How Many Coats Of Primer On Cabinets? | 2 or 3 or more!

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Painting is the easiest & affordable way to give old cabinets a new look. However, painting isn’t the only thing you have to do while giving your beloved furniture a new look. For instance, you’ve to use primer as well to support the paint. 

We’ll know painting is a fun thing to do. But, the thing we hate is the priming part we do before painting. The primed area takes 24 hours to dry & which makes us impatient! Another irritating part of priming is deciding how many coatings should be applied. 

Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. This article will explain everything regarding the coating counts of primer on cabinets. Before that, let’s start from the basics – What exactly is a primer? 

What Is a Primer?

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Primer is a special kind of white paint that is used to make the cabinet’s surface more adhesive to paint. All the cabinet is not a flat surface. Some cabinets may not be compatible with painting & it can cause a lesser lifespan of the applied paint. In this case, the proper use of primer can make the paint stick for a longer period than non-primed paints. Besides making your paint stick, prime does other jobs too & they are:

  • Fixes damages/cracks of wooden furniture or cabinet doors
  • Conseils stains so that they can’t bleed to ruin your paint
  • Creates a wall surface that’s free from imperfections
  • Prevents wood from soaking paint after the painting period
  • It helps neutralize the color of your surface & helps paint showcase its truest brilliant form. 
How Many Coats Of Primer On Cabinets
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>> Suggested Read: 08 Best Primers for Kitchen Cabinets in 2022: Expert’s Picks

How Many Coats Of Primer On Cabinets?

You should use at least one paint coat & a maximum of two primer coats on the cabinets. One coat of primer is enough to satisfy the primer’s need in most cases. You can use two coats of primers, too, depending on your wooden furniture’s surface conditions

All that said, use one or two coats of primer to stay in the safe zone. What if you use more than two coats? Well, I’ll discuss that too after the following segment. Stay tuned as the next segment is about the proper use of one & two coats of primer. 

One Coat: When Should I Use One Coat Of Primer

One coat of primer should do its paint job of increasing the adhesiveness of your cabinets. You should be fine with only one coat of primer if your cabinet boxes meet the following conditions:

  • Your cabinet’s color should be a lighter one
  • Your cabinet is moderately polished & free from cracks or damages

Tip: keep in mind, that one coat of primer is enough only when you give it 24 hours to dry properly. 

Two Coats: When Should I Use Two Coats Of Primer

Some furniture or cabinets may require more than one coat of primer. You should use two coats of primer if your cabinet meets the following conditions:

  • Your cabinet’s color should be a darker one & it includes black, espresso & brown
  • Your cabinet showcases minor cracks or damages even after the first coat of primer 

Bonus Reason: You can & should apply another coat of primer if your first coating was uneven or blotchy. 

Tip: Your first coat of primer should be dried within 30 minutes. Don’t rush for the second coating already; wait for another 30 minutes instead. Taking one hour between primer coating is a good practice & you should follow it for the best possible result. 

Three & Above Coats: Disadvantages Of Using Too Many Coats Of Primer

You may be wondering what will happen if you use three or more coats of primer. Simply speaking, it will hinder the main motive of priming & other problems such as:

  • Paint won’t adhere properly & will result in the paint peeling
  • It will cause unevenly drying 
  • You’ll notice disturbing patterns in the surface area

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Watch this video for detailed knowledge of priming over cabinets:

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ

Can You Use Too Many coats Of Primer?

You shouldn’t use more than two coats of primer, let alone “too many.” A single coat of primer is enough for most of the furniture & woodwork, including cabinets. If you have a dark color cabinet to paint & want to prime it, then you can use two coats of primer. Don’t overdo the process by using too many primers as it will cause damages such as – unevenly drying, spotted patterns, paint peeling & other potential damages to the cabinet.

How Long Should Primer Dry On Cabinets?

You should give a primer for at least 24 hours for completing the drying period. This drying part is the most crucial for any primer. If you don’t give enough time & rush to paint, you won’t get a good result in the long run. That’s why it’s advisable to wait 24 hours before you hop on to painting your favorite furniture or cabinet.

Readout our full inspection here.

Should I Sand Primer Before Painting Cabinets?

Yes, you should lightly sand the primed cabinets before painting. Go easy with this sanding part & everything should be okay. However, if you impose excessive force while sanding, you may end up ruining the printer’s ability for paint adhesion. That’s why sand lightly & your paint will adhere more strongly to the cabinets.

Is It Better To Roll Or Brush Paint Cabinets?

It depends on the painting area of the cabinet. If it’s a wide area such as the front & back of drawers, you can surely use a roller to paint the color. The roller will help you with speedy & even paint. 

On the other hand, brush strokes suited the best to those areas where the roller can’t reach & they are mostly small areas of the cabinet. In summary, don’t miss the chance of using a roller to paint cabinets.

How Do You Get The Smoothest Finish While Painting Cabinets?

There’s no rocket science in getting a smooth finish while painting a cabinet frame. All you have to do is use quality products (primer & paint) in the proper & advised manner. 

Another thing needed for the smoothest finish is ‘patience.’ You’ve to give 24 hours after priming & wait 2-4 hours between two coats of paint. Following these pieces of advice, you can get a smooth finish while painting cabinets.


This article was all about the coating count of primer on a cabinet. I hope it’s now easier for you to decide how many coatings should be applied depending on your cabinet’s condition. 

In summary, you’ve to use only one coat of primer unless you’re dealing with darker color cabinets with some damage/cracks on them. Also, you can use another layer of primer if the first one wasn’t that satisfactory.

Related Posts:

>> 10 Best Exterior Wood Primers in 2021: Ultimate Outdoor Beauty | Wood Mixers

>> 10 Best Primers for Bare Wood in 2021: Expert’s Picks | Wood Mixers

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