Should You Have a Professional Spray Paint or Brush Your Kitchen Cabinets?

January 30, 2020
should you have a professional spray paint or brush paint your kitchen cabinets

Having a professional paint your kitchen cabinets is a great way to extend the life of existing cabinets but still give your kitchen a much-needed facelift. If your kitchen cabinets or cupboards are in good condition but the color is faded or outdated, a fresh coat of paint is a great option. If you want the best finish possible, there’s no alternative to hiring a professional team.

Our guide will help you make an informed decision when it comes time to bring in the professionals. When you’re browsing companies, it’s essential to consider their painting methods and practices. By being better informed about the cabinet finishing process and the end results, you can make an educated decision about the best option for your needs.

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Spray Painting vs. Brush Painting Cabinets

There are two methods for painting cabinets and cupboards: brush painting and spray painting.

Brush painting is exactly what it sounds like — using a paintbrush or roller to apply paint. On the other hand, spray painting kitchen cabinets involves using a paint sprayer to evenly apply each coat of paint over the cabinet doors. Although the terms are similar, spray painting, in this case, has nothing to do with using cans of spray paint.

Cabinets should always be repainted with cabinet paint, which is a paint specifically designed to stand up to the demands of kitchen life, including repeated touching as doors are opened and closed, food and liquid spills and encounters with steam and heat coming from your oven or stove. Cabinet paints are specifically formulated to dry harder so that they can hold up to constant use and wear over time.

No other paint variety can provide as much resistance to kitchen wear as the type specifically designated for cabinet finishing. For example, latex paint has a tendency to streak and peel with lots of use, and in a short time, may ruin the painstakingly planned look of your beautiful kitchen.

You don’t have to go far to find arguments for and against both methods. But there are some obvious benefits, as well as drawbacks, to using either method in a cabinet facelift.

The Professional Cabinet Painting Process

When it comes to painting or repainting your kitchen cabinets, first you have to decide whether or not you like the appearance of a paint finish. Consider your decor, kitchen counters and appliances and other aesthetics before deciding on a paint color. Quality paint jobs mean choosing the right color, variety and application — and the best professionals for your needs.

So, how do professionals paint kitchen cabinets?

A lot of people don’t realize that there’s more to finishing cabinets than simply slapping on a coat of paint. When professional painters take on a kitchen cabinet project, they follow a process.

First, they prepare your cabinet surfaces by cleaning them and removing any hardware, such as hinges and knobs. Then they remove the drawers and doors to paint them separately.

Once they’ve disassembled everything, they look for any imperfections or damage. If they find dents, cracks or scrapes, they will fill them in to even out the surface before applying paint. Professionals sand and prime the cabinets, and then the cabinets are ready for color.

The painting will take the most time, as the professionals will apply multiple coats, and each coat needs time to dry before they cover it with the next layer. You’ll also have a choice in how they go about painting — spraying or brushing — depending on your needs and the surface type and area of your cabinets.

After the final coat, they’ll be sure to clean up around the edges and inspect for any inconsistencies or missed spots. They’ll make any additional revisions, then reassemble your cabinets, leaving you with a new style and a beautiful kitchen space.

Although the general steps are the same whether you brush or spray the paint into place, there are some clear pros and cons to each method that are worth considering long before you hire a painting company.

Pros of Brush Painting

There’s something to be said for good, old-fashioned brush painting. When painting cabinets, brush painting can be helpful because it allows for:

pros of brush painting

Faster Preparation

Whenever professionals paint cabinets, they have to prepare the kitchen in several ways. Regardless of the location or subject, every painting project requires a clean application surface and masking. Masking defines the edges of the cabinets and protects walls, counters and other surrounding surfaces from accidental paint application. With brush painting, masking takes much less time and tape, as professionals can create straight lines by hand without risking overspray.


When using a brush, painters can apply thick or thin coats, depending on how they blend and apply the cabinet paint. While the paint that goes into a sprayer has to be thin enough to create a fine mist, brushes are excellent for any paint viscosity. Because of this, painters can apply thicker coats in a single application, helping improve the longevity of the paint in as little as two layers.

Reduced Paint Costs

Even with professional care, a gallon of paint will typically go further with hand brushing than it does with spraying, meaning lower paint expenses. Brushing allows the painters to apply the color directly to the surface of the cabinets, only wasting the small amount left on their brushes at the end of the project. Spraying atomizes the paint, meaning some of the droplets inevitably float away, and any paint left in the tubing of the sprayer goes to waste.

Cons of Brush Painting

Although some people still prefer brush painting, there are a few definite downsides to using this traditional method, including:

Longer Painting Process

Brush painting cabinets takes an extended amount of time, especially if your kitchen has many cabinets and doors to paint. Each surface will require at least two coats of paint, and each coat needs to dry completely before painters can apply the next. Brush painting requires close attention to detail to ensure even layers and no missed spots, and since it’s all completed by hand, the process is more drawn out than with spraying.

Also, the layers naturally go on thicker, meaning longer dry time in between coats and after the project is finished. And, considering your kitchen will basically be unusable while you’re doing this, every day is another day you’ll be eating microwave dinners or takeout.

Brush Marks

While they are excellent for thick application, unfortunately, standard paintbrushes also make getting an even coat more difficult. Even the most precise of brush painters will end up with some brush marks or drips on the cabinet surface.

Additionally, the first coat of paint determines how the following coats look. Painters can sand drips and marks out after the first layer, but they can’t do that on the final layer, which could mean your cabinets and doors have visible marks on them from day one.

Pros of Spray Painting

Spray painting offers several benefits when it comes to painting cabinets, including:

pros of spray painting

Faster Application

Once professionals get past the preparation stage, paint application is much faster with sprayers than brushes. They can cover a greater area in less time and, since the layers go on thinner, there’s less drying wait time between applications.

Smoother Coverage

When professionals use a paint sprayer to paint cabinets, there’s no worry about leaving behind those unsightly brush strokes that come when they use a paintbrush or roller. Paint sprayers leave a nice even finish that doesn’t typically require touch up or sanding after the fact.

Additionally, sprayers can get paint in every nook and cranny, even over uneven surfaces and behind objects. When it comes to indoor cabinets, little mistakes and missed spots become very noticeable, and fixing the mistakes can be a lengthy project that might ruin your finish. With sprayers, the painters can apply an even layer without bubbles, missed spots or brush strokes.

Reduced Labor Costs

Hiring professionals is a must for painting interior cabinets, but you should consider the labor expenses. Spray painting can apply twice as much of a coating as compared to a standard paintbrush and can save you money on labor. It takes less time to cover a larger surface area, so professional painters that know they can finish the project faster, meaning lower labor costs.

Cons of Spray Painting

There are some definite benefits to painting cabinets with a paint sprayer. But is there a downside to spray painting cabinets?


Paint sprayers have a wide reach. This is good because it means they can cover a lot of surfaces quickly, but they do have a reputation for leaving a paint mist on objects nearby. Luckily, overspray is easily preventable. Professionals carefully cover any objects or surfaces within several feet of the painting location to prevent paint mist from ruining floors, furniture or other nearby items.

Longer Preparation

The risk of overspray can potentially damage surfaces surrounding your cabinets, such as countertops, wall paint or furniture. While it is preventable, the preparation it requires takes much longer than with brush painting. Rather than just taping off edges and laying down drip sheets, the painters will have to completely cover everything within a few feet of the cabinets to ensure the paint spray only hits the cabinets.

Why a Fantastic Finish Matters

Regardless of which method you choose — spray or brush — the biggest challenge of painting cabinets is obtaining a fantastic finish. Both methods leave room for human error, which can result in streaks or strokes that mar the fresh, new look you’re going for. The finish depends on properly prepping and priming the cabinet surfaces before painting, applying even layers, allowing for ample dry time and paying attention to detail throughout the entire process.

An even, colorful finish will help bring your dream kitchen vision to life. Cabinets are a significant focal point of any kitchen, and this area of your living space is often a prime location for social gatherings. You deserve a space worth showing off to friends and family. When you invest your time and money into renovations, you should expect and aim for no less than the best.

If one thing is certain, it’s that trained professionals are a necessity if you want to ensure a beautiful finish. They often have years of experience, and they can finish the job in a fraction of the time as compared to an untrained individual. They have an eye for imperfections and will know how to troubleshoot any issues that may arise. Ultimately, your cabinets will be in good hands, and you’ll be back to cooking and hosting in no time.

Hiring a Professional

When it comes to interior painting projects, hiring a professional painting contractor is a worthwhile investment. Besides adding to your home’s value and appearance, it protects your health and your sanity before, during and after the painting process.

Here are some of the top reasons to hire professionals:

top reasons to hire a professional to paint your cabinets


Professional painters do this every day. They know what they’re doing and can get the job done quickly, so you can get to enjoying your kitchen faster. They also have all the equipment necessary to complete the task and provide a professional finish.


Professional painters know the differences between and proper applications for sprayers and brushes. They know how many layers a job will take, how to ensure a smooth, mark-free finish each and every time, which paint to use and how to cover up areas that don’t need painting. They also know how to troubleshoot when they encounter problems, such as dents or dings that need filling or smoothing before paint is applied.

They can also assist you in the early stages of your project, such as selecting the right paint and considering which painting method would work best for your cabinets. You’ll have access to professional advice throughout the process.


No one plans for accidents to happen during a home renovation project, but, unfortunately, accidents can happen. Choosing professional painters who are insured means that you’ve hired professionals who can pay to fix a door or cabinet if it breaks in the painting process. And, if the cabinet paint does run or streak accidentally, a good company will come out and fix the problem at no extra cost to you.

Professional Cabinet Refinishing

If your existing cabinets are in good condition, professional cabinet refinishing is a great way to update your kitchen and secure your investment without spending a lot of money. It’s also a great way to reuse what you already have instead of throwing out perfectly good cabinets. Shoreline Painting knows that you’ve spared no expense on beautiful kitchen finishes — countertops, flooring and more. That’s why our professional painters are trained and experienced in using the right methods and right products to give your cabinets a gorgeous makeover that will complement your existing finishes.

Family-owned and Stamford-based, Shoreline Painting is committed to providing you with top-notch painting services. If you have a vision in mind for your cabinets, we can turn that vision into reality. In some cases, our clients know it’s time to update their kitchen cabinets, but they don’t know what color or finish to choose. Our color consultants have the knowledge and experience to help you choose the right color for your kitchen — bright or subtle, trendy or traditional. But it’s not just about trends. Our color consultants take the time to get to know your personal preferences and how your kitchen is used so that they can offer personalized suggestions you’ll love for years to come.

Ready to transform your kitchen cabinets? Contact us today.

professional cabinet refinishing

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