The ideal paint for your kitchen ultimately depends on your kitchen’s layout and the surface that requires painting. For walls surrounding your sink and range, select a satin, semi-gloss, or high-gloss finish to quickly wipe off any splatters.

paint for kitchen cabinetsThe more shine the finish has, the easier it is to clean. However, it also means that any texture or imperfections underneath will become more apparent. Painting your kitchen cabinets requires special care and technology to bond the paint to wood or laminate. If you’re thinking about updating your kitchen or part of a larger kitchen renovation, be sure to choose the right type of paint.

Kitchen Paint Colors

You don’t need to paint your walls, ceiling, and cabinets white to create a bright and lovely cooking area, no matter what your kitchen layout is. Rather, combine lighter hues with a neutral green, blue, or gray. For example, if you have off-white marble countertops, consider using a gentle sage wall color and gray cabinetry, or create contrast with a dark blue cabinet color and neutral walls.

Ideal Paint Ingredients

When selecting new colors for your kitchen, most people forget the significance of paint and primer quality. Before purchasing a can, take a moment to read about the advantages and disadvantages of various ingredients, including water-based (also known as latex), oil-based, and shellac.

Each of these ingredients has a distinct range of open, drying, and curing times, as well as stickiness and hardness factors that influence how well it will stick to your kitchen walls or cabinets.

Water-Based or Latex Paint

Water-based or latex primers and paints dry quickly, but they don’t adhere well to glossy surfaces. When covering an old layer of oil-based paint, use a bonding primer first, then apply at least two coats of the water-based paint.

Latex Paint Pros:

• Very low odor
• Quick-drying
• Resistant to mildew and mold
• Resistant to fading

Latex Paint Cons:

• They often require multiple coats of paint
• Unsuitable for wood or painting over oil-based paints
• Stains or swelling may become visible
• Less durable than oil-based or shellac.

Oil-Based Paint

One of the major benefits of oil-based paint (AKA alkyd) is that they are more long-lasting than latex paint in damp places like kitchens. However, oil-based paints are being phased out due to the emission of VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Those VOCs are what often give a room that “new paint smell.” If you do indeed choose oil-based paint, be sure to ventilate the room and wear a paint respirator to limit the amount of VOCs you breathe in.

Note: Extended exposure to any and all paint fumes can indeed affect your health in the short-term and long-term.

Oil-Based Paint Pros:

• Oil-based paints are very durable
• Provide excellent coverage
• Ideal for wood and MDF (medium-density fiberboard)
• Excellent at sealing wood

Oil-Based Paint Cons:

• High level of VOCs
• Oil-based paint tends to yellow with age
• The curing time can be quite long
• Brush marks are often quite visible.

For the best results, use oil-based primers with oil-based paints.

Shellac Paint

Shellac primers and paints are ideal for kitchens that receive a lot of foot traffic as they are among the most long-lasting paint options available. The only downside to shellac paint’s durability is that it can be challenging to fix or clean up mistakes. Before attempting a DIY project with any type of shellac paint, ask your local paint supplier for tips and suggestions.

Shellac Paint Pros:

• Excellent durability and adhesion
• Very easy to apply
• Perfect for blocking stains
• You might be able to avoid sanding

Shellac Paint Cons:

• Very difficult to clean up
• Extremely strong odor

Paint Sheen

A paint’s sheen, also known as its finish, describes how shiny or reflective the paint appears when it dries. Common finishes include flat or matte, eggshell, satin, semi-gloss, and high-gloss. Glossy finishes are preferred for busy rooms like kitchens and bathrooms because they are more resistant to moisture and easier to clean.

Satin Paint

A satin finish is by far the most popular type of interior paint as people love its velvety sheen. It is more suitable for high-traffic kitchens compared to matte or eggshell finishes. If your kitchen walls have a textured surface such as skip trowel or splatter knockdown, then this middle-of-the-road choice is perfect for minimizing textures that may date your kitchen and for easier cleanup.

Satin Paint Pros:

• Well known for minimizing unwanted texture and other imperfections
• Relatively easy to clean

Satin Paint Cons:

• It can take longer to dry than other paints

Semi-Gloss Paint

A semi-gloss finish adds a subtle shine to the paint and is highly durable, even in humid environments such as the kitchen. It is also mildew-resistant, making it an ideal choice for kitchen walls and trim, including areas near the range and the island.

Semi-Gloss Paint Pros:

• Very durabile
• Cleaning is easy
• Doesn’t take as long as other paints to dry

Semi-Gloss Paint Cons:

• Imperfections are more easily seen than with other paints

High-Gloss or Glossy paint

High-gloss or enamel finishes are the shiniest and most durable type of paint finish, which can create a luxurious and dramatic effect. This option is best suited for doors, cabinets, trim, and shutters.

However, high-gloss pigments take a long time to cure, and after the finish hardens, it is ready for everyday cleaning. Therefore, it’s perfect for surfaces like kitchen cabinets and kickboards, but not as practical for walls, as it can highlight imperfections and show marks easily.

High-Gloss Paint Pros:

• By far the most durable
• Incredibly easy to clean

High-Gloss Paint Cons:

• Takes quite a while to dry
• Can take a very long time to dry
• Imperfections are not hidden at all

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

When updating your kitchen, one of the most impactful changes is painting or refacing your cabinets. To do this, you’ll need the best paint and primer technology, as well as a few days of work and curing time. Stick to gloss, semi-gloss or satin finishes, as kitchen cabinets see a lot of use and cleaning.

For the best results, you may need several products from the paint aisle of your local home improvement store, including steel wool or sandpaper, primer, paint, and a stain-sealing spray.

Most builder-grade cabinets are made of MDF boards that are layered underneath a sheet of smooth vinyl or laminate. These manufactured sheets are too slick to paint on directly. To prepare them, sand them with steel wool or fine sandpaper before using a highly adhesive transition primer.

Primer helps to prevent your new coat of paint from separating or peeling from the surface. While two-in-one paint-and-primer products can work on a prepared surface, they may not be the best product to paint your cabinets.

If your cabinet doors are made of solid wood, you may also need a stain sealing spray to prevent old stains from bleeding through. Spray products like this are especially helpful if the cabinet door has a beveled panel.

Triangle Painting & Siding Are Kitchen Cabinet Painting Experts

If all of this sounds too daunting of a job and you would like some professional help, Triangle Painting & Siding is here to help. Simply contact us today to get your free quote. We proudly service the entire Research Triangle area, including Raleigh, Cary, Garner, Apex, Wake Forest, Clayton, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Knightdale, Morrisville, Durham and Chapel Hill, NC.