How To Paint Oak Cabinets White Without Grain Showing?

how to paint oak cabinets white without grain showing

When you’re working or remodeling oak cabinets, painting is important to remain the wood rigid, and waterproof, and enhance its beauty. But you may face difficulties finding the right process that will completely cover the wood and make the grain impossible to see. This happens especially when painting oak cabinets white. So, let’s find out, How to paint oak cabinets white without grain showing?

Here’s what I discovered:

You can paint oak cabinets white without grain showing by applying 2 -3 coats of grain filler and sand with 320 grit. Another way of painting oak cabinets white without grain showing is by filling the grain with spackle and sand with 220 grit sandpaper. Then, remove dust, apply primer, and do the painting.

Even though it’s a lot of work, this makes your oak cabinets look professionally painted.

But there’s a lot more to know about How to paint oak cabinets white without grain showing.

So, in this article, we’ll deeply discuss the top two methods of painting oak cabinets white by hiding the wood grain and some tips and tricks as well.

Furthermore, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions about How to paint oak cabinets white without grain showing as well.

So, let’s keep going!

How To Paint Oak Cabinets White Without Grain Showing?

Painting oak cabinets is so much easy, and it can grow your kitchen or bathroom cabinets to the next level. Oak cabinets are sturdy, dent-resistant, and indestructible because of their great durability.

Oak paint up beautifully like maple or cherry cabinets. But because having a grain that manifests through wood texture and bleeds through the paint, you need to do extra work to hide the grain when painting.

So, let’s find out what are the things you need to paint oak cabinets white without grain showing.

The Supplies You Will Need

  • High-quality paint
  • Primer
  • Putty knife
  • 320 grit sandpaper
  • 220 grit sandpaper
  • 80 grit sandpaper
  • Spackling or grain filler
  • Primer brush
  • Mini rollers
  • Paintbrush
  • Tack cloths
  • Rags
  • Wood filler
  • Painter’s tape

Procedure Of Painting Oak Cabinets White Without Grain Showing

  1. Remove drawers and doors from the cabinet
  2. Sand the surface
  3. Prepare the surface
  4. Hide the wood grain
  5. Apply primer
  6. Painting
  7. Wait for the paint to dry

So, let’s discuss each of the above steps one by one to make the painting project succeed.

1. Remove Drawers and Doors from The Cabinets

First of all, unscrew the doors and drawers from the cabinets and place them somewhere safe and free of moisture.

Before removing drawers and doors from the cabinets make sure to number and label them for the reattachment after paint. Because if they are put back in the wrong spot, they won’t fit well. Better to keep them in a little baggy.

2. Sand The Surface

Now sand the entire cabinet surface with 80 grit sandpaper. sanding will make the surface super smooth and ready to accept the paint.

Sand with even pressure to give primer and paint a good surface to adhere to.

Make sure to sand along the direction of the oak wood grain to avoid making any scratches and marks and avoid wood grain getting damaged.

3. Prepare The Surface

Once you’re done with sanding, clean the whole oak wood with a tack cloth to remove sanding dust. Otherwise, paint coats can be contaminated because of dust and debris.

Cleaning is so important because if sawdust went into the paint, the whole coat can be ruined, and you’ll have to redo the process from the beginning. Dust and dirt have a huge impact on the final finish. Especially when painting oak wood cabinets white, because dust will be highlighted more over the white background than any other paint.

If you want to work in a clean environment better to use a vacuum cleaner to remove dust instead of tack cloths.

Better to apply Tri-sodium phosphate (TSU) for the residues that are difficult to remove with tack cloths.

It is so much easy for paint and primer to gain access to the oak wood fibers when the surface is clean. Oil can easily penetrate through oakwood fibers and make them saturated.

4. Hide the Wood Grain

Once you’re done with surface preparation, head into the common issue of oak woods. Hiding the wood grain is a critical step that you should follow the method accurately to gain the best out of it.

One of the biggest issues you’ll face when painting oak cabinets is how to minimize the wood grain. This happened especially when you’re painting the wood white because wood grain manifests itself through the texture of oak wood and by bleeding through the paint.

How To Hide the Grain When Painting Oak Cabinets White?

Some oak cabinets have deep grain that is hard to cover, and some pockmarks will be there when you finish the cabinets. I have researched in deep to find a solution to minimize the wood grain.

So, here’re the two best methods to paint oak cabinets white without grain showing. They’re,

  1. Applying a grain filler
  2. Spackle the wood grain

Let’s discuss each of the above methods one by one to get an idea about which method fits you the best.

Apply Grain Filler to Hide Grain When Painting Oak Cabinets White

One of the best products you can use to hide grain when painting oak cabinets white is Aquacoat. Applying a grain filler before painting adds a huge improvement to your oak wood cabinets.

Aquacoat is a clear, water-based gel that is ready to use, fast-drying, and non-toxic. It fills the grain and seals the pores of oak wood cabinets to get a nice and smooth finish.

It is environmentally friendly and easy to apply. Because of having excellent adhesion, it can hide the grain easily and sanding is also not an issue.

Apply a thick coat of grain filler all over the oak wood cabinet faces without any spots. As an added advantage you need to use less amount of paint if you have already used the grain filler.

After the application of grain filler let it dry for 45 – 60 minutes and sand lightly with 320 grit sandpaper immediately before applying the next coat of grain filler.

2 – 3 coats of grain filler are enough to hide oak wood grain when painting oak cabinets white.

Here’re the benefits you’ll get by using grain filler instead of spackle to hide the wood grain.

  • Easy to apply
  • Fast drying time
  • Non-yellowing
  • Easy to sand
  • Environmentally friendly

So, let’s find out the alternative method of hiding the deep grain of oak wood when painting oak cabinets white.

Spackling The Wood Grain to Hide Oak Grain

Spackling the wood grain is one of the best methods to paint oak cabinets white without grain showing.

A thin layer of DryDex is enough to cover the entire oak wood cabinet surfaces. Apply a very thin layer of spackling over the cabinet surface using the putty knife and let it dry for about a few minutes. Then do light sand with 320 grit sandpaper.

If the applied spackling layer is too thick, better to sand down the excess in the step.

After the sanding is done, you’ll get a super smooth surface with a very thin layer of spackle. Clean the residue and dust using a dry tack cloth. Never use wet cloths for the cleaning because water will pull out spackle from the surface.

If you’re on a tight budget, better to use spackle only for the areas that are visible to the outside like cabinet door front, drawer front, and cabinet boxes.

Spackle hides the wood grain of oak and makes the surface super smooth to accept white paint.

So, that’s how you should hide the wood grain of oak woods when painting oak cabinets white. You can select any method that I have talked about above to hide the wood grain.

Let’s see what’s the next step of painting oak cabinets white.

5. Apply Primer

After hiding the wood grain and letting it dry completely, apply a primer all over the surface.

Make sure to use oil-based primer because of the tannin in the oak. Tannin is a type of orange color oil that bleed through water-based primer. Therefore, using an oil-based primer is a must.

Priming is required to do before applying white paint over the oak wood surface because primer helps the paint to adhere to the oak wood.

One coat of primer is enough for oak wood cabinets before painting.

After priming the entire surface, let it dry completely before moving on to the painting step.

6. Painting

When the primer is completely dry, apply white paint in long smooth strokes. Make sure not to make any drip marks on the surface. Or you can dilute the paint with distilled water and spray with a paint sprayer.

Paint small areas and tough angles first for better results.

Two coats of paints are enough for the oak wood cabinets. Make sure to apply paint all over the wood uniformly without missing any spots. Make sure to dry paint completely between each coat to avoid getting a tacky surface.

When the second coat is dried enough, you’ll notice there is no grain visible in oak wood cabinets. Now you can reassemble the doors and drawers and put them back in place.

If you have painted oak cabinets correctly without grain showing, the grain will never manifest through wood texture and bleed through the paint.

Generally, paint takes around a week to cure completely. Therefore, even though it looks dry within a few hours, you should use them with care for at least a week.

That’s its folks! Now you know how to paint oak cabinets white without grain showing.

So, let’s answer some frequently asked questions to get a better idea of painting oak cabinets white.

Best Primer to Cover Oak Wood Grain

Here’re the best primer products you can use to cover oak wood grain when painting oak cabinets white.

They are,

  • Zinsser Bin Primer
  • DecoArt stain blocker
  • Sherwin Williams Pro block Oil
  • Insl-x Prime Lock
  • Benjamin Moore Multipurpose oil Base

Always choose oil-based primer when working with oak wood to deal well with the tannins.

Can You Just Paint Over Oak Cabinets White?

Yes, you can just paint over oak cabinets white only if the grain of oak wood is not too deep. If the grain is too deep, it’s so hard to cover the grain with white paint. It will bleed through the paint.

To just paint over oak cabinets white, you need to make sure the oak surface is super smooth, and it adheres to the surface well. Otherwise, the paint coat will be ruined soon.

As a woodworker, I highly recommend following the correct procedure when painting the oak cabinets white. Sand the entire surface, hide wood grain, apply primer, and then go for the painting. This will give you an excellent satisfying result with high durability.

Are Oak Cabinets Worth Painting White?

Yes, oak cabinets are worth painting white. The value of the cabinet will go up and the white color adds a unique aesthetic look to your oak cabinets.

Overall, white cabinets give a minimal modern look to your home, kitchen, or bathroom.

Read: Can Cedar Be Painted White? All You Need To Know!

Did I cover all you wanted to know about: How to Paint Oak Cabinets White Without Grain Showing?

In this article, we have deeply discussed how to paint oak cabinets white without grain showing with the correct procedure, techniques, and tips.

Unlike cherry or maple, oak cabinets have a deep grain texture that will easily bleed through the paint, especially when painted white. So, always make sure to hide the wood grain and apply primer before painting oak cabinets to get a smooth nice, and clear finish.

Furthermore, I have answered some frequently asked questions about how to paint oak cabinets white without grain showing as well. Hope you have gained pretty good knowledge about painting oak cabinets white with all the tips and tricks. So, let’s start your next woodworking project with oak wood, and don’t forget to apply the things you learned from this article. Keep practicing!


About Walter Parker

Walter Parker is a father and woodworking enthusiast. He is passionate about woodworking projects & plays with woodworking tools having spent over 2 decades as a leader for Woodworking Planet. He wants to make people love woodworking!

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