Spraying Cabinet Doors Vertically vs Laying Flat: Which One's Better?

Updated on September 15, 2019
Matt G. profile image

Matt is a professional painter and freelance writer, sharing his knowledge, house-painting tips, and product reviews.

Should You Spray Paint Cabinet Doors Laying Flat, or Hang Them?

When spraying cabinet doors with paint, you'll have to decide whether to hang the doors vertically to spray them, or lay the doors down flat. The way you decide to store the painted doors is also an important consideration that determines how long your project will take to finish.

The way cabinet doors are typically sprayed, using the hanging method, is to screw small hooks into the edge of the door and hook the door onto a swiveling coat hanger attached to a horizontal pole. This can be a pole fastened on top of two step ladders, or a hanging rack constructed out of PVC piping.

My Preferred Spray Method for Painting Cabinet Doors

I paint cabinets on a monthly basis and spray all of my cabinet doors horizontally, two sides at a time, using a special spray rack designed for this purpose. I store painted doors on the matching drying rack too. These racks were a game changer for me, in terms of time saved, and I highly recommend them if you paint cabinets. I'll explain more about my cabinet painting equipment at the end of this article.

There are pros and cons to spraying doors vertically versus laying them down flat, but spraying and storing doors horizontally is what works best for me. I'll explain what I like about spraying doors flat instead of hanging them up.

Fixing Paint Spits

Nothing is more annoying than a sudden tip clog blasting a glob of paint onto a cabinet door you're spraying. Paint spits ruin the finish, but fixing them is easy when spraying horizontally. Simply make another pass with the spray gun to build up the paint thickness and level out the imperfection. When spraying a door vertically, you can't build up the paint coating without getting runs. The only fix is to wait for the paint to dry, wet sand, and spray the door again.

Paint Runs

Getting paint runs is almost impossible when spraying cabinet doors laying flat. It is possible to get paint runs on the door edges, but you'd have to spray awfully heavy for that to happen. With gravity working against you, you're far more likely to get paint runs with the hanging method, especially when using leveling enamel, or paint with added conditioner. Fixing paint runs isn't fun. When spraying flat, I don't have to worry about it. I spray the doors, store them on my drying rack, and I'm done.

Drilling Holes

When using hooks to hang the doors for spray painting, you have to drill pilot holes into the door edge for the hooks. The holes are usually drilled into the edge of the door that won't be visible after installation (top edge of upper doors and bottom edge of base cabinets). I've never liked the idea of drilling holes into my customers cabinets, risking the wood splitting.

The Door Won't Stay in Place

I've spray painted cabinet doors using the coat hanger method and the door tends to slightly rotate from the pressure of the spray gun. To stabilize the door, I'd have to hold the edge of the door with one hand and spray with the other hand, resulting in over-spray on my hand and arm. When spraying a door laying flat, the door stays in place while spraying.

Painting Grainy Wood

I paint a lot of oak cabinets. I really like spraying doors flat because I can spray primer a little heavier to fill the annoying grain of oak. I fill the grain before priming and painting, but some deeper cracks need a little more primer to fill in all the way. When you spray doors vertically, the primer doesn't fill the grain as effectively as with doors being sprayed lying down. You can't spray the primer heavier on hanging doors, or you'll end up with runs.

Freshly painted cabinet doors on my drying racks. The special design allows both sides to be painted at one time.
Freshly painted cabinet doors on my drying racks. The special design allows both sides to be painted at one time.

The Racks I Use for Painting and Storing Cabinet Doors

Hanging cabinet doors for spray painting isn't a terrible method, but for me, there are more negatives than positives. Many people use both methods, but the biggest mistake folks make when spraying doors flat is not using the right equipment for the job, especially if you have a painting business.

When I first started painting cabinets, I'd spray one side of the door the first day, allow the paint to dry overnight, and paint the other side the next day. Don't paint cabinets that way or you're going to add multiple days of labor to your project.

The way I paint and store all of my cabinet doors is with the Door Rack Painter racks. I first used their stationary spray rack that you space apart to the length of the door, but now I use their rotating spray rack and it's awesome. I clamp the rack onto my work table and spin doors around for easier spraying with less fatigue.

Basically, the way the spray rack works is the curved bars that hold the door are designed to make minimal contact with the painted surface, allowing you to flip the wet side over and spray it, instead of waiting until the next day for the paint to dry. The drying rack is equipped with the same design for storing the wet side down.

Along with the spray rack, I own three of the drying racks, each holding seventeen doors, allowing me to take on any cabinet job without having to worry about running out of storage space.

Using these racks is the way to go if you want to save major time painting cabinets. Stacking doors on drying racks condenses everything into one area, saving work space, and you won't have to worry about paint runs, or drilling holes into door edges.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

  • How do you prevent halo effect while spraying sides?

    I'm not sure what you mean by 'halo effect', but if your concern is overspray going onto the wet front or reverse side of the door when spraying the sides, this won't have any effect on the finish if you spray everything in sequence without waiting. I spray the bottom, flip the door over on my rack I mentioned in the article, spray the front, followed by the sides. The sides of the door have the same finish as the rest of the door. Everything dries in a uniform finish.

© 2019 Matt G.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, dengarden.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)