Can the cabinets be painted?

In most cases, yes; however, we do not recommend painting laminate or melamine surfaces.  We also do not recommend painting when the cabinets themselves should be replaced (sorry!).

How much will this cost?

In GENERAL for tight grain/smooth woods, smaller kitchens typically start at $2500 and are often done for less than $3500 (roughly up to 25 doors & drawers combined).  The average size kitchen will cost between $3500 and $4500… a range that can encompass an island (approximately 35 to 40 doors and drawers combined).  Larger kitchens are typically $4500 to $6000 or more (with a combination of roughly 45 to 55 doors and drawers).   Remember, these are averages.  AND PLEASE NOTE ADDITIONAL COSTS CAN OCCUR!   These costs can come from:

  1.  Grain filling on OAK, which is an extra process Colorwheel offers to help with OAK specifically.
  2.  Artistic endeavors such as distressing, glazing, striping, or high gloss finishes.
  3.  Repairs to surfaces
  4.  Changing hardware locations
  5.  Painting of shelves
  6.  Painting of open box systems, or the boxes behind glass doors
  7.  Glass doors themselves
  8.  Corbels, moldings, decorative trim pieces, etc.
  9.  Islands
  10.  Number of colors being used
  11.  Crown molding,
  12.  Profile complexity, staggered height boxes, etc.

How do I know if mine can be painted, or if it’s worth painting them?

If you like the profile of the cabinets, that is, the general shape, contour, style, etc., and it’s only a color issue (stained or painted color) or they are worn out, then yes, it is likely worth it to paint them.

Can oak cabinets be painted?

Yes.  And they turn out fantastic!

But what about the grain?

Typically the grain-reduction process Colorwheel uses on Oak will drastically reduce and nearly eliminate the pitting in the grain, which tends to be the biggest “issue” with Oak.  When it comes to the swirl pattern of oak, it always will be present to some degree, but gets reduced with grain filling and the multiple layers of paint being applied.

How long does it take?

Usually, the boxes (where everything is stored and shelved) take about one week.  Those stay in your home and the week does not generally consist of 8am to 5pm days, but rather, partial days. For example, the preparation of the area and priming might be done on day one by two p.m., at which point we hit a standstill while the primer dries.  Then, sanding and painting a first coat might be done on day two by noon, and then production hits a standstill again while paint dries. The doors and drawers themselves usually take 3 to 4 weeks.  It sounds like a long time but this allows them to be processed, and substantially cured, before being transported back to your home.  Darker colors can take longer.  If anyone is telling you it’ll go faster than that, BEWARE!

Another guy said he could do it for so much less, how is this possible?

We’ve all heard that “you get what you pay for,” and you know what, IT’S TRUE!   Lesser price means shortcuts, plain and simple.  If we could do it for less, we would!   On top of that, nobody has more reputable references in cabinet painting than Colorwheel Painting.   Want to see some?  No problem, we’ve got customers ready and willing to let you in to see our work.   Want to feel samples?  Even easier.  Want to beat on those samples to ensure they’re durable?  Go for it.  We love this work and hope you’ll turn to us!

What do you use for primer?

Zinsser BIN Pigmented Shellac is used in most cases as a universal NON-WATER based primer.  In some cases a water based primer may be used, but it must pass an adhesion test.

Can you use a Prime & Paint in 1-step product?

No. Standard latex primers will not properly adhere to a previously stain and lacquered finish, conversion varnished surface, or even to semi-to-glossy painted surfaces.  Even if it does adhere, it rarely offers the stain blocking properties needed and residual grease, dirt, and cleaning product residue can penetrate through it, causing long-term adhesion issues for the paint.

What do you use for a top coat?

After trying and testing many of the products on the market, we’ve found a brand of paint (not known to most) that offers incredible ability to self-level, spray smooth, and provide beautiful appearance AND durability!  To our knowledge, no other painting contractor in the market uses this product.

How many top coats will I need?

At a minimum, 2. Possibly more depending on surface conditions.  Remember top coats are the PAINT, a priming layer (or two) should occur before this.

What about pigmented lacquer?

Pigmented lacquer is not a good choice in moisture prone areas.  It is also not compatible (from a chemistry standpoint) over many other types of coatings.  We have several competitors stating that it’s O.K. to use, so please be careful.  The same competitors will spray it in your house and throw a box fan in the window for ventilation  (not good, those aren’t explosion proof fans!).   Instead, go for pigmented conversion varnish if you have raw wood, or paint if there is ANY type of previous coating.  Now unfortunately, Colorwheel does not offer these products or services, but we’re happy to make a solid recommendation.

Do you sand between coats?

Typically we sand the primer to make it smooth, and then no further sanding is needed.  Of course if we see a need for it, we go ahead and do it.

How do you prepare the surface?

We use a cleaner and deglosser to remove surface contamination from the surfaces. This happens before priming.  Grease, residue from cleaning products, hand oils (and even pet dander/oils), and general dirtiness must all be remedied and not just painted over!

How do you actually quote the kitchen?

We can quote from photos but prefer to quote by visually inspecting them and being there. A count of the number of doors to be done is crucial, as is a number of drawers or drawer fronts. Forming a plan for what items the customer will handle (if any, such as removing door knobs) also helps.  The downside to photos is we often miss small nuances, which ultimately result in change orders.

Do you caulk gaps?

Yes on boxes, no on doors. This happens after priming. The primer will “highlight” gaps where wood meets wood, and where wood meets the wall. We do not typically caulk any gaps in floating panels at doors though, as they are prone to cracking open in seasonal expansion and contraction.

How do I get more information?

Contact Colorwheel Painting directly. 414-708-6324, use a contact us form on this website, or email

How do you price painting contracts?

Our painting services are priced “by the job” as frequently as possible, but some jobs are billed hourly, and others are a combination of the two, for example wall paper removal could be an hourly billled task, with the remaining painting all done for a set price.  Other hourly billing tasks typically relate to wall repairs, sanding/refinishing, and design work or artistic work.  In the event of hourly billing, we always try to establish a range on the contract, up front.   This is done in good faith, and is based on our prior experience.

Who provides the painting services?

Our full time, year round employees do the painting work. Colorwheel Painting, S.C. is unlike most companies. We employ full-time professional painters year round ensuring you get the highest quality service available. Our employees are invested in our company and truly care if your painting job will last.

Do you warranty your painting work?

Yes. Colorwheel Painting, S.C. adheres to the standard warranty of the National Painting and Decorating Contractors of America. This is a 1 year warranty, with full details available at More importantly, Colorwheel Painting, S.C. actually honors the warranty.

Where do I pick out colors for my painting project?

Anywhere you wish! For example, just because you pick a color from the “Valspar” paint colors at Lowe’s, does not mean the same color can’t be manufactured in a Sherwin Williams Product. While this is technically called a “color match” it can be done, and is done all the time. The key is to truly look at the match, and have it adjusted as needed. Never simply trust the person matching the color without verifying the color itself.

Do you have any notable commercial painting references?

Yes! Notable Milwaukee companies including WE Energies, U.S.M.C., Department of Homeland Security, Fiddleheads Coffee Roasters, Stone Creek Coffee, Boerner Botanical Gardens, Sprint Store, Brooks Stevens, Workshop Architects and Pabst Farms Management have given us glowing reviews. Colorwheel Painting, S.C. can handle some serious commercial painting.

How far will your professional house painters travel?

Generally, we try to stay within a 20 mile radius of Milwaukee, but sometimes go as far as 25 to 30 miles.  As this travel time must be accounted for in our cost structure, projects that are further away do end up being more expensive.  That said, we often find that because poeople see what great value and service we bring, we’re worth the price.  Thus, it’s not uncommon for us to travel 1 to 1.5 hours away and in doing so, we have ended up as far north as Plymouth, west to Dousman, south to Racine, SW to Lake Geneva, and everywhere in-between.  In fact, our house painters are so amazing they’ve been invited to northern Wisconsin to paint vacation homes and we’ve even been invited to paint homes as far away as Washington, D.C.

How do I get a painting quote, painting estimate or painting proposal?

Contact the Colorwheel Painting, S.C. painting professionals using the “contact us” form. Email us directly or call 414-708-6324.

What kind of paint do you use for interior and exterior painting?

The type of paint we use in our residential painting is up to you. Colorwheel Painting, S.C. has relationships with different suppliers and thus price advantages respective to their products. While we most commonly use Hallman Lindsay and Sherwin Williams, our house painters have no opposition to Benjamin Moore, Pratt & Lambert, and other brands. Our professional painters will guide you regarding paint selection because good paint makes your job last longer.

Can I get separate prices for different residential painting services?

Colorwheel prefers as “lumped together” a project as possible, but understands that people will, at times, require some type of breakdown.  In this case, we simply ask that you, dear customer, try to break it down into reasonable pieces such as “these 2 rooms on one quote” and “these 3 rooms on another quote.”   Ultimately, our goal is to provide the best value we can, and we can help identify where these efficienes/grouped project sizes, lay as well.  We wil not, however, do line by line pricing for the individual elements/features of a room.

Does the owner, Mike, work on the residential painting projects?

No. Instead, you will have one of Colorwheel Painting’s long-term painting managers. It is in their very best interest to serve you well because their pay, bonus, and future is determined by YOUR project’s results, YOUR word of mouth, and OUR reputation in the long run. Mike focuses on the bigger picture of the painting company. He stops in as needed and checks with you, ensuring the painting job is going well.

Do you help with painting color choices?

Colorwheel does not pick out colors for it’s clients, but it will help guide a customer.  For example, we won’t say “put green in that room” but if you are looking at green colors, we’d help you see the characteristics of each, and help you narrow it down.  We can also offer insight on frequently used colors.   In the long run, we definitely believe interior designers are brilliant with color, and can/should be used whenever budget allows!  We have great people to recommend, and will give names at your request.

I have carpentry needs too. Do your painters take care of these needs too?

Yes and no. The house painters often replace boards on decks, both vertical and horizontal siding, trim pieces around window/doors/corners/soffits, and other minor repairs. If the job is beyond our scope, we bring in one of our preferred carpenters to do these “larger” jobs.

Do your painters paint and stain decks? So they wash and strip them too?

Yes. In Wisconsin’s climate, deck maintenance is a bi-annual commitment. Rain, snow and the sun beat on deck surfaces. Colorwheel Painting, S.C.’s house painters strip, stain, seals and paint decks providing you with a quality job designed to last.