Painting kitchen cabinets-would you brush paint or use a roller?

ella-2010November 30, 2010


I have samples of both and both look good. I'm leaning towards the brush but wanted to know what others think based on your btdt experience.

Fwiw, the kitchen/apartment is contemporary in design.



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Most definitely use a roller. They make small, white spongey ones that work great. You can get them at Home Deport, Lowes, etc. I painted A LOT of cabinets and they finish very nicely.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 12:26PM
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Fori is not pleased

If both look good, use whatever is easiest. It's a big job!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 12:30PM
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I should have clarified - I won't be doing the painting! We've engaged professional painters and they gave us samples of both.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 12:48PM
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I just took the leap and started priming my bathroom vanity this morning. I'm using a quality aklyd primer and foam roller. It looks sort of bubbly. Will it get better when I lightly sand and start with the top coats. Do you have another description for the roller you use?

The instructions suggest either a foam roller or a china brush. Do you have any experience using a china brush?

Thanks from a girl named "Max"

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 1:03PM
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I don't like the little stiple marks that a roller, even the foam ones, leaves, so I do all woodwork, including cabinetry with a brush and a very thick, self-leveling paint. Sometimes I roll on and immediately back brush (just one roller width at a time).

If I were having my cabinets professionally painted, though, I'd want them sprayed.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 3:55PM
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If you are using professionals they should probably be spraying, not brushing or rolling. That is how it's done professionally.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchens for Living

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 4:01PM
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There is nothing to compare to having the paint sprayed on the cabinets.

But if spraying isn't possible (in my case, I've only had one very old buffet sprayed...the rest I did myself) then I've rolled with the foam roller and then went over that same spot immediately with a good Purdy Brush.
Over the wet paint once, with the grain.

My thinking: The roller gets the paint on evenly and faster, but going over it with the brush gives me the look I want without those little bubbly-nubbies that a roller leaves.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 4:13PM
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Hi creative_glow and amity,

Thanks for replying.

I was told spraying wasn't an option because 1)they don't have offsite premises and would need to do it here and 2)the Aura paint is too thick to spray.

Amity, it's the "bubbly-nubbies" that I was concerned about when using the roller!

Now I'm curious - can you actually spray the Aura?


    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 4:48PM
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I am currently in the midst of painting my new MDF doors to match the sanded and painted raised panel oak base of my refinished cabinets. We didn't want to go to all the work of refinishing the old style oak doors so we purchased new MDF with raised panels in a more modern style.

Anyway, I am painting them by hand with a foam brushes of different sizes, also using bristle brushes on the large sections and smoothing out with the foam brush. I didn't want the perfect factory look of sprayed doors because it wouldn't match the slight texture of the oak base.

It's turning out great, no issue, no bubbles. 3 coats of BM Cabinet Coat in Timid White.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 5:43PM
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You can definitely spray the Aura. That's how ours are being done.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 6:26PM
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I think it's a matter of personal taste. With our first house's kitchen renovation 13 years ago, we wanted to be able to see the brush strokes on custom cabinetry. To me, that looks less mass-produced: a perfect sprayed-on finish would have looked out of place in this particular kitchen, installed in an early Victorian house. Our very patient painter did a beautiful job. I know that other customers of his have made similar requests. So do what looks best to you!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 6:39PM
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A previous poster with a beautiful kitchen I admire mentioned that she read the advice here to have initial coat(s) sprayed on but have the final coat brushed on. This way any future touch ups a homeowner might need to do (nicks/chips) would blend more easily. That makes a lot of sense to me. (I'll link her kitchen below)

I also agree with what farmgirlinky just posted, that brushing seems more appropriate for an older/"period" kitchen look. That's what we plan to do.

Here is a link that might be useful: jbrodie's kitchen 2 coat spray/1 coat brush

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 8:20PM
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I use a roller for flat panels and primer. Molded doors probably will need a brush. I have never noticed "bubbily-nubbily's" on my cabinets, but then again I've never noticed them on walls either, if you don't skimp on paint. Maybe it is like a "think" the whole world sees it, but their not closely looking? =)

    Bookmark   November 30, 2010 at 8:58PM
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I would prefer spraying, also, but if that's not possible then I would go with the brush. We had our built-ins in the family room brush-painted and it turned out beautifully. If you look closely you can see the brush strokes, but the overall look is simply gorgeous.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 12:12AM
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Hi and thank you everyone!

I've asked the painter to get back to me about spraying. However I wonder if one problem will be that apart from one section of the kitchen, all the cabinets have frames - do they also spray those? Or paint them?

If the Aura can be sprayed and they don't have a place offsite to do them, how messy would it be to do them here? Anyone btdt?

Last point - if it's going to be a big issue with them to spray, I might just go the brush route since I don't dislike it enough to eliminate it as an option.

I think my big stress issue now is deciding on paint colors!

Thanks again,

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 1:32PM
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