What Is the Best Paint to Use for Kitchen Cabinets?

How to Make Your Kitchen Paint Project Stick

There is nothing that can quite update the look of your home as much as a kitchen remodel. However, you don’t need to rip out everything and start from scratch. Repainting the walls and kitchen cabinets can completely change the look of the room for only a small price.

The key is to use the right paint and to properly prepare the walls and cabinets properly before slapping on the paint. In this post, we will explain how to do that and discuss the best paints for kitchen cabinets and walls.

What Is the Best Paint to Use for Kitchen Cabinets?

Do I need to use special paint for kitchen cabinets?

The kitchen is an area of the house where you are likely to have a problem with humidity and condensation. Unless your kitchen is purely for show, you want a paint that can repel moisture. Check out our paint products page for great options. A semi-gloss finish is your best bet here.

How do you prep kitchen cabinets for painting?

That will depend on what materials make up the cabinets.

Veneer is not a good surface to repaint. No matter how well you prep the surface, the paint is not going to adhere well. Chalk paint can be used over a veneer with a relatively good success rate. You’ll need to:

  • Make sure to clean the surface well
  • Mask off the hinges and handles. Or, if possible, remove the handles and set them aside
  • Paint it
  • Apply several layers of wax over the top to create a watertight finish

Wooden surfaces can be redone relatively smoothly with great results. You do, however, need to put in a bit of effort here in priming the surface properly before painting. The process is:

  • Clean the surfaces well. TSP does a great job of degreasing and cleaning the surface
  • Take out any drawers. It’s a good idea to label them so that you know where they go
  • Mask off the hinges and handles, or remove them
  • Now fill in any holes or imperfections with a wood filler, then smooth and leave to dry
  • Sand all the surfaces to be painted
  • Wipe down the surface with a damp cloth to remove any dust and allow to dry
  • Apply the correct primer and allow to dry. A helpful hint is to get the primer tinted the same colour as the paint if possible. This allows for a richer finish at the end
  • Now you can apply the paint using even coats

Can I paint my kitchen cabinets without sanding?

If the underlying paint is still in very good condition, you could skip the sanding. We recommend sanding the wood, though, and applying primer for the best finish. It will mean a bit of extra work initially, but the finish will be better and last longer.

If you are going to skip sanding, you must make sure that the surfaces are very clean before applying the new coat of paint. Chalk paint can be applied without first priming the surface or sanding. This may seem like a great time-saver, but you’ll need to put on a few coats of the wax and then buff it.


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