Cabinet Painting

Cabinet Painters in Milwaukee


Beautiful Residential Cabinet Painting & Counter Tops

Colorwheel produces the beautiful painted cabinets you desire!  And it’s done at roughly 1/3 to 1/5th the cost of getting all new cabinets. Add in our countertops and you’re really set for a big impact makeover!  Our minimally disruptive process comes with an unbeatable warranty too, 5-years, pro-rated, nobody offers better. To see photos of some of our cabinet painting we’ve completed in Milwaukee, including Menomonee Falls, Oconomowoc, Pewaukee, and Waukesha County, please scroll to the bottom of this page and then contact us when you’re ready.

As for how it all happens…

We visit you.  During the meeting, we determine your wants and needs and let you know what is possible.  At this time, we also educate you on the process and point out key differences from our competitors.  On top of that, we show you actual samples of our work!  These are not doctored or overly done.  Instead, they are accurate.  In fact, some of these samples are from real jobs in our shop that will be installed in just weeks.   After we answer any additional questions, we take information with us and write up a proposal off-site.  That’s right, no in-person pressure sales.  Once sent, you’re given time to review it.  Dialogue and revisions occur as needed.   Finally, when you sign, we help you choose a color and run through other logistic questions.  Once that’s done, the rest falls on our team of expert cabinet painters in Milwaukee.

Customers Have Us Paint:

  1. Stained Oak (with our custom grain filling process)
  2. Stained Maple, Birch, Alder, and other (grain filling not required)
  3. Previously Painted Wood Cabinets

As for some recognition on our expertise…

Click here to see an interview with our owner that aired in Spring of 2020 about cabinet painting:

Or view this article recently published

April 5 JS Homes Section NARi Article


Successful Cabinet Painting is NOT for the Faint of Heart!

The process is tedious and detailed, and many details are overlooked by standard DIY efforts.

With years of experience, and pulling from the expertise of our team, Colorwheel has developed a cabinet painting system that brings you the results you desire from cabinet painters in Milwaukee.

In a nutshell, this is our process for cabinet painting in Southeastern Wisconsin (we’ll share much greater detail with you in person):

  1.  Careful label all components, including hinges, doors, drawers
  2.  Remove doors and drawer fronts and transport to our workshop
  3.  All surfaces remedy, fix defects (agreed to in contract) such as clear coat drips, drags, sags.  
  4.  All surface cleaning and abrasion to remove hand oils, residues, polishes, cleaning products, etc.  This is done in a near dustless way.
  5.  All surfaces priming, with further remedy to any adhesion or severe bleed-thru stain issues
  6.  Filling holes in the event that hardware is being changed.  
  7.  Seamless-look creation to boxes and adjacent trims, using caulks and fillers
  8.  Top coating to all surfaces with adequate dry time between coats.  
  9.  Re-install all items
  10.  Final Touch Ups as needed

Our Expert Cabinet Painters:

  1. Dan 
  2. Bill 
  3. Jamee 
  4. Sheryl 
  5. Mo 
  6. Tommy
  7. Matt

This work has an unbeatable, unmatched warranty (don’t worry, you’ll get a copy of it).  And more so, we are there within 2 weeks to handle any issue that can arise!

Just reach out to your sales rep who’ll be more than happy to help.

Don’t Trust Just “Any Painter” to Do Your Cabinet Painting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin!

You don’t hire just anyone to paint your car, and you don’t hire just anyone to paint your cabinets.  This is PRECISION work.  Often the lack of expertise, understanding process, product, sheer impatience, and not having a strict system in place turns an exciting update into a horrible nightmare. You can trust Colorwheel and our team of dedicated cabinet painters in Milwaukee—we have even been called in as expert witness on projects gone wrong!  We can’t say it enough, be careful in who you hire! 

What Goes Wrong:

  1. Rushing: product dry times that must be adhered to
  2. Thin Coats: product mil-thicknesses must be adhered to.  Beware of those who spray doors in upright positions!
  3. Using the wrong primer: Compatibility of products on a molecular level is extremely important. Water based primers, NO!  Not unless you have two weeks to let them set! 
  4. Using the WRONG PAINT:  Beyond lackluster sheen, this will affect the durability, capability of touch up, and long-term wear and tear
  5. Not using paint: It’s stunning, but competitors out there are using the absolutely WRONG PRODUCT on cabinet jobs.  Lacquer or pigmented lacquer is prone to break down in moist areas. Additionally, it is not compatible unless one is positive lacquer was used in prior cases.  With it, expect chipping and sheet failure.
  6. Poor application method, even the best product can’t cover the sins of a bad technique.  Lesser painters leave thick or thin spots, excessive brush marks, inconsistent sheen, horrible stipple, or even drips/drags/sags in a project.  
  7. Spraying without ISOLATION. Isolating a kitchen to spray paint is a major dilemma.  We’ve frequently seen paint get on all sorts of things it shouldn’t get on.  Also, paint “dust” will drift through the home landing on everything in sight.  Remember, paint can easily enter HVAC systems, clog furnace filters, and more.
  8. Failure to properly clean surfaces, combined with over-reliance on a primer. Primer is NOT a cure-all, do all product. While it can overcome some issues, it’s not a shortcut for cleaning.
  9. Failure to label hinges, doors, drawers.  This leads to chaos at the end, with doors not hanging like they did before, spacing and gap issues, swing issues and more.


That box fan the competitor wants to place in the window to “exhaust fumes” is NOT explosion-proof. And what about turning off a furnace, water heater, etc? Some products have flash points as well that pose a tremendous risk. Sadly, most painters never think of this!



Get Started Now


How hard is the paint?

Paint hardness is a topic that few paint companies or consumers look at.  So, congrats!  The hardness test is done in the manufacturer lab, using one of two (or sometimes both) universally accepted systems. One is the Wolff-Wilborn Pencil Hardness test, the other is Persoz & Konig test.  Each has its own scale.  The results are usually buried in the product literature, and sometimes not disclosed at all without asking.  Anyhow, most of our product is around a 5 in hardness.  That’ll survive a lot of wear and tear.

Do you have a showroom? Can we visit you?

We do not have a formal show room in the way larger remodel firms have.  However, we do have our “Tradeshow” display set up on a wall in an area of our shop.  BY APPOINTMENT, you are welcome to come and see this.  The setup shows the step by step process of our cabinet painting, going through stages.  You’d also get a great feel (literally) for how our grain reduction appears and feels on oak.  This is the concern of many consumers we help.  At the same visit, you can get a first hand look at the process in the back workroom too.  Please contact us if this is something that interests you!

How much will painting the cabinets cost?

For tight grain/smooth woods such as birch, maple, pine, or similar veneer:

  • Smaller kitchens typically start at $2500 and are often done for less than $3000 (roughly up to 25 doors & drawers combined).
  • Average size kitchens usually cost between $3500 and $4500… a range that can encompass an island (approximately 35 to 40 doors and drawers combined).
  • Larger kitchens are typically $5000 to $6000 or more (with a combination of roughly 45 to 55 doors and drawers).   Larger kitchens more often have other cost factors.

Remember, these are averages.  Please review the notes on additional costs below.

For Oak cabinets, which Colorwheel usually does a grain reduction step:

  • Smaller kitchens typically start at $3000 and are often done for less than $3700 (roughly up to 25 doors & drawers combined).
  • The average size kitchen will cost between $4500 and $5500… a range that can encompass an island (approximately 35 to 40 doors and drawers combined).
  • Larger kitchens are typically $6000 to $7000 or more (with a combination of roughly 45 to 55 doors and drawers).   Larger kitchens more often have other cost factors.

Remember, these are averages.  Please review the notes on additional costs below.

Other Cost Factors

  1.  Color selected, as some require extra coats
  2.  Sanding of door edges to ensure fit
  3.  Grain filling on OAK, which is an extra process Colorwheel offers to help with OAK specifically
  4.  Artistic endeavors such as distressing, glazing, striping, or high gloss finishes
  5.  Repairs to surfaces
  6.  Changing hardware locations or styles, from one-hole to two, or from two to one, or the size of the spacing
  7.  Handling hardware that is difficult to remove, for example soft brass screws, stripped screws, flatheads, etc.,
  8.  Painting of shelves
  9.  Painting of open box systems, or the boxes behind glass doors
  10.  Glass doors themselves
  11.  Corbels, moldings, decorative trim pieces, etc.
  12.  Islands
  13.  Number of colors being used
  14.  Crown molding
  15.  Profile complexity, staggered height boxes, etc.
How Does Your Cost Compare with Others?

Painting services have a wide range of cost from provider to provider.  And Colorwheel’s prices are very competitive with other QUALIFIED and SKILLED cabinet painters.  Of course, defining what qualified and skilled mean may mean a lot more to us than it does to you…. So, we’ll even give you competitor names, because frankly, we want you to choose the best fit for you.

Generally, we are on the higher end of prices people receive because they haven’t really called true competitors.  Be wary, a low price should scare you!  Like it or not, this is capitalism.  Lower prices may mean you’ve found:

  • an exterior painting company that’s trying to stay busy in the winter or on rain days
  • a job that is sold off to a subcontractor at a rock bottom price, meaning unqualified workers
  • someone who doesn’t really know what they’re doing
  • spraying in your garage, basement, or never even taking the doors off
  • inferior process and or thin to minimal coats of product
  • inferior product, like soft trim paint, or brittle chemicals
  • no warranty or one full of loop holes

Colorwheel will provide a HIGHLY DETAILED proposal that documents process and product.  Our warranty is also outstanding!

How does the cost compare to new cabinets?

In comparison to getting new cabinets, the cost is roughly 1/3 or better.  While it’s easy to look at the cabinet cost only, please remember that if you replace cabinets, there’s also:

  • a counter top to remove
  • a counter top to reinstall or have the new one purchased/installed
  • a plumber to do a disconnect of water lines
  • a plumber to do a reconnect of water lines, faucet, etc.
  • disposal costs or arrangements
  • a kitchen that is unusable for 2 to 6 months and as a result, more cost eating out or changing your cooking habits
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 do I know if my cabinets can be painted, or if it’s worth painting them?

If you like:

  • the profile of the cabinets
  • the layout of the cabinets

And the surfaces are:

  • generally in good shape
  • and in working condition

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?

The grain reduction process Colorwheel uses will drastically reduce and nearly eliminate the pitting and deep channels in the grain.  However, the swirl pattern of oak will be present to some degree.  Once you see our samples, you can decide if this is the right project for you!

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, it’s true.  Lesser price means shortcuts, plain and simple.  If we could do it for less, we would!   We’re not trying to get rich off any one project, business just doesn’t work that way.  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?

Colorwheel has tried and tested many of the products on the market.  More than you can imagine!   As a result, we’ve found a select set of paints (not known to most) that offer an incredible ability to self-level, spray smoothly, and provide a beautiful appearance with lasting durability!  Without these great products, we couldn’t offer the warranty that we do.

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

Our Process

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