The Best Kind of Paint for Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen Improvement Resources

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Phew! Painting with oil-based paints is hard to clean up and can make you dizzy with its noxious fumes. But oil paints also dry harder than latex, providing a more durable finish for trim, molding, and kitchen cabinets. All of these are reasons I was excited about using a new, waterborne alkyd when we painted our kitchen cabinets.

We used Benjamin Moore's Advance, but there are similar products on the market from Sherwin Williams and Behr. What is special about these paints is that they go on like an oil paint (smooth flow and leveling), have the low VOCs of many latexes, and clean up like latex (with just soap and water instead of paint thinner or mineral spirits).

I just finished painting a set of bookcases with Advance, which is what reminded me to tell you about my experience with it in my kitchen last year. I painted over existing primed melamine upper cabinet doors and couldn't be happier. The finish has held up over the long run and wipes down nicely. This is compared to the latex I used on our lower cabinets, which has chipped where there's heavy use and simply doesn't clean up as well.

The one drawback is that waterborne alkyds can tend toward the pricer side of things. But my reasoning is that you'll be so happy with the outcome that it will be worth it when you don't have to repaint a few years down the road. Also, it provides a more professional-looking finish than latex, allowing you to DIY and save on the labor cost of hiring painters.

If you're interested in checking out waterborne alkyds for yourself, here are the big three currently available. If you've used one in the kitchen (or elsewhere) I'd love to hear about your experiences.

(Image credits: Benjamin Moore)

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