Painting Masonite Kitchen Cabinets and Counters

by THAT Painter Lady

Hi Debbie,
My kitchen cabinets (the doors) are made from masonite and are wood tone finish.
I would like to paint them white. Any suggestions? Thank you in advance.

And another question

I just painted my kitchen and now am starting on the cabinets. They are laminate, painted with semi gloss white. I want them a different color, maybe a shade of orange, but I want to mix glaze and paint together, so should I paint them first or leave them white? I don’t want them to be too dark, so if I mix the glaze half and half with paint and them apply it, will they take the color of the paint, or still be kind of white? I think you said no semi gloss, so should I sand them lightly with the mouse first?


You will need to prepare the cabinets first before painting.

1. Clean the cabinets thoroughly with soap and water or a non-abrasive cleaner. Let dry.

2. Remove hardware from cabinet doors

3. Remove cabinets doors – This is optional, depending on how good of a job you want to do. Removing the doors allows you to get a smooth finish without smudging between the door and the door frames

4. Lightly sand with a fine grit sanding pad or steel wool. If the cabinets have a clear coat of varnish or polyurethane on them, then you may need to sand a little bit more, in order to get a surface that the primer and paint will stick too.

5. Prime the cabinets with a good primer/sealer.

6. Paint away with whatever color you choose. I would use a semi-gloss paint finish for the cabinets. It has a slight shine, and will look gorgeous.You may want to seal it with a clear coat, but it may not be necessary.

If you plan on faux finishing over the painted cabinets, then I would go with a satin finish paint as your base paint.  Glaze does not go on well on top of semi-gloss.  You definitely don’t want to roll on glaze as if it were paint – ever.  Glaze is used to make paint more movable and for faux finish techniques such as ragging, sponging, colorwashing, etc.

Please let me know if you have any more questions.

Happy Painting!


This is an article that explains the process for painting laminate counters. This would be the same process as painting Masonite cabinet doors:

We are often asked how to paint an existing laminate countertop, and if it is even possible. Yes, you can paint countertops, but you need to prepare the countertop surface carefully beforehand with special primer. Here’s how.

(1) Wash the countertop with some ammonia-based cleaner or some warm ammonia diluted with water. Get it as clean as possible, removing all dirt and grime. When the surface is dry, you may wish to put strips of low-tack painter’s tape on any trim around the countertop.

(2) The next step is to prime the countertop surface with a bonding primer, this will make sure the paint will stick to a non-porous surface. Some good bonding primers are XIM 400, Sherwin-Williams PrepRite®, or Zinssers Bin. Follow the primer manufacturers instructions; plan on allowing the primer to set for about 24 hours before painting. The odor can be strong, so consider opening windows and closing the room off from the rest of the house when using these products.

(3) When the primer is dry, it’s time to paint your selected new color paint to the existing laminate countertop. Nothing changes a kitchen’s look quite so much as countertop finishes, so make sure you’ve matched swatches to your existing colors – appliances, walls, flooring and all. If you use your laminate countertops to prepare food directly on, use water based paint; the chemicals in oil based paints may leech into your food, which is not a good thing. Apply two to three thin layers of paint, letting them dry between each coating. If you like, and are feeling creative, you can stencil-paint some patterned borders on your laminate countertops new base paint as well at this point.

(4) The final step is to seal the paint. Three coats of satin or high-gloss non-yellowing polyurethane will give you maximum durability. I prefer water-based sealer; it will not alter the appearance of your paint’s colors when it dries. Allow the sealer to dry 24 hrs. You might have to order take-out dinners for a couple of days, but it will be worth it when you see your fabulous new painted laminate countertops in your kitchen.

Carlo Morelli writes for, where you can read about pellet stoves and tankless water heaters.

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