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Best brushes for painting kitchen cabinets

Listed under Axus, Blog, brushes, Corona, Ron Taylor Posted Aug 10 2013

Traditional Painter in Warwickshire, Ron Taylor explains about his best brushes for painting kitchen cabinets. They can be a little different to the brushes he would use day-to-day, painting walls, doors, frames, etc.

I’ve used a lot of different brushes over the years, maybe too many

Acrylic Brushes, Wall and Ceiling Brushes, Kenilworth Brushes For Oil Primers, Kenilworth

but I generally stick with 3 or 4 brushes when painting ceilings, walls and woodwork on interiors.

However, when it comes to painting kitchen cabinets, I’m finding that, depending on paint and/or weather conditions, I might need up to 4 different brushes, plus a roller, for that one task alone.

Matching brushes to paint

I usually use a combination of Zinsser Cover Stain or Zinsser BIN (as a primer), and Tikkurila Feelings or Mythic Semi-Gloss (topcoats) on kitchens. For these applications I would use maybe 3 or 4 brushes.

Purdy Pro-Extra or Purdy Ebony for Cover Stain.

I think the Pro-Extra is the best brush for this primer. It’s stiff, cuts in nicely and applies paint evenly. The Ebony brush also applies paint well, but being natural bristle it doesn’t cut in as well, so I generally use this for larger areas.

Corona Chinex for BIN

I would only use Zinsser BIN shellac based primer, if I thought Cover Stain wouldn’t adhere well to the project. BIN is hard work to apply smoothly (“impossible” may be a better word) with a brush and/or roller. It dries way too fast, so must just be applied quickly then sanded flat later.

I try to remove and spray BIN on any doors with a HVLP sprayer, rather than brushing, as spraying applies a more even coat. But where spraying isn’t an option, say for the frames in a kitchen, the Chinex brush is best. It applies BIN fairly evenly, considering the drying constraints.

I would roll large areas with an * Axus Lime Green roller sleeve and leave it, sanding it smooth when dry.


TP’s Trade Corner associates, HSP, are now Zinsser Stockists and can provide the key Zinsser products tinted to colour… The colours would be pastel/ medium shades where there is only a white base and a full range if there is a clear base.

Corona Tynex/Orel 2″ Ontario for Tikkurila

This is the best bristle I’ve come across for fine water-based trim finishes. The handle is a beavertail design and the bristles are angled. This brush puts on paint smoothly and lays off well. If I’m hand-painting doors I will use this brush for mouldings, apply the paint to larger areas with a Wooster Micro Plush roller, then lay off with the Ontario. This leaves an extremely good finish.

Corona Tynex/Orel Ontario or Proform Contractor for Mythic

The Ontario is equally as good in Mythic as it is in Tikkurila, but the Proform Contractor runs it very close. Available in angled and straight style it may be worth a try if you have thin, fast drying acrylic to apply. The bristles are super soft but still apply paint very smoothly.

Mythic isn’t forgiving if being overworked, so it must be applied and left. This isn’t always the easiest on complicated panelled kitchen doors. If I am using Mythic on a kitchen, I usually check with the customer before I start and ask if they would prefer the doors/drawer fronts to be sprayed. This would be done with an airless using a 310 fine finish tip. More info on airless spraying. More about Corona

If you have any questions, I am happy to help where I can.

Ron taylor hand painted kitchens warwickshireRon Taylor, a specialist painter and decorator based in Kenilworth, is the Traditional Painter responsible for hand painted kitchens throughout Warwickshire.

Ron is one of the UK’s leading authorities on the specification and application of water based and waterborne paints.


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2 comments to “Best brushes for painting kitchen cabinets”

  1. Keith

    to change a colour on kitchen cabinets, would you need to use the bin zinser primer or could you paint straight over with the new colour

  2. Avatar photo Andy Crichton

    If you are talking about over-painting a previously painted surface, Zinsser BIN is a primer sealer, so unless the surface is leaching resin / knots showing through, it is not really appropriate. If the paint is in good condition, but you dont know what the previous paint was, I would clean and sand down the surface, fill as necessary and coat with Otex oil based primer tinted to the topcoat colour and finish with a couple of oil-based or water based topcoats.

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