Can You Paint Cabinets that are Veneer? What To Know

Can You Paint Cabinets That Are Veneer

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Are you looking to refresh your kitchen but hesitant about painting those veneer cabinets? Wondering if it’s even possible, and whether the paint will enhance or ruin their appearance. We’ve got all the answers for you! In this blog post, we’ll dive into what exactly veneer cabinets are and discuss if they can be painted.

Plus, we’ll reveal essential tips and techniques that ensure a professional-looking finish.

Key Takeaways – Can You Paint Cabinets That Are Veneer? 💭

  • Veneer cabinets can be painted, but it requires proper preparation to ensure paint adhesion and a professional-looking finish.
  • When preparing the surface for painting, clean the surfaces, lightly sand the veneer surfaces, repair any damage with wood putty or filler, and apply bonding primer.
  • Choose high-quality oil-based enamel or acrylic latex paint designed for veneer cabinets. Apply thin coats of paint using brushing or spraying techniques for better coverage and smoother finishes.
  • Adding finishing touches such as clear coat protection over the paint, new knobs or handles, and crown molding can add elegance to your newly painted veneer cabinets.
Can You Paint Cabinets That Are Veneer

Understanding Veneer Cabinets

Veneer cabinets are made from a thin layer of real wood that is glued onto particle board, MDF, or other materials to give the appearance of solid wood.

What Is Veneer?

Veneer is a thin layer of wood that is applied to the surface of another material, typically made from particle board or medium-density fiberboard (MDF).

It is created by peeling away thin sheets of real wood from a solid piece, which are then adhered to the engineered solid wood piece base with strong adhesive.

The use of veneers in cabinet construction not only provides an attractive finish but also offers several advantages over using solid wood throughout. For instance, it helps in conserving valuable hardwood resources as fewer trees need to be harvested for production.

Additionally, veneered surfaces tend to be more stable and less prone to warping than solid-wood counterparts because they don’t expand and contract as much with changes in humidity and temperature.

Characteristics Of Veneer Cabinets

Veneer cabinets are a popular choice in today’s cabinetry designs due to their unique characteristics and affordability.

One noteworthy trait of veneer cabinetry is its adaptability in design and aesthetics. Veneers can be applied on surfaces with intricate patterns or curves without compromising their structural integrity, providing homeowners with more creative options for cabinet doors and drawers.

Furthermore, since they use less raw material than solid wood pieces, they contribute to environmental preservation efforts.

Can You Paint Veneer Cabinets?

Yes, you can paint veneer cabinets, but before you get started, there are a few factors to consider.

Pros And Cons Of Painting Veneer Cabinets

When deciding whether to paint veneer cabinets, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons. Carefully consider the benefits and drawbacks of painting veneer cabinets to determine if it’s the right choice for your home.

Pros Cons
Cost-effective way to update cabinets Requires proper preparation to ensure paint adhesion
Customizable with a wide range of colors Paint may not stick as well to veneer as it does to solid wood
Can make old cabinets look new Some veneer surfaces may not be well-suited for painting
Paint can protect the veneer surface from damage May require multiple coats of paint for desired finish
Easier to fix mistakes with paint than stains or other finishes Sanding before painting is necessary, which can be time-consuming

Painting veneer cabinets can be a cost-effective way to update your home’s appearance, but it requires careful preparation and attention to detail. Consider the pros and cons before deciding to paint your veneer cabinets, and be prepared to invest time and effort into the project for the best results.

Factors To Consider Before Painting Veneer Cabinets

If you’re thinking about painting your veneer cabinets, there are a few factors to consider before getting started. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. The condition of the cabinets: Before painting, make sure that the veneer is in good condition and not peeling or chipping. If it is, you may need to repair or replace the damaged areas before proceeding.
  2. The type of veneer: Different types of veneers may require different preparation steps or paint types, so it’s important to know what type of veneer you have before starting.
  3. The color and finish you want: Choosing the right paint color and finish can affect the overall look of your cabinets, so consider all options carefully.
  4. The time and effort required: Painting cabinets can be a time-consuming project, so make sure you have enough time and patience to complete the job properly.
  5. Your skill level: Painting requires some skill and know-how, so if you don’t feel comfortable with the process, it may be best to hire a professional.
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By taking these factors into consideration before painting your veneer cabinets, you can ensure that the final result meets your expectations and lasts for years to come.

Materials And Techniques For Painting Veneer Cabinets

To prepare the surface for painting veneer cabinets, lightly sand the surfaces and apply a bonding primer to ensure better adhesion between paint and veneer; use a brush or foam roller to apply thin coats of oil-based paint for a smoother finish.

Preparing The Surface For Painting

Before painting veneer cabinets, it is essential to prepare the surface properly to ensure the paint adheres well and lasts longer. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Clean the Surfaces: Dust and grease can hinder bonding between the paint and veneer. So, before painting, wipe down each cabinet door/drawer with soap and water solution or TSP (trisodium phosphate) cleaner.
  2. Lightly Sand the Surface: To provide a better surface for the primer to stick on, lightly sand the veneer surfaces – not enough to remove the finish, just enough to scuff up the surface, using 220-grit sandpaper.
  3. Repair Damage: Fill in any holes or scratches with wood putty or filler and let dry completely. Then sand these areas again until they are smooth.
  4. Use a Bonding Primer: Bonding primers help create a secure bond between the paint and veneer. Apply thin coats of bonding primer like Zinsser BIN Shellac-Base Primer using a sponge brush or light-nap roller.
  5. Allow Adequate Drying Time: Let each coat of primer dry completely before applying subsequent coats or painting over it.

By following these steps, your veneer cabinets will be ready for painting with an improved adhesive quality that ensures your paint job will last longer and look better too!

Choosing The Right Paint Type

Selecting the right paint type is crucial when painting veneer cabinets. Not all paints will adhere properly to the smooth surface of veneer, making it important to choose a paint that is specifically designed for this purpose.

One popular option is oil-based enamel paint, which provides a durable and long-lasting finish. Acrylic latex paint can also be used but may require additional primer coats to stick correctly.

It’s worth investing in high-quality paints from trusted brands like Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams, as these tend to have better coverage and produce a smoother finish.

Brushing Vs. Spraying

When it comes to painting veneer cabinets, you have two primary options: brushing or spraying. Brushing allows for more precision and control over the paint application while spraying provides a smoother finish with less visible brush strokes.

If you decide to brush your veneer cabinets, use a high-quality synthetic bristle brush that is designed for use with oil-based paint. Start by applying paint in thin coats using long strokes along the wood grain part of the wood.

Alternatively, if you choose to spray your cabinets, make sure you have all the necessary equipment including a HVLP sprayer, protective gear such as goggles and respirator mask, and plenty of drop cloths to protect surrounding surfaces.

No matter which method you choose, always make sure to allow adequate drying time between coats and apply at least two coats of paint for the best results.

Applying Paint In Thin Coats

To achieve a smooth and professional finish when painting veneer cabinets, it’s important to apply the paint in thin coats. This allows each layer to dry properly before adding the next one and helps prevent drips or runs.

When painting veneer cabinets, use a high-quality synthetic paint brush or foam roller for a smoother finish. Avoid using natural bristle brushes as they can leave behind stray hairs in the paint.

Apply the first coat of paint thinly, covering all parts of the surface but avoiding over-application. Allow this coat to fully dry before applying another layer with similarly light coverage.

By taking care when applying your paint layers, you can create a beautiful appearance on your veneer cabinets that not only looks great but lasts longer too by avoiding clumps, lumps, and other finishing imperfections!

Adding Finishing Touches

Once you have painted your veneer cabinets, it’s important to add some finishing touches that will protect the surface and give the wall edges of your cabinets a professional look. One of the most important things you can do is apply a clear coat over the paint.

This helps to protect the paint from scratches, stains, and other types of damage that can occur in a kitchen or bathroom.

Another way to spruce up your newly painted veneer cabinets is by replacing old hardware with new knobs or handles. This quick and easy update can completely transform the look of your cabinets without costing a lot of money.

Finally, consider adding crown molding along the top edge of your upper cabinets for an elegant touch.

Tips For Painting Veneer Cabinets

Protect the surface from damage by laying down a drop cloth and taping off areas you don’t want to be painted, use high-quality paint for a better finish, allow adequate drying time between coats of paint to prevent peeling or cracking, lightly sand between coats of paint to smooth out brush strokes or imperfections, and consider painting all the doors and drawers separately for easier access and complete coverage.

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Protecting The Surface From Damage

To protect the surface of your newly painted veneer cabinets from damage, there are a few things you can do. Firstly, consider adding cabinet hardware such as knobs or handles, so that you don’t have to touch the painted surface when opening and closing doors and drawers.

Another way to protect your painted veneer cabinets is by using felt pads on any items that come into contact with them regularly. This includes glasses, plates, and other kitchen utensils.

By taking these simple precautionary measures, you can ensure that your newly painted veneer cabinets will stay looking their best for years to come!

Using High-Quality Paint

It’s important to use high-quality paint when painting veneer cabinets. Not only will it ensure a smoother finish, but it will also be more durable and resistant to wear and tear over time.

Look for paints that are specifically designed for furniture or cabinetry, such as Sherwin Williams ProClassic Interior Acrylic Enamel or Benjamin Moore Advance Interior Paint.

These types of paints are made with high-quality resins that allow for better adhesion and durability. Additionally, using a higher quality paint may require fewer coats overall, saving you time and effort in the long run.

Allowing Adequate Drying Time

It’s crucial to allow sufficient drying time between paint coats when painting veneer cabinets. Rushing the process may result in an unattractive finish, brush strokes, and other imperfections.

Depending on the type of paint used and environmental conditions, drying times can vary. However, it’s usually recommended that you allow at least two hours of drying time between each coat.

It is also important not to rush the final stage: let your cabinets rest undisturbed for a full 24 hours after applying the last coat so that they can fully cure and harden.

FAQs On Painting Veneer Cabinets

Can you paint laminate cabinets?

Yes, it is possible to paint laminate furniture and cabinets with careful preparation and good-quality paint.

What type of paint works best on veneer cabinets?

An oil-based gloss or semi-gloss paint is recommended for the best results when painting veneer cabinets.

Can you paint veneer cabinets without sanding?

While it is possible to skip sanding, it’s recommended to lightly sand the surface of veneer cabinets before painting for better adhesion and a smoother finish.

How long will a painted veneer cabinet last?

With proper care, a painted veneer kitchen cabinet can last for several years.

How can you make the paint job smoother on veneer cabinets?

Using thin layers of quality paints and tools such as foam rollers or light-nap brushes can help achieve a smooth finish.

Can you paint kitchen cabinets that have been exposed to grease and dirt?

It’s important to clean surfaces thoroughly before painting, especially in high-use areas

Can You Paint Laminate Cabinets?

Yes, it is possible to paint laminate cabinets. However, it requires thorough cleaning and sanding before applying any primer or paint. Laminate is a synthetic material that can resist adhesion, so using a high-quality bonding primer like Kilz can ensure the paint adheres properly.

It’s also important to use oil-based paints for better adhesion and durability. Many professional painters recommend Benjamin Moore Advance as an excellent choice for painting laminate cabinets because of its self-leveling properties that result in a smoother finish.

What Type Of Paint Works Best On Veneer Cabinets?

When painting veneer cabinets, it is important to use the right type of paint to ensure a long-lasting and professional finish. Oil-based paints, such as Benjamin Moore Advance or Sherwin Williams ProClassic, are ideal for veneer cabinets due to their durability and ability to adhere well to slick surfaces.

A bonding primer should also be used before applying the paint in thin coats with a high-quality brush or foam roller.

Can You Paint Veneer Cabinets Without Sanding?

While it is possible to paint veneer cabinets without sanding, it is not recommended for the best results. Without proper preparation, the paint may not adhere well and could eventually peel or chip off.

However, if you’re short on time and can’t sand your cabinets, there are some steps you can take to improve adhesion. Start by thoroughly cleaning the surfaces with a degreaser solution and then using a bonding primer before painting.

This will help create a stronger bond between the paint and the wood veneer surface, giving your cabinets more durability over time.

How Long Will A Painted Veneer Cabinet Last?

The lifespan of a painted veneer cabinet depends on various factors, such as the quality of paint used, environmental conditions, and how well the cabinet was prepared before painting.

A high-quality oil-based paint with a durable topcoat can last for up to 10 years or more with proper care and maintenance. However, it is important to note that painted surfaces are vulnerable to scratches and chipping over time.

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How Can You Make The Paint Job Smoother On Veneer Cabinets?

To make a paint job smoother on veneer cabinets, it’s important to apply the paint in thin layers and avoid overloading the brush or roller. This will help minimize visible brush strokes and make for an even finish.

Additionally, lightly sanding the surface between coats can further smooth out any bumps or imperfections. Choosing the right type of paint also plays a significant role in achieving a smooth finish.

An oil-based gloss or semi-gloss paint tends to level more smoothly than other types of paint, and using a high-quality brand like Sherwin Williams or Benjamin Moore can also lead to better results.

Finally, be sure to allow adequate drying time between coats as rushing this step can cause the paint to peel or bubble later on.

Can You Paint Veneer Cabinet Doors And Drawers Separately?

Yes, you can paint veneer cabinet doors and drawers separately. In fact, it’s often easier to achieve a smooth and even finish when painting the individual parts separately.

When doing this, it’s important to label each piece so you know where they go once the painting is complete. Also, be sure to clean and sand each piece thoroughly before applying any primer or paint.

This helps ensure that the new top coat of paint will adhere properly and last longer.

What Is The Difference Between Painting Veneer And Solid Wood Cabinets?

The main difference between painting veneer and solid wood cabinets lies in their composition. Veneer is a thin layer of real wood that covers particle board or other types of engineered wood, while solid wood cabinets are made entirely out of natural wood.

When it comes to painting, solid wood tends to be more forgiving as it has a consistent texture and pores, allowing the paint to adhere easily without any additional preparation.

On the other hand, veneer requires careful sanding and priming before applying paint as its surface can be uneven and have varying degrees of porosity.

Can You Paint Kitchen Cabinets That Have Been Exposed To Grease And Dirt?

Yes, you can paint kitchen cabinets that have been exposed to grease and dirt. However, it is important to thoroughly clean the surfaces before painting to ensure proper adhesion of primer and paint.

Start by wiping down the cabinet doors, drawers, and frames with a degreaser or vinegar solution. Rinse well with water and allow to dry completely before sanding lightly with fine-grit sandpaper.

This will help remove any remaining grime and roughen up the surface for better adhesion.

After cleaning and sanding, apply a bonding primer such as Kilz or Zinsser Bulls Eye 1-2-3 Primer to seal in any stains or discoloration from the previous exposure to grease and dirt.

Then apply two thin coats of your preferred oil-based gloss or semi-gloss paint using a sponge brush or light-nap roller for best results.

Remember that painted veneer cabinets require careful maintenance after they are done so that their glossy finish lasts longer even after exposure to cooking fumes!


Yes, you can paint cabinets that are veneer! With the right preparation and techniques, you can transform your outdated kitchen cabinets into a fresh new look.

Remember to clean and sand the surface before applying primer and paint for better adhesion. Choosing high-quality paint and allowing adequate drying time will ensure a smoother finish.

More People Also Ask FAQs:

Can you paint cabinets that are veneer without sanding them down first?

It is generally recommended to lightly sand the surface of veneer cabinets before painting, as this can help the new paint adhere more securely and last longer over time. A coat of primer may also be necessary for better coverage and protection against chipping or peeling.

What type of paint should I use for veneer cabinets?

Choosing the right type of paint is crucial when painting veneer cabinets, as certain types may not adhere well or could cause damage to the underlying material. For best results, use a high-quality acrylic enamel or an oil-based product formulated specifically for furniture refinishing.

Do I need to remove the hardware before painting my veneer cabinets?

Removing cabinet knobs, handles, and other hardware prior to painting can make the process easier and prevent unwanted drips or splatters from ruining these items. If you prefer not to remove hardware, be sure to tape over it carefully with painter’s tape in order to protect it from damage.

Can painted veneer cabinetry be cleaned normally like wood cabinetry?

Painted veneer cabinetry requires similar care and cleaning methods as natural wood cabinetry but with a few additional precautions taken due to its thinner surface layer. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or scrubbers that could scratch or dull the finish, and always wipe up spills immediately in order to prevent staining or discoloration over time.

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