally use Sherwin Williams paint. The key to cabinet painting is to prep the cabinets well. Sand and clean thoroughly, you will thank yourself later.

  • Linda Sikut Linda Sikut on Mar 08, 2018

    Hi Bev,

    Going along with Naomie's suggestion, if you really want to do it yourself you could rent or borrow a spray painter and use a high gloss enamel. High gloss enamel comes in latex and oil based paint, but the cleanup is more difficult with oil based paint. Be sure you're confident with cleanup before you start. It's also a good idea to practice on some scraps of wood before you start the project. Do the cabinet fronts and drawers in a well ventilated area and use a mask so you don't breathe in paint from the air. Wishing you the best.

  • Janice Janice on Mar 08, 2018

    Good prep work is the key to a great paint job, Always! Don't skimp on cleaning and sanding and taping off the areas you don't want painted. I would buy the best paint I can find (check with your paint dealer) in a gloss. Personally, I'd do this with a fine brush or foam roller or combination of the two. Do it in stages using saw horses in a garage so you can paint one side, then the other and let dry well and do two coats. It will be worth taking the time to do the two coats with plenty of drying time in between each coat. Do it right the first time and you'll be so pleased with the project and yourself. You could probably get the high gloss finish you want by doing a clear seal coat over the paint (does not have to be gloss if you go this route) Your paint store is your friend as they hear what results their customers have had with specific paints. Good luck!

  • Chubby58 Chubby58 on Mar 08, 2018

    Go to the habitat restore and purchase a couple of doors. They are pretty cheap, then practice on them before you decide to do your entire kitchen. I always do this when I’m trying something different.

  • William William on Mar 08, 2018

    Make sure they are clean and dry. Remove the doors and hardware. Mark the doors and cabinets with tape where they go. Lightly sand the doors and cabinets to remove any gloss and roughen the surface for paint with 120- to 220-grit sandpaper. Use a tack cloth or damp rag to remove dust after sanding. Prime with a stain blocking primer like Zinsser 123, KILZ,or BIN and have it tinted to the color of the top coat. This will prevent dark or stained surfaces from showing through the top coat. Acrylic, or water-base, paints are low-fume and clean up easily with water. Alkyd, or oil-base, paints require good ventilation because the paint contains solvents that can irritate your lungs and make you feel sick. Alkyd options require mineral spirits for cleanup, but they provide a hard, durable paint finish. Whichever you use, buy the best-quality paint you can afford for a lasting kitchen cabinet finish. Seal with at least three coats with a water based polyurethane. Use a small foam roller and foam brush for a smooth finish.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Apr 19, 2024

    You would really need a professional Spray painted finish or maybe change out the doors for new in the colour and finish you want.

  • Hi Bev! You can check out this article for more information on how to paint gloss kitchen cabinets. Hope this helps!

  • High gloss can be a tough feat to accomplish but not impossible. The best way is to send them out to be painted by a pro who has a controlled environment and sprayers. Otherwise you can take the doors off and possibly rent a paint sprayer. You'd need to clean everything excessively well, likely do some sanding and prep if there are dings, prime then paint. High gloss shows any and every little imperfection so if there's even a whiff of dust on there in the process, it'll show.