There are hundreds of different paint options on the market, from water based to oil based and many in between. Using the right paint for your cabinet painting project is essential for longevity. As professionals, our team sees cabinet painting jobs gone wrong daily.
Starting out with the right paint is an important step. Many professional finishing companies and cabinet shops spray the cabinets with lacquer. These finishes are fast drying and super smooth. However, most need to be sprayed and require a lot of skill for application. If you’re a DIYer, you’re better off staying away from lacquers.
Using a traditional latex paint for cabinets is another big mistake. Semi-gloss or gloss latex paint does not dry hard enough and will get sticky in the areas that are touched frequently and tends to scratch off easily.
High quality oil-based enamel dries very hard and holds up great in high traffic areas. But for DIYers, using them can be tricky. Oil-based enamel has a strong smell, takes a long time to dry and can be difficult to brush.
The Right Paint for Cabinets
Water-based urethane enamels are the way to go. These urethane products clean up with water, dry very hard like an oil-based paint, are easy to work with and low odor.
Benjamin Moore Insl-X Cabinet Coat is a top product and it’s available in satin and semi-gloss. Another great option is Benjamin Moore Command – available in satin and gloss. Benjamin Moore Advance also works well for cabinets; available in matte, satin, semi-gloss, and high gloss. Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel – available in satin, semi-gloss, and gloss is another option.
Recommended Tips for Using These Products
For cabinets, our team uses Insl-X Cabinet Coat in satin for most jobs. It’s very smooth when applied correctly, cures quickly, and is very hard within five days regardless of the color. Cabinet Coat dries fast, so a tip for DIYers, move quickly when brushing and don’t brush or roll back into the paint once it starts to dry.
Command is rock hard within 24 hours and can even be used on floors. Again, Command dries fast so keep moving.
Advance is more user friendly as it takes longer to dry between coats. Its cure time is also longer.
Sherwin Williams Emerald is easy for most people to work with. However, be careful. Dark colors will stay sticky for a long time. Light colors/whites will be pretty hard in about 24 hours whereas dark colors remain soft for 30 to 45 days. Be careful not to stack freshly painted doors, otherwise they will stick together!
Have a cabinet painting project but afraid to DIY?