What is the Best Paint for Kitchen Cabinets

What is the Best Paint for Kitchen Cabinets 1I am often asked by my friends and clients alike “What is the best paint for kitchen cabinets?”. Well, depending on the project this question can have a few different answers.

If you came here for my opinion on which paint brand has the best paint for kitchen cabinets, I will give you my opinion at the end of the article. There is definitely a winner!

Before we get started here are a couple definitions for terms that I will be using:

  • Enamel: A hard, durable paint. Mainly used on cabinets, trim, doors and windows.
  • Water Based Paint: A paint that is water soluble (latex).
  • Oil Based Paint: A paint that is oil soluble (alkyd).

For the Do It Yourself Homeowner

The best of the best paint for kitchen cabinets for a DIY project is a bit different than it would be for a cabinet finisher like myself. There are two options for a DIY project.

Water Based Enamels VS. Oil Based Enamels

Water based enamels may be the best paint for kitchen cabinets for you if you value low VOC and easy cleanup. If you value durability and final appearance, then oil based enamels may be the best paint for kitchen cabinets for you. Both water and oil based enamels can be brushed on with typical equipment from any paint store.

The Pros of Water Based Enamels:

  • Water based enamels are easier to clean up than oils, your equipment can be washed clean in your sink or your tub.
  • It is also easier to get off any surface that you may accidentally get it on.
  • Waters tend to have lower VOC content (chemical mixtures that evaporate into the air and are bad for you).
  • Faster dry times.

The downside to water based enamels are:

  • They do not have as rich of a finished look as oils or lacquers.
  • They are less durable than oil based enamels.

The Pro’s of Oil Based Enamels:

  • More durability than water based enamels.
  • Brush strokes tend to lay down and disappear better due to slower dry times.
  • Richer finished look than water based enamel.

The Cons of Oil Based Enamels:

  • Oils have higher VOC content.
  • Oils are significantly harder to clean up. You will need to buy 1-2 gallons of paint thinner for cleanup and you will have to dispose of leftover thinner properly.

Both water based enamels and oil based enamels can be made to look fantastic and each have their pros and cons. If you are looking for the best paint for kitchen cabinets, it boils down to what you value most. Hopefully now you are better prepared to make your decision.

As far as my personal opinion as to who sells the best paint for kitchen cabinets, it is hands down Satin Impervo from Benjamin Moore. Satin Impervo has a beautiful finish that no other enamel can match. As far as the worst enamel, Pro Classic from Sherwin Williams. This enamel will look like you just painted your cabinets with a wall paint, you will be disappointed.

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