How to Paint Oak Cabinets White Without Grain Showing?

Painted White Oak Cabinets Without Grain Showing

Are you looking for the best tutorial on how to paint oak cabinets white without grain showing?

No doubt, painting oak cabinets is the best renovation alternative.

But you must have noticed painted oak cabinets with grain showing. This is because of the grainy texture of the oak wood and these grains do not easily hide behind the paint.

Now, if you do not like the grainy texture of the painted oak cabinets in your kitchen, then you are at the right place.

Here, we have compiled the how to stain oak cabinets antique white procedure along with some tips and tricks for you to have an amazing oak cabinet transformation.

How to Paint Oak Cabinets White Without Grain Showing? Transform It

We know that the moment you think about painting your old oak cabinets there are a lot of questions in your mind. These include:

  • How do I prepare oak cabinets for white paint?
  • What is the best way to minimize the grain when painting oak cabinets?
  • Is sanding of oak cabinets necessary before painting them?
  • How can I paint oak cabinets white without sanding?
  • Should I use the spray or foam roller and brush for smooth paint on my cabinets?

Therefore, in this article, we will be focussing on covering answers to some common questions related to painting the oak cabinets white.

But before we begin, let us imagine what does a white oak tree look like?

old oak tree

Oaktree is an ancient hardwood with a grainy white scaly bark, and it is traditionally used for making strong wood items like home furniture and kitchen cabinets.

Even if the oak cabinets are new, the grain of the wood showing through the paint does not look cool. So, let us tell you how to transform grainy oak cabinets into fresh, classic white ones.

Items You Need to Get Started:

Before you begin the process of oak transformation, be sure to have these items around.

  • Dish soap
  • A Small knife
  • Spackling
  • Sandpaper
  • Stain blocker
  • Satin Enamel White Paint
  • Foam roller
  • Paintbrush

How to Paint Oak Cabinets White -A Step-By-Step Procedure:

Step 1: Detach the Doors and Drawers

First of all, take your cabinets out and remove all attached doors and drawers. Don’t forget to label the doors/drawers and hinges for reattachment after paint.

You must be wondering why is the labeling needed?

This is because although all doors/drawers and hinges look alike, they must be attached to their respective places to fit them correctly. Putting them back in the wrong place will not work at all.

Step 2: Prepare the Surface for Paint

Before starting the painting process, the cabinets must be free from all the dirt and grease that can prevent the paint from sticking.

Therefore, clean the cabinets thoroughly to prepare the surface for paint. Even if the cabinet looks apparently clean, do not miss this step as there might be grease on different parts of the cabinet.

Although this is the lengthiest step of the process, it is very important if you want the paint to last longer.

People might have different choices of chemicals for degreasing the cabinets, but I suggest using dish soap.

Just dip a clean cloth in the soapy water and wipe off all the dirt and grease. Once you are done, remove all the soap with a clean wipe.

Have you ever experienced unwanted color in your white paint on the oak cabinet?

This is the color of the wood tannins that seeps through your white paint. Seeping wood tannins are the biggest problem in painting oak cabinets white.

Have you ever tried to cover this seeping color through layers of paint?

We are sure it didn’t work at all. Coating many layers of paint on the seeping tannins will not stop them from leaking.

Therefore, it is necessary to block these tannins during the cleaning process.

Now here’s the pro tip:

Use a stain blocker to prevent wood tannins ruining your paint. The stain blocker not only seals the grease and grime but also blocks the leaking tannins for good.

Now, your surface is prepared and protected for a fresh layer of white paint.

Step 2: Get rid of the wood grain

using sandpaper to remove wood grain

For oak cabinets, getting rid of the wood grain is most important before applying the paint. Maple or cherry wood cabinets do not have this grainy texture, but painting the oak cabinets becomes a problem because of its wood grain.

For this purpose, the best method is to spackle the surface to get rid of the wood grain.

This is done by using a small putty knife to apply a thin layer of spackle over the surface of the cabinet and let it dry.

Finally, finish by scraping off all the excess with the help of 320-grit sandpaper.

In this way, the spackle will only be in the holes and cracks, giving an overall smooth finish to the surface of the wood.

In the end, use a microfiber cloth to remove all the sand dust.


Never use a wet cloth to remove the sanding dust because the water in the wet cloth will take off all the spackle on the wood.

Now, you must be worried about the effort needed to spackle all the cabinet:

Obviously, it will be a tough job to spackle and scrap all parts of the cabinet.

But here’s another tip for saving time:

Honestly, you do not need to spackle all parts of the cabinet. Instead, work only on those parts that are prominently visible, such as the door front, drawer front, and the boxes.

Although the difference between the spackled and non-spackled parts will be visible on close examination, you can obviously skip the parts that are hard to notice.

Still wondering how to paint oak cabinets white without sanding?

If you really hate this sanding part, you can use a primer instead. Simply, apply thin coats of primer over the cleaned surface before painting it.

Here, the choice of primer is also very important in getting the best results on oak cabinets. Oil primer is one of the good choices to cover the leaking tannins in a few coats.

Step 4: Time to Paint

painting white oak cabinets

The final step is the painting itself. For that purpose, you can use the foam roller to paint the front and broad areas and the paintbrushes to paint the hard to reach areas.

Here, the choice of paint brushes matters a lot in reaching the smaller areas and giving full paint coverage.

Now, do you want to know the secret of smooth finish paint on the cabinet?

Some people use paint sprays for this purpose. But interestingly you can also get an incredibly smooth finish with the help of your foam roller.

Although the foam rollers naturally give smooth paint on the surfaces, yet they leave small bubbles on the speckled surface.

To avoid this, just scrap the painted surface with the help of sandpaper right before your last paint coat.

Now, when the surface becomes silky smooth, apply that last coat of paint and enjoy a professional look of the white painted oak cabinets.

Finally, wait for the paint to dry and reattach all the doors and drawers back to the cabinet.

A point to remember:

Depending on the type of paint used, the drying time may vary, but make sure to be gentle with the cabinets for the next few weeks.

In the end, changing the knobs and pulls will add beauty to the newly painted white oak cabinets.


Painting oak cabinets white is one of the most difficult tasks.

However, if you know the correct method and tips to prevent the wood grain from ruining your paint, you can give a classic white finish to your oak cabinets.

In this article, we have explained the tips and secrets for how to paint oak cabinets white without grain showing.

We hope that this article will help you transform your old oak cabinets into entirely new ones with a modern white look.