Category Archives: Painting Tips & How To’s

Spray Painting Kitchen Base Cabinets, Kick Plates, Crowns, Valances and Gable Ends.

By Todd Sharrard.  When refinishing kitchen cabinets the painting of base cabinetry refers to the refinishing of articles that cannot be removed and painted off site.  In your standard kitchen this includes things such as the kick plates, gable ends, valance and crown mouldings; it can also refer to the painting of the stile and rail edge banding that surrounds each cabinet carcass.

This is our refined process for spray painting the on-site portion of any kitchen cabinet refinishing project – your typical 30 to 45 piece kitchen will take two people about two days to go through this entire process (the on-site work only).  It is labour intensive, yes very much but, the goal is to make the kitchen look not painted, but in fact, constructed in the colour of choice.  The gable end, crowns, and valances may end up being the most visible elements of your kitchen cabinetry so they should be spray painted, just like the cabinet doors and drawers.


  • cabinet carcass is the cabinet box or shell without its cabinet doors or drawers.
  • the term rail is used to refer to the horizontal edge of a carcass or cabinet door
  • stile is the vertical edge of the carcass or cabinet door
  • carcasses can be frameless typically with European style hinges or have a face frame attached with overlay hinges.

Factors that Impact Site work

  • site work in condos is hard, ventilation can be an issue especially since the kitchen is not equipped with windows
  • large open concept kitchens can also be a challenge to tape off and contain dust.
  • oversite cleanliness of the site and other work being done at the same time.
  • cabinet contents – it’s an easier and therefore better job done if the kitchen has been completely emptied

Tools & Sundry List:

Beyond your standard painting tools and accessories, these are the critical items I need for finishing base cabinets in your typical 45 piece kitchen.

  • 3 stage or greater HVLP turbine sprayer or portable compressor-based sprayer
  • Good quality rosin paper or flooring paper
  • Dnya Patch Pro (best for lacquer) – Dulux, Home Depot
  • 3m Easy Masker


    Hand Masker – toys for big boys, not essitenal for the DIYer, that aside, I can’t believe i used to work without one.

  • Good quality 1.5 inch masking tape.  3M blue tape is good for a DIY job.
  • Paper Rolls or Plastic Rolls – 12 inch (used with 3M Easy Masker)
  • 24-inch plastic painters flim
  • Sharp Knife
  • 400 / 320 / 240 Grit & 120 Grit * three stages of sanding and somewhere in that range but nothing less than 320 for the last coat
  • red and grey finishing pads * these are optional but sure do help with sanding details and washing

Spray painting base cabinetry can be tricky, in fact, its harder and more time-consuming than painting the actual doors and drawers.  The nature of the task is difficult since the base cabinets have many intersecting points, corners and edges and most painting equipment wasn’t made to paint a 1/2 inch strip.  All this translates into the perfect setting for a lot paint sags and the occasional holiday (missing a spot).

Step by Step Process: Continue reading

How to Paint Exterior Brick Surfaces Like a Professional

As an exterior painters in Oakville, Mississauga and Burlington we sometimes get questions from home owners about the painting of exterior brick surfaces.  To help alleviate any miss understandings I have assemble this little blog posting for anyone thinking about the painting of their exterior brick walls.

Tools and Materials Needed:


Concrete Bonding Primer from Home Depot – approx $25 per gallon

Concrete or Brick bonding primer / sealer:  If the surface has never been painted before then a sealer coat should be used.  Since latex paint will stick to brick surfaces easily we use this product as more of a sealer than a bonding primer.  If not sealed correctly brick and concrete surfaces act like a sponge when it comes to paint – you can end up using a lot of paint so you need to control just how much is absorbed by the brick.  Most project sprayers like the Tradeworks 150 will not be able to spray concrete bonding primer but check the paint manufacturers specifications to your pump and see if it can be done.  Having to roll out the sealer isn’t that of a big deal compared to the labour required to roll out the finish coat of paint (you’ll want to use a sprayer for that).

30MM jumbo roller is good for the application of the sealer

30MM jumbo roller is good for the application of the sealer

Power Washer:  power washing achieves a couple of things.  If the surface is previously painted and its failing the power washing will do great things to remove the loose and peeling paint.  As well the washing will help to release debris, dust and other chemicals like salt from the surface prior to painting.  If using a pressure washer make the surface is somewhat dry before you begin to paint. It’s not critical that surface be dry before you start your painting project.  Sometimes if the temperature is really hot you can lightly spray the brick with water prior to the application of paint – this will allow the paint to run out into the porus surfaces easier.

A small airless pump sprayer like this Graco Tradeworks 150 can be used paint exterior brick surfaces.

A small airless pump sprayer like this Graco Tradeworks 150 can be used paint exterior brick surfaces.

Applicators: roller sleeves or an airless paint sprayer.  If you planning to roll on the paint you will need a very think applicator such as a 30mm sleeve or roller.  I prefer to use an airless sprayer to paint brick.  From a time perspective i am not sure you save much but the airless sprayer will give you a much easier job physically and better looking, more detailed finish in the end. Painting brick with a brush and roller is a very messy and physically demanding job.

Exterior Latex Flat Paint:  100% arclyic latex paint is typically all that needed as far as the correct paint is concerned.  Unlikely that you will want to use anything but a flat exterior latex (vs a semi gloss / gloss).  Since the surfaces are not very smooth the flat latex works well and looks much better than semi gloss or gloss product.  My experience is that if you hand-roll the surface you will use more paint than if you sprayed the surface, this is because brick is so pours its impossible to distribute the paint as evenly as using an airless sprayer.


Sprayed Cabinet Doors

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinet Doors

Updated Nov 30 2014.  By Todd Sharrard.  This is the same process Sharrard Painting uses for the refinishing kitchen cabinet doors.  When refinishing we spray paint our kitchen cabinet doors using airless and conventional HVLP sprayer techniques.  If you decide to undertake a cabinet refinishing project the actual process used for applying the finish to the surfaces may vary, for example a brush and roller could be used, an airless sprayer, a portable turbine based sprayer such a Titan Capspray, or conventional HVLP spray gun could be used but, the overall process remains generally the same.

Here is the complete how to paint kitchen cabinets by Sharrard Painting:

Materials Needed:

  • Paint:  Sharrard painting using Lacquers to finish cabinet doors which can only be applied using a sprayer.  If you need to use a brush and roller then use Ben Moore Advance.  Most projects can be completed with one gallon of paint, if you’re spraying you will need a lot more.  Discuss sheen options with the paint store and review the sample.
  • Primer: discuss options with the paint store, I recommend STIX Waterborne bonding primer.
  • Sandpaper – review the complete how too and the blog post on Cabinet Painting Tips and determine how you plan to complete the sanding stage of this project, you’ll need 120/150 grit paper for the initial sanding of the gloss and varnish surfaces, 220/240 grit paper for the sanding of the primer coat and 400 grit paper or equilvant for sanding between finish coats.  I really like using the gray 000 sanding pads from Gator.  I have a picture of them below.
  • Drying Rack: materials if required.
  • Paint Brushes and Rollers:   Traditional Methods:  1 inch angled sash (paint brush), 3 inch fine finish roller (i do not use foam rollers), small paint try.
  • Misc: new hardware, replacement hinges, wood filler (if you have any holes to fill)

STIX (waterbased) is great for previously painted surfaces, maple wood and various veneers. BIN (oil based) is better for oak wood.

STIX (waterbased) is great for previously painted surfaces, maple wood and various veneers. BIN (oil based) is better for oak wood.

Gator 000 Sanding Pads use between finish coats.

Top Secret Tip, please don’t tell my competitors … Gator 000 Sanding Pads work great between finish coats

These are great for doing kitchen cabinets, including the base cabinets.

If you cannot spray finish then 3 inch rollers are great for doing kitchen cabinets, including the base cabinets. They come with there own tray (which is useless) cost is approx $5.

Variable Speed Orbital Sander by Dewalt - approx $100 - variable speeds and dust collector (that connects to a vacumn hose)

Variable Speed Orbital Sander by Dewalt – approx $100 – variable speeds and dust collector (that connects to a vacumn hose)

From Start to Finish: Painting Kitchen Cabinets

A)  Take them off:  Remove, label doors and all other hardware.  See our blog post on Tips for Painting Kitchen Cabinets for more information about this.

B)  Wash Doors:  all doors are washed with tri-sodium phosphates (a de-greaser).  It’s almost a type of dry washing since the doors cannot get too damp or else they will warp or suffer other damage.  You need to scrub up and rise and pat dry each door in a timely fashion.  Insure the doors are dry before sanding.

C)  Sanding (prior to prime coat): scuff sand the doors and sand out sags and runs from the previous finish.  Scuff sanding means 5 to 6 quick passes with sand paper.

  • Use sanding sponges for the groves and expect to use a lot.  The smaller cheap ones are easier to use but only last 2 or 3 doors before they need to be replaced.
  • Using a combination of spade shaped mouse sander for the corners and orbital sander for the front and sides and you will save a lot of time.
  • Be systematic in your approach to getting the work done and not missing any corners, sides or fonts.
  • For the initial sanding of the varnish coat use 120 – 180 grit sand paper.
  • Use 150/180 if you’re new to using those tools.  Practice sanding on the backs of the doors.  A moving orbital sander can leave rotation marks on the surface if not placed on to that surface correctly.
  • Dust, consider doing the sanding outside if possible and wear a mask to protect your lungs from the fine varnish dust.

D)  Dents, Cracks and Holes:  Now is the time to fill small holes with wood filler.  The Le Page Tinted Wood Fillers work well in most applications.

E)  Modifications: if your going to change the door hardware you might want to run through a few things before you start painting the doors.  Does the new hardware require A) the addition of a new hole B) the filling of the existing holes and the drilling of new ones or C) no  changes since the existing hole(s) will work fine.  Drilling templates and a 3/16 brad bit are essential tools for making such a modification.  The template and the pointed drill bit  (the brad bit) insures that your new hardware is straight and well aligned with the other doors.


F)  Dusting: completely dust the doors, remove all dust, use dry paint brush to sweep out cracks and be very detailed.  Vacuum each piece to remove all the varnish dust, a bristle vacuum attachment works well for the detailed job.

G)  Clean up:  vacuum your work area and get ready to paint.

Doors are sprayed one side at a time and dried flat.

Example of Drying station built using two by 4 frames and drywall plugs.  2013 Sharrard Painting

H)  Drying Station:  if not already done construct a drying station.  A professional lays out all the doors in advance and insures that a freshly painted door can be removed from the paint station and placed onto the drying rack without any of the wet paint being touched.

I)  Prime coat:  Match the primer to the paint and the paint and to the surface being painted.  Prime the backs of the doors first and follow the paint or lacquer manufactures instructions for dry time. Flip over prime the other side.

Tip:  spray paint the doors laying flat and always spay paint the sides of the cabinet doors first before applying your finish coat to the top or bottom or the door.  If you’re applying two coats of primer and two coats of finish then each side of the cabinet door will end up getting painted 8 times.   Don’t miss doing the sides of the door or drawer on each coat since they will get rough from over spray if you spray just the top of the surface without doing the sides.

Tack Rags available at Sherwin Williams. approx $2.00

These tack cloths are available at Sherwin Williams. approx $2.00

J)  Sand:  After the primer coat has completely dried use 220/240 grit sandpaper to smooth out the primer coat.  If painting your doors white or an offwhite – two coats of primer is better bet than one coat of primer and two coats of thick paint.  Completely dust and vacuum the door after sanding and wipe the door down with a tack cloth just prior to painting.  Use a dry paint brush as a fine whisk to get into the corners.  If possible take each door outside, or away from the painting station to avoid dust contamination at the drying racks.

K)  First Coat of Paint:  paint the BACK of the DOOR first (both coats of paint).  If you paint the backs first any marks left from the painters pyramids (only if you’re in a rush) will be on the back of the door – drying time is as per the paints instructions.

  • when brushing or rolling the surface waterbased enamels such as Ben Moore Advance will need a full 16 hours of dry try between coats.  While the paint may feel very dry after 5 to 6 hours never when brushing attempt any repaints prior to the interval of time recommend by the paint manufacturer 
  • Recoat times can be greatly reduced when spray painting doors.  Approx 6 hours – because you are not physically touching the surface.  Professional cabinet finishers will use lacquer products that typically dry in under an hour.
  • Overnight drying or longer before flipping the doors and painting the fronts is recommend.

Cloud White Semi Gloss - Refinished Cabinet Door

  • If the first coat has not cured enough the second coat will soften the first coat creating thick and unsightly brush marks.
  • Yellow bleeds or stains coming through white primer are sign you need to use oil base primer with shellac such as BIN by Zinsser.  If not dealt with the yellow will continue to bleed through to the finish coat.  If the yellowing is only is only in a few spots then use a spray can of BINs and only spot prime.  If the yellowing is extensive you will need to apply a complete coat of the BINs shellac based primer.

M) Second coat of paint: Between first and second coat use 320 grit sandpaper.  If it’s not covering completely after the second coats don’t force it, just accept that you’ll need to apply another coat.  You likely applied too light of a coat during the primer or painting process or both but that’s OK since the end results applying the paint to thick would be much worse.

N) Painting Base Cabinets, Gable Ends, Kick Plates, Crowns and Valances:  cabinet doors can be move around during the painting process but the base cabinetry cannot and therefore in many ways it is a lot harder and cumbersome to paint the base cabinets then the doors and drawers.  Take your time.  With all of the corners in the base cabinets there is a lot of places to get sags, even for the seasoned pro it can be  hard.  We spray paint most of your base cabinetry right on site using a portable turbine based sprayer such as Titan Capspray.   In October of 2014 we did a great blog entry on spray painting base cabinets and gable ends.

If you can’t use a sprayer to paint the base cabinets  the tiny 3 inch rollers are great for painting kitchen cabinet carcasses.  When painting the edge banding I really like to deplete my roller first.    Keep spare cardboard with you to do just that, i.e. roll out a freshly paint filled roller on the scrap piece cardboard before painting the thin strip edge banding.  Use a lot of tape here to make your job easier and to keep your focus on the not getting any sags or runs.

N) Dry Time and Re-hanging the doors:  Within hours the surface is dry to the touch but the paint is still soft and will scratch, chip or scuff easily.  During the initial week of drying try not to handle the doors too much initially and don’t try to hang the doors before they have begun to fully cure, this takes about 5 to 7 days.

Sharrard Painting & Fine Finishing
487 Speers Rd (by appointment only)
Oakville, Ontario
L6K 2G4

Phone: (905) 334-3242

Painting Entrance Doors

Painting entrance doors can sometimes be a challenge for weekend painter. Entrance doors are typically high visibility items and if painted poorly they can reflect negatively on the entire finish of the house. As an interior and exterior painter in Oakville I often have to paint entrance doors. This article be used as both a how to and information session for customers having their door painted by Sharrard Painting.

Notes for Customers:

1) The plastic inserts that support the doors stained glass or window are not meant to be painted. While the plastic can be painted it will chip easily and not weather well.

2) For the best result door hardware is typically removed and reinstalled. Now is the time to replace door hardware if you where considering doing so (since the impression left on the door from the old hardware can be sanded out).

3) The doors must remain slightly open for a period of 8 to 10 hours before they can be completely closed and locked. If the doors are closed too soon the paint will stick to the weather striping around the parameter of the door. The door is only left open about a inch to two inches so bugs and bees entering the house is usually not a problem.

4) To prevent sticking of the door green painters tape is left on the weather stripping for a period of two days after the door is painted. The homeowner is responsible for removing tape left on the weatherstripping.

Tips for Painting Entrance Doors:

1) Sand out all drips, brush marks and sags with a good orbital sander / mouse sander. Remove door hardware to keep brush marks to a minimum. Tape sides of doors for a clean delineation between front and back (before painting be sure to hit tape with a damp rag to avoid and bleeds of paint underneath the tape).

2) High gloss paints are harder to work with than low lustre or soft gloss paints. Using flat paint on an entrance door would not be idea. Soft gloss or Semi Gloss finishes are the most common.

3) The door should be completely dusted and washed. Unprimed or bare aluminum should be spot primed using bonding primers. Insure the surface temperature of the door is not to hot or cold since this will impact how well the paint runs and levels. Standard temps between 75 and 75 are ideal. Flotrol is a good additive to use on hotter days (it will slow down the dry time of the paint and improve its levelling characteristics).

4) Paint fast and with a plan. Have your both your brush and roller ready before you begin cutting the door. Cut the entire door first then roll out the entire door using a four inch / 4mm micro fiber roller. You should only need to load the roller twice to do one standard door. Do the sides last using a depleted roller.

5) Only if your painting the door the exact same colour is it a one coat process, otherwise always do it in two coats. Try for thinner coats since putting the paint on two thick will produce rookie like results.

6) Resist attempting to do touch ups in between coats. It usually happens like this ,, about 30 mins after you have completed your first coat you notice a spot you missed ,, paint is somewhat dry and you think I can just hit it with this brush or roller and all will be fine. DONT DO THIS! The newly applied wet paint will react with the paint that’s half an hour dry. The dryer paint will loosen up and become quite gummy, the result is usually bold and very noticeable brush or roller marks. This is why it is so important to provide for adequate dry times between coats of paint.

7) Spray finish. You likely need to remove the door off its hinges and lay it flat for a true “new door” look. Us a fine finish tip like a 411 with three coats.

Sharrard Painting
1436 Aldercrest Crt
Oakville, Ontario
L6M 1X3

Phone: (905) 334-3242

Interior Painting – Surface Preparation Tips

As an Oakville Painter I often get questions around surface prep and all the great things we can do before we actually open up a can of paint and put the brush to the wall.  Here is my list of 10 critical things you want to do before you start painting.

  • Empty as much as you can out of room.  Working around clutter is no fun and a sure way to spill paint.  All furniture that can be reasonably removed from the room should be.   Moving the furniture to the center of the room is ideal.  Try to maintain a 3 to 4 foot clearance around the parameter of the room, this will give you the best results when rolling the walls and allow you to use a small extension pole (which will give you more leverage and make the overall job of painting easier).
  • Put down lots of drop sheets can and cover all furniture.  Rollers create over spray – it usually comes off with a little water – as a professional contractor I have wasted  I have seen painters waste hours cleaning up when they just could have spent 15 minutes putting down drop sheets.
  • Fill all cracks between the wall and the baseboards with latex caulk – this will create a solid and professional look.  You can’t sand dry caulking (sorry Joe) so its the finish product once you leave it.


  • Scuff sand all walls with 150 grit sand paper – scuff sanding removes all the specks and lint from the previous paint job.  As well, scuff sanding will provide for better surface adhesion which is important if you’re going from a eggshell to flat or low luster finish.
  • If your paint the baseboard and window frames these are best sanded using a sponge sander as it can work into the curves of the molding.  Extra effort spent sanding the the base of door frames and the baseboards with a sponge will reward the painter with a very professional paint finish.
  • Fill all holes and cracks.  Remember filling larger wholes will take three applications of plaster to create a proper (new like) finish.  When filling holes take a tool (eg a screwdriver) with a round ended handle – using the round end of the tool press into the wall where the hole is – this should create a small divot around where the hole was – this will be much easy to fill than simple hole in the wall (the plaster will adhere better and sanding will be easier).
  • Prime all areas where plaster has been applied – if you don’t the paint will shadow where the plaster patch was applied – to remedy this apply one additional coat (if the paint is self-priming) or just use primer (like the pros do).
  • Use tape if you’re not a pro – it will save you time and create a beautiful straight cut line, see my blog entry on tips for using Painters Tape.IMG_1653
  • If the previous painter made a mess of the ceiling cut line and you don’t want to paint the ceiling again purchase a quart of good ceiling paint and skirt the parameter of the ceiling with it to cover the bad cut lines.  Really only apply enough paint on the ceiling to cover the bad cut line, most of the ceiling paint you apply should be on the wall with only a very small line on the ceiling – eg a quarter of an inch.


  • Clean and dust the room completed but do it just before you paint.  Surface prep creates a lot of dust and that dust must be removed prior to painting.  Clean above and door window frames as these are common places for unseen dust to collect.  Dust collected by the brush during the application of the finish coat will leave the brush somewhere you just don’t want it to – like around a face plate or a window frame cut line right at eye level.

As a professional painter in Oakville I have always said that the key to any good painting review is the prep work.  When hiring your next painter for your Oakville painting project make sure both of you have common expectations on the level of prep work required.  My experience has shown me that this can be the biggest disconnect between what the customer thought they were getting and what they actually got.  Be sure to point out to the painter examples of holes and dents you expect to be filled so that your painter knows what you expect when the job is completed.

Sharrard Painting
1436 Aldercrest Crt
Oakville, Ontario
L6M 1X3

Phone: (905) 334-3242