How to Get a Smooth Paint Finish without a Paint Sprayer

How to Get a Smooth Paint Finish without a Paint Sprayer | Pretty Handy Girl

A smooth factory finish is the ideal paint finish for cabinetry. A professional cabinet finisher would normally use a paint sprayer, but today I’m going to show you

How to Get a Smooth Paint Finish without a Paint Sprayer.


The first step in getting a factory smooth finish is to prep your cabinets by filling any imperfections with wood putty.


When the putty is completely dry, sand the cabinet face to perfection. Start with a medium grit sand paper and finish with a fine grit paper.


Use a high quality primer with a hard finish to seal the cabinet and prepare it to accept paint.


After the primer dries, sand it perfectly smooth again. This will remove any imperfections.


A big factor in getting that factory smooth finish is using good quality paint made for doors and trim like Benjamin Moore Advance or Sherwin Williams ProClassic. Add a small amount of Floetrol (affiliate link) to help the paint level better.


Brush paint onto the cabinets.


Spread the paint and smooth your brush strokes with a foam roller.


And that my friends is How to Get a Smooth Paint Finish without a Paint Sprayer

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16 replies
  1. Barry Molder
    Barry Molder says:

    HI PHG, I ordered double doors to replace sliding mirrored doors for a closet. The doors have a smooth finish (not wood), unpainted but appear to have a sealer of some kind. (1) How should I prepare this surface to accept the paint and additive you have described and shown above? Should I use sponge sanding block, or steel wool? (2) Do you recommend satin or semi-gloss paint, or other finish?


    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      I’d definitely give it a good sanding with a sanding block just to rough up the surface and knock down any imperfections. Then I’d use a primer unless the sealer is the primer. It depends on your surface. If super smooth without any imperfections, you can use semi-gloss. But frankly, satin is the trend now.

  2. Sharon
    Sharon says:

    Do you ever have problems with using a foam roller and it causes bubbles in the rolled on paint?…I would like to know, how to prevent this…I have even added Floetrol to the paint!

    • Brittany Bailey
      Brittany Bailey says:

      The bubbles appear on the first roll on, but if I gently roll a few more times over the paint it settles. If you are having issues, I might look at a different paint that has self leveling capabilities like Benjamin Moore Advance, Benjamin Moore Pro Classic or Sherwin Williams Pro Classic.

  3. P J BROWN
    P J BROWN says:

    Brushing then using a foam roller gives such a great finish I am sure it is a tip I will use in a lot of my painting projects going forward. Thanks for the advice keep writing helpful post. good stuff

  4. Anika
    Anika says:

    Thanks for the great tips! The floterol is a life saver!! I think I need to start buying better primer like you suggested for my projects

  5. Maggie S
    Maggie S says:

    I have used Floetrol before but the BM dealer said that I shouldn’t use it with the Benjamin Moore Advance –not sure if he knew it shouldn’t be used or he was just saying that.

    Have you used it with the Advance paint?

  6. Ivory
    Ivory says:

    Beautiful results. Thank you for the helpful tips you alway gives. I’ve tried some of you tips for varies things around the house, and they worked 100%. I lovely our tutorial on how to get smooth paint finish without spaying.

  7. Shea | The Fogue Abode
    Shea | The Fogue Abode says:

    We just got a new paint from Lowe’s (I think it was Valspar) that is for cabinets and doors and has the leveling agent already in it. We just redid our bathroom cabinets with it and it worked great.

    Love your tips on brushing it with the brush and then rolling over it.


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