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What Kind of Paint Should I Use on Kitchen Cabinets?

Your cabinets are looking tired. In fact, when you finished up cleaning the kitchen last night and turned out the lights, you could have sworn you heard them sigh and say, “Make me pretty again!” Replacing the cabinets may be out of your budget right now, but repainting them is a cost-effective way to make your cabinets look sharp again, restoring life to your tired kitchen.

Read on to learn about how to choose paint for your kitchen cabinets.

First Things First — Is Painting the Right Option?

Before you jump on the repainting bandwagon, make sure your cabinets are good candidates for repainting.

Are they in good condition? Nicks and scrapes are unsightly, but can be repaired in the repainting process. Structural damage, however, is something that will require refacing or replacement.

Sometimes the doors and drawers are too damaged, but the boxes are still in good condition.. In this case, refacing — veneering the cabinet boxes and replacing the doors and drawer fronts, — is the way to go.

But sometimes, the boxes themselves are poorly constructed. Cheap cabinets, with thin backs and sides, broken rails, sagging shelves, and more may be too difficult to repair. In this case, replacement will be necessary.

In addition, laminate cabinets won’t accept paint as well as wooden cabinets.

If you’re only dealing with chipped paint and aesthetic damage on wooden cabinets, repainting is a good decision.

Choose a Primer

Avoid all-in-one primer and paint products, and take the extra step to prime your cabinets (after thoroughly prepping them, of course). A water-soluble waterborne paint, like Benjamin Moore’s Advance, is a good choice to prime your cabinets to help the paint adhere.

Choose Oil or Latex

Weigh the pros and cons of oil and latex as you make your paint choice:

  • Latex dries quickly and cleans up easily

  • Oil paints tend to leave you with a firmer and smoother surface

  • Oil paints don’t dry as fast

  • Latex paints take longer to cure completely, leaving them susceptible to damage in the meantime

Both paints will give you a good finish, so it often comes down to preference. If you hire someone to paint your cabinets, they will have a type of paint they prefer to use.

Choose a Finish

In a kitchen, durability is critical. You’ll have spills, splashes, and grimy fingers assaulting your cabinet’s paint every day. Choose a finish that is easily wipeable. A hard finish will be your best bet — choose semigloss, gloss, or satin. But avoid matte or eggshell.

picture of white painted cabinets

Spray or Brush?

Spray-on finishes leave you with the smoothest results, but they tend to be harder to DIY, especially if you don’t have the right equipment. A brush may leave brush marks, so it’s best to use it on the least visible places. However, a high-quality 2- to 2-1/2-inch fine bristle brush could help you get a more seamless look.

Often, it’s a good idea to remove doors and drawers and spray them elsewhere, re-installing them once they are completely dry. And remember — rollers definitely leave marks. Avoid them at all costs.

At New Life Painting, we can help you transform any part of your kitchen, including your kitchen cabinets. Give us a call at (805) 937-9836, or contact us online for a free estimate.

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