Sometimes the cheapest way to renovate your entire kitchen is to choose a new color palette for walls, cabinets and countertops.

new kitchen cabinets

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You can take a model from the 1990s to the 21st century. Enter the 21st century simply by enjoying the light and choosing complementary colours and metallic accents on the door handles.

It can take a long time to decide what your kitchen will look like over the next ten years. Sometimes it even takes longer than necessary to remove all cabinet doors and physically prepare them.

However, as long as you have a clear idea of the colours and finishes you want, it’s best to be persistent before you start.

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If you’ve never bought a primer before, the choices might seem a little daunting. There are almost as many products as there are different professional opinions on the best way to apply a primer or varnish.

Primers for kitchen cabinets

To make things a little easier, we have limited our list of most popular products to the top five, including oil and latex based primers.

Then refer to the Primer Purchasing Guide (haha) to learn how to customise a traditional seven-step cabinet paint to suit the type of cabinet you have and the primer you choose.

Are you in a hurry to unscrew the doors? Here’s our top five.

Are you in a hurry? That’s our winner!

Our assessment:

KILZ L211101 Pressure sensitive adhesive, High Performance Latex Primer/Primer, White, 1 gal, 4 l

KILZ L211101 Pressure sensitive adhesive, High Performance Latex Primer/Primer, White, 1 gal, 4 l

  • A good adhesion primer is necessary to ensure the adhesion of the top coat to the paint surface. The strong adhesion of the primer increases the paint possibilities as it adheres to a wide range of surfaces.
  • KILZ Adhesion is a unique latex primer designed to provide reliable adhesion to smooth surfaces where conventional water or oil based primers will not adhere. Viscosity – 93 to 100 FE. Roller – Smooth surface – 3/8 – 1/2 inch knots. Roll – Porous surface – 1/2 to 3/4 inch stack. The spraying pressure is 2500 to 3200. Nozzle – 0.015 – 0.021 in.
  • Adheres to hard painted surfaces such as Kynar, PVC, Formica, vinyl, glass, tiles, glazed bricks, chalk paint, glossy surfaces, fibreglass and metals. Plate with latex or oil paint.

Last updated on 15/12/2020 at 11:32am / Affiliate links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API.

Best basecoats for kitchen cabinets – TableComparison

Example Product Rating Price  
KILZ L211101 Pressure sensitive adhesive, High Performance Latex Primer/Primer, White, 1 gal, 4 l KILZ L211101 Pressure sensitive adhesive, High Performance Latex Primer/Primer, White, 1 gal, 4 l No review yet $42.00 See details
Paving stone, opaque paint All in one. Paving stone, opaque paint All in one. 463 reviews $38.99 See details
Rust oil 286258 Primer, 31.5 oz, Grey Rust oil 286258 Primer, 31.5 oz, Grey 983 reviews $12.81 See details
Rust-Oleum Corporation 271009 Advanced Synthetic Shellac Primer, 1 litre, white Rust-Oleum Corporation 271009 Advanced Synthetic Shellac Primer, 1 litre, white 244 reviews $18.25 See details
KILZ Premium High Quality Locking Stainless Inner/External Latex Primer/Sealing, White, 1-Gallon KILZ Premium High Quality Locking Stainless Inner/External Latex Primer/Sealing, White, 1-Gallon 1197 reviews $22.98 See details

Last updated on 15/12/2020 at 08:28 / Affiliate Links / Amazon Product Advertising API Images.


Our choice

KILZ L211101 Pressure sensitive adhesive, High Performance Latex Primer/Primer, White, 1 gal, 4 l

Our assessment:

If you are willing to spend more money to reduce preparation and painting, this is the product for you.

It is one of the most versatile primers available, as it adheres well to almost all of the surfaces mentioned above. And on top of that there are old layers of oil paint, like on the planks and skirting boards.

It also gives you the possibility to obtain a uniform working layer on chalk paint, gloss paint, fibreglass, PVC and formica.

If you have moved into a house with vinyl covered MDF cabinets, this product will be a great help, because vinyl is notoriously difficult to cover with a regular primer unless you spray it.

Kilz recognises that this can be difficult and gives very specific recommendations for applying coatings to unusable or non-adhesive surfaces, whether using rollers or a high volume, low pressure spray gun.

The versatility of the highly adhesive version of their adhesive primer extends to the different types of paints that can be used over it.

Kilz High Adhesion provides a neutral base that sufficiently blocks oiled surfaces and ensures sufficient adhesion for the choice of the top layer.

We will go into more detail about the usual rules for combining primer and paint in the buyer’s guide, but this primer is a pleasure because it circumvents many of the usual limitations. You can use this primer under xylene products, lacquers and epoxies.

You can always apply two layers if you cover a piece of furniture with a particularly suffocating stain.

However, you can refrain from light sanding with 240 grit paper (and subsequent vacuuming) before applying the top coat, rather than sanding between layers of primer as you would normally do.

Although Kilz adhesive is also suitable for spraying, it can easily be applied with a roller or brush without dripping too much.

They say it dries by hand in 30 minutes, but even the happiest customers are advised to wait a full hour before repainting it – especially if it’s a deep door with a raised profile or decorative moulding.

This reserve of gallons should make it possible to cover an area of 300 to 400 square metres evenly.


  • Works smoothly and easily
  • Exceptional flexibility
  • Reduces total painting time
  • Maybe an oil painting
  • Can be used under oil paint and many others
  • Can be used on smooth surfaces
  • Easy to clean


  • The smell is quite intense – good ventilation during use.

Paving stone, opaque paint All in one.

Our assessment:

The Heirloom All-in-One collection combines your primers and coats in four shades of grey (yes, only four, sorry) and two shades of black, Abbey and Iron Gate, styled with an eyelid.

The link takes you to the shadow pavement, which is light grey. If you like the idea of an all-in-one, but are not convinced by the modern aspects of a battleship wardrobe, then there is a wider choice of colours such as Cappuccino and Tea Rose.

To access the extensive product range, right-click directly under the product name and go to the product shop of Heirloom Traditions.

As the name suggests, this primer is both your primer and your coating in one step. You will need two more coats of this paint to cover all stains and knots and achieve a chalkstyle matt finish.

Like Kilz’s highly adhesive primer, it adheres strongly to the smoothest and least promising surfaces, blocking earlier paints and stains and oils. Its colour pull factor makes it a good choice for most modern vinyl covered MDF cabinets.

According to Heirloom, it is not necessary to sand, strip, seal or prime twice after applying this paint, although it is noted that lighter colours (such as Colisée) may require an extra third coat compared to existing darker paints.

You can buy this paint in a sample size of 8oz for a small bathroom or bathroom cabinet, 16oz, or a quarter that will cover about 140sqft.

We were a bit sceptical about the possibility of applying the first layer of Heirloom and then going straight to the second layer without sanding, but it looks like you’re worth your money.

This is one of the most expensive options on the list for this quarter, but customer testimonials confirm that you can really cut a lot of prep grafts with amazing results.


  • Versatile in terms of the surfaces it can cover
  • Large floodlight block
  • Easy to use and easy to apply
  • Ideal for beginners
  • The visible wood grain is nicely aligned
  • The smell is weak compared to many primers.
  • Dries quickly


  • Prices
  • You should allow the paint to harden for a few days before trying to attach the doors to the cabinets.

Rust oil 286258 Primer, 31.5 oz, Grey

Our assessment:

It’s one of the cheapest primers. Supplied in grey, which is ideal for creating a central colour block between the base layer and the top layer in different shades. It has a thick consistency and works very well on exterior and interior surfaces, and even adheres to plasterboard, metal and masonry.

This product has several advantages: it is applied so evenly that you can apply the entire second layer, except perhaps on the edges of cabinet doors where the primer and varnish tend to impregnate naturally.

It is one of the fastest drying primers, stabilizing to a matte finish in just 30 minutes.


  • Very low odour compared to many products
  • Uniform and easy to apply
  • Forms a block of strong colour
  • Universal use
  • It can be used with any latex or oil top layer.


  • Heavier areas require multiple layers.
  • Does not adhere to vinyl and surfaces containing plasticizers, as it is a specific product with a high adhesive strength.

Rust-Oleum Corporation 271009 Advanced Synthetic Shellac Primer, 1 litre, white

Our assessment:

Zinsser BIN is an excellent stain and tannin blocker when treating sticky, heavily oiled wood that would otherwise pass through the paint, regardless of attempts to apply two or three coats of primer. Juice is a very difficult fabric to cover, but shellac is a coating that stops the bleeding.

It is also a powerful odour blocker, which is useful if you are renovating your kitchen in a garage.

For particularly difficult corners around raised or recessed door panels, you can use this 13oz white spray shellac primer to get to the places that your mini roller or brush couldn’t reach.


  • One of the few primers for juice extraction.
  • Dries quickly
  • Low odor
  • A strong blocking capacity
  • Good atomization


  • Because the consistency is very good, it can be messy and difficult to roll in the beginning. Use microfibre rollers, no foam.

KILZ Premium High Quality Locking Stainless Inner/External Latex Primer/Sealing, White, 1-Gallon

Our assessment:

Excellent for covering stains that always appear translucent and impossible to remove, such as B. Fire damage, rust stains, graffiti or pencil stains. This high-quality stain blocker also works well for masking odours when the inherent odour is low.

Thanks to its pleasantly viscous consistency, this primer blocks even the most stubborn dirt in one step, even on porous surfaces.

The adhesion is universal, adheres to old oil-based paints as well as to latex, tiles, vinyl and other non-surgical surfaces.


  • Good anti-fungal properties
  • Can be used on a wide range of surfaces
  • Can be used under all lacquers
  • Excellent value and covers 300-400 square meters per gallon
  • Easy to clean with water
  • A good option for cladding dark walls


  • For juices and tannins or oil/fat stains two layers are needed.

Purchasing guide

In recent years, the composition of the primers has been refined to make them chemically more versatile in terms of the surfaces on which they can be used and the top layers under which they can be used.

Prior to the introduction of highly adhesive primers, the basic rule for the choice of paints and primers was only a combination of water-based primers and paints or oily primers and paints.

Due to the disadvantages of using oil-based primers (you need to purchase ventilation equipment in addition to your regular equipment), sales of oil-based primers are lower than those of competing water-based latex options.

Over the last decade it has been virtually impossible to find oil-based primers, and even more so in Europe, because they are considered too dangerous to use in houses with inadequate ventilation.

Fortunately, today it is much easier to spontaneously remove a litre or gallon of primer from the shelf and then choose a colour at your leisure without limiting yourself to the type of primer.

It’s also great that the quality of the currently available primers can help you skip a few steps in the traditional process of painting kitchen cabinets that looked so beautiful in the past:

Step 1 – Degrease all surfaces with the pre-cleaning solution.

Step 2 – Sand the remaining varnish, paint, etc. with coarse sandpaper (in the 80-120 grit range, depending on the cabinet).

Step 3 – Clean the dust and apply the first coat of primer.

Step 4 – When the first coat is dry, sand and dust the primer.

Step 5 – Apply a second coat of primer.

Step 6 – Sand with smooth paper (240 grit paper) to remove excess primer. Take the dust off.

Step 7 – Apply the top coat

To make it easier for you, we have developed different scenarios with companies of different quality and have proposed an adapted approach based on the above steps.

Heavy contamination/damage

Maybe you bought a property at an auction to renovate it, and the cabinets are structurally sound and usable, but not pleasing to the eye.

They’re z. They may be polluted by nicotine or water, for example, or they may contain residues of old lacquer or varnish.

In this case, if you had to spend a lot of time using a coarser paper to smooth the surface, you should go through the seven steps to get the best possible finish for your cabinet.

Strong tannins or stains

Perform steps 1 and 2 and apply a shellac primer, which provides a better seal against tanning and blood stains.

If you paint on a dark material, you may need two layers of primer, but you probably don’t need to sand in between. After the second primer, continue the process from step 6.

Machining of MDF furniture with vinyl/plastic surfaces

You have to take the first step first. In the past, the only way to apply a primer or paint evenly on vinyl was to use an HVLP spraying machine because it was so loosely glued and needed several thin layers of primer to apply the paint.

However, you now have the possibility to apply the highly adhesive primer by spraying (choose a point size of 0.15-0.21) or by means of a roller. For more porous surfaces, use a roll of microfibre/fibre hairs ½ or ¾. Use ⅜ or ½ inch sleep for a smooth base.

Although paint with high adhesion dries quickly, we recommend that you let the primer dry for a few hours to see if it has settled evenly in the grain of the surface before removing the top coat from the garage.

If you draw on something very dark or very bold.

Imagine going from a bright orange to a light blue-grey, or from a tree that is almost the shadow of a sequoia to a white one. Once you have a clean, bare work surface (steps 1 and 2), you can use two layers of Pisces-grey primer 3-2-1 as a solid colour block.

Just sand with 240 grains to remove the excess. You can apply two coats in the morning when it dries in about 30 minutes. An alternative is to apply two layers of a high-quality stain / colour block.

If you have a wet kitchen

Most formulations are naturally mold resistant, but if you want to take extra precautions, you can look at the kitchen and bathroom version of your favourite mold resistant primer.

Choosing the best role

If you collect your paint supplies before you determine a colour, it can’t go wrong with two packs of mini rollers with a microfibre sleeve with a ½-inch battery and a foam roller.

Foam generally offers the smoothest finish, but is not particularly absorbent. Choose a door that is likely to be used less over the years and try your wheels in the back. Follow the grain of the wood.

You know which pipe works best with paint and you get a professional finish. For example, you may need a microfibre bag to cover the paint. B. with foam.

Getting the best result with any primer

Regardless of which primer you choose, we strongly recommend that you always follow step 1. Always take time to protect the countertop and surfaces with resin or building paper before painting. You always have to remove all the doors to paint them.

Create a floor plan of your kitchen cabinets and find a way to label each cabinet as you remove it. And don’t jump directly into the top layer once you’re primed. Because it feels soft, maybe it just feels like it’s coming off.

Give the layer time to cure and then brush lightly to see if the layer is stable. Then you either add another layer or you keep this layer.

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