How to Pick Kitchen Cabinet Paint


Repainting the cabinets is an economical way to revitalize a kitchen. Selecting the appropriate paint, however, can be a little tricky. You'll want a paint that covers evenly without creating visible brush-strokes. It should withstand frequent cleaning, but it should not emit chemicals that can get into stored food items or onto dishes and drinking glasses.

  • Select a water-based bonding primer. These types of primers cover and seal existing stains and help your top coat adhere to a previous high-gloss or enamel finish, even when your cabinets have hard-to-remove grease marks. Water-based primers emit less odor and contain a lower level of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, than oil-based primers, which is important when painting in food preparation areas.

  • Look for an environmentally safe paint that qualifies as low-odor, low-emission or low-VOC. Conventional paints can emit fumes into the air that may affect the flavor of foods stored and prepared in the kitchen. One indication that a paint is environmentally safe is a green logo on the paint's label from an independent certification agency such as Green Seal, Greenguard Environmental Health Institute or Scientific Certification Systems.

  • Choose a 100-percent acrylic latex paint. Properly applied, these paints go on smoothly and are less likely to reveal your brush strokes after the finish has dried. A premium acrylic latex paint will cost a bit more, but the colors offer greater fade resistance, and the paint will not yellow or crack as it ages.

  • Select a scrubbable glossy or semi-gloss sheen for easy maintenance. This allows you to easily wash off any dirt, grease or sticky hand prints without damaging the paint surface.

Tips & Warnings

  • Apply paint to your cabinets using an airless sprayer or a high-quality china bristle brush, for best results.
  • Avoid using alklyd or oil paints. While they were once the popular choice for kitchen cabinets, these coatings are high in VOCs and tend to yellow over time.

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