Kitchen cabinets get a lot of wear and tear from daily use and frequent washing. You need paint that can withstand years of handling without chipping, peeling, or fading. Continue reading this in-depth guide to learn the lowdown on the best paint for cabinets.
The Best Paint for Cabinets: Our Top Picks
Overall Best Paint for Cabinets
Heirloom Traditions Paint
Best Budget Paint for Cabinets
Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Multi-Purpose Paint
Best Custom Color Paint for Cabinets
The Overall Best Paint for Cabinets
Heirloom Traditions paint for cabinets is the perfect choice for almost any DIY project. This paint is soaring in popularity due to its durability, versatility, and low cost.
Heirloom Traditions offers the coverage and durability of oil paint without the mess and odor. It is a chalk-type paint that provides primer, paint, and top coat in one package.
Chalk paint is different from chalkboard paint, which is used to turn any surface into a functional chalkboard. Instead, the name comes from the process of adding chalk powder to latex paint to improve its durability and hardness once cured.
Heirloom Traditions Paint makes it easy to achieve smooth coverage on any surface. There’s no need for sanding or priming, and the self-leveling paint eliminates imperfections. This makes it a great choice for inexperienced painters concerned about leaving brush lines.
- Provides superior coverage
- This is an all-in-one primer, paint, and top-coat
- It is easy to clean up with soap and water
- Limited, but growing, color selection
- It is only available in a velvet sheen
The Best Budget Paint for Cabinets
If you are working on a large-scale renovation, you likely want to save money where you can. Rust-Oleum provides DIYers with reliable paint at an accessible price point.
Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch is a versatile and inexpensive paint for cabinets, furniture, and more. It is available in many colors and sheens to get the right look for your home.
This paint offers great coverage for the price. You can also benefit from easy-to-use spray cans for a finish free of brush lines.
Rust-Oleum is best for surfaces that can dry horizontally to prevent drips. Remove your cabinet doors and lay them flat for the best results.
- Available in spray cans
- This is an inexpensive option for painting cabinets
- It is available in many colors and sheens
- The coverage is not as even as the more expensive options
- This paint has a strong and unpleasant odor until dry
The Best Custom Color Paint for Cabinets
Building your dream kitchen comes with a few challenges when you have the perfect image you want to bring into reality. Finding the right color and finish requires extensive research and comparison shopping.
Jolie Paint makes finding the best paint for cabinets in any color a breeze. They provide over 300 premixed colors and custom color matching for any hue you cannot find elsewhere.
Jolie Paint is another chalk-type paint that gives you the luxurious coverage of oil-based paint with easy cleanup and no VOCs.
- Provides the best coverage on cabinets and furniture
- You can get any color with custom color matching
- This paint is easy to clean up with soap and water
- This option is on the expensive side
- Only available in a matte sheen
The Best Selling Paint for Cabinets
Finding paint with great coverage and durability doesn’t need to be a struggle. If you are still on the fence about choosing the best paint for cabinets, you should try the brand trusted by millions.
Benjamin Moore Advance is a top-of-the-line waterborne alkyd interior paint. This option is available in over 3,500 colors in satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss sheens.
Waterborne alkyd is a popular paint for cabinets due to its durable finish. It resists chipping and peeling better than most other water-based options.
One drawback to using waterborne alkyd paint like Benjamin Moore Advance is yellowing over time. This is less noticeable with dark colors, but it can be an issue with white and light-colored cabinets.
- Offers over 3,500 colors
- This paint provides excellent coverage
- Water-based alkyd paint is very durable once cured
- Waterborne alkyd paint tends to yellow after a few years
- This paint is not self-leveling and shows brush lines
Cabinet Paint Buyer’s Guide
How do you decide on the best paint for cabinets in your renovation project? You need to consider many factors, so don’t skimp on the planning phase!
The following buyer’s guide will start you in the right direction for finding the best paint for cabinets.
Paint comes in many types, each with unique benefits and drawbacks. You must weigh these factors when choosing the best paint for cabinets.
Historically, oil-based paint has been the go-to for cabinets and frequently used furniture. This type of paint cures to a hard finish that resists damage. However, oil paint is difficult to clean up and has high VOCs.
Latex and acrylic paints are much easier to work with and clean. The main drawback to these options is the lower durability, as they tend to chip and peel more easily.
The best paint for cabinets today combines oil’s durability with the easy application of water-based paints. The most popular cabinet paints include chalk and waterborne alkyd formulas.
Chalk-type paint includes powdered chalk, which dries to a hard finish. Waterborne alkyd paint is an emulsified mixture of oil- and water-based, giving you the best of both options.
The sheen of paint for cabinets impacts the visibility of fingerprints and dirt. It also determines how easy it is to wash your finished cabinets.
Which paint sheen should you use on cabinets? It is best to use a semi-gloss or satin sheen to minimize smudges while keeping the surface easy to clean.
Other sheens like velvet and gloss are acceptable paint for cabinets.
Avoid using a matte sheen (unless you add a finishing wax or varnish) or high-gloss sheens. These are harder to wash and more readily show fingerprints, respectively.
Sometimes buying the cheapest paint ends up costing more in the long run. The best paint for cabinets should provide great coverage with only two coats.
Cheap cabinet paint might require four or more coats to get even coloring. This means you will need to buy twice as much paint, negating any upfront savings.
If you are painting a custom kitchen, you might need some unique colors to perfectly accent the room. Not all paint brands can accurately match the right colors for your project.
You can approximate the desired tint by poring through available swatches. Still, this might not cut it if the resulting color clashes. If you want an exact match, consider trying Jolie Paint’s Custom Color Matching.
Cabinet Painting Tips & Tricks
No matter which paint you use, the following tips will enable you to get better coverage and color that lasts.
Preparation is crucial for getting the best results when painting. Most critical issues like peeling and flaking are due to poor adhesion at the base layer.
Dirt, dust, oil, and grime prevent paint from clinging to surfaces. You can avoid these issues by thoroughly sanding, washing, and drying your cabinets before painting.
Another important step is applying a base coat of primer. Primer protects your cabinets from mold and moisture and improves paint coverage and adhesion.
You can tint most primers to bring them closer to your paint color choice. This is especially beneficial when using a darker color that may show lighter streaks.
How do you avoid leaving visible brush lines? This is one of the most common questions we hear about paint for cabinets. While the paint you use has an impact, this mainly comes down to the application method.
Paint brushes tend to leave lines on smooth surfaces, and this can be hard to avoid. Instead of using a brush on your cabinets, consider an alternative applicator.
Our favorite way to apply paint for cabinets is with a foam paint roller. This will help you apply even coats and minimize drips and lines.
You can also use a paint sprayer to achieve great coverage. This option can be pretty messy for indoor use, so make sure you have plenty of drop sheets handy.
Time Between Coats
You likely know that paint needs to dry between each coat. This is essential to avoid sagging, peeling, and damaging base layers.
Some paint types require more time between coats than others. This curing time can range anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours.
Ensure you read and follow the instructions on the specific paint for cabinets that you are using. This will help you get better coverage and long-lasting durability.
A thorough sanding before you start painting is pretty straightforward. You want to remove old paint and boost coverage by roughing up the surface.
Did you know that you should also lightly sand between coats? Use an extra fine sanding sponge and a clean cloth to buff out imperfections and improve adhesion for each layer.
After the last coat of paint dries, you might be tempted to call the job done. However, if you want the best results, you need to apply a top coat.
A top coat keeps paint from fading and seals the surface, protecting it from moisture and grime. This provides longer-lasting color and makes it easy to keep your cabinets clean.
The best top coat for your project depends on which paint you use. If you apply chalk-type paint to cabinets, you should use special finishing wax. Have a look at our chalk paint wax guide to learn more.
Other options include clear lacquer and varnish top coats. These create hard shells that resist damage, but they may be prone to yellowing over time.
Should you seal cabinets after painting?
Yes; you should always seal kitchen cabinets after the final coat of paint dries.
The best paint for cabinets should include a top coat built-in to the formula. Even with this all-in-one solution, you should consider adding a separate sealant.
Are you on a tight budget? If you want to save money by not sealing all of your cabinets, you might end up repainting more often than you would like. Ensure you seal cabinets near your sink and stove to prevent moisture damage.
What causes painted cabinets to peel?
Insufficient surface preparation is generally the culprit for peeling and flaking paint. Paint doesn’t adhere well to unclean surfaces and tends to flake off with dirt.
Even though the cabinets might look clean, thin films of dust and oil are enough to prevent proper adhesion. Ensure you thoroughly sand, wash, and dry your cabinets before priming and painting.
Choosing the Best Paint for Cabinets
After reading this guide, you should feel confident choosing the best paint for cabinets.
Do you want to learn more about getting professional results in your DIY home improvement painting projects? If so, explore our painting furniture hub to read more in-depth articles.