Unlike the other household rooms, it’s likely that most of your kitchen’s wall space comprises cabinetry. Usually, that includes drawers lining the floor and cabinets hovering right above them. Because of this setup, any aesthetic and functional issues with your existing cabinet system may make you reach for a kitchen remodel, but what if all your cabinets need is a quick paint job? 

In that case, the next question would be around what paint is recommended for kitchen cabinets. The paint type you use is just as crucial as your preferred color scheme since it determines how the paint holds up over the years and the adhesion of the immediate laydown. 

Fairmont Kitchen Center, one of the top kitchen remodelers in Fairmont, WV, explains more about primer and paint for your kitchen cabinet doors below.

What Primer Should You Use Before Laying Down Cabinet Paint?

Even the best paint type won’t offer much without the appropriate primer, whether or not it’s for kitchen cabinets. Since no two cabinet types are the same, the paint texture and hue will look different in each setting, especially since paint sinks into materials differently. If you’re not aware of this, you might feel cheated when the final paint color doesn’t match the kitchen cabinet paint brand’s gorgeous label!

A quality primer creates a uniform surface, bonding chemically and mechanically to the surface so that paint goes on smoothly. Still, some primers are better for certain cabinetry than others, so how can you tell which is appropriate? 

Experts like Fairmont Kitchen Center suggest the following primer types during kitchen planning, grouped by cabinet materials:

  • MDF and particle boards: These contain wood resin and will absorb water if you don’t seal them. Solvent-based primers are best.
  • Plywood and other engineered wood: These soak up water effortlessly into the thin wood veneer layers. Oil-based primers will create a more even and smooth look.
  • Natural wood: These materials have porous wood particles, requiring a much thicker primer without a water base. Oil-based, latex or shellac primers would be ideal.
  • Melamine and laminate: With laminate’s pressed wood and melamine combination, the boards tend to peel and chip. The best way to adhere the paint to the cabinet is with a water-based acrylic urethane primer.
  • Metal: The biggest issue with metal cabinets is they’re prone to rust. A rust-protecting base primer will stop future corrosion. It may also lay over minor existing rust spots without causing bumps or discoloration.

What Are the Ideal Paints for Cabinet Refinishing?

So, beyond primers, what paint is recommended for kitchen cabinets? How can you find the best options for corresponding recommended cabinet paints to sit well over your chosen primer? You’ll certainly want to prevent streaks and discoloration during the painting job, as well as eventual peeling and chipping that erode the paint’s potential lifespan.

Before delving into the paint types, one of the biggest painting kitchen cabinet tips is that cabinet paints are better than traditional wall paints—they have a higher resin makeup. The texture is more dirt- and grease-proof in high-touch areas, so consider the following cabinet paint types:

Acrylic-Based Latex Paints

Typical acrylic-based latex paints comprise more binder, which means it not only lays down well but the finish ends up harder and more durable than traditional wall paint. It’s also one of the best choices for cabinet painting because it’s easier to wipe with splatters and other messes. These paints pair well with oil-based primers. 

Oil-Based Paints

Oil-based paint is one of the top choices for cabinet painting if you want an even harder bind and the most durable choice out there. Still, many worry about these paints releasing volatile organic compounds in the kitchen around food. They also have a longer dry time and are more difficult to clean, though they flawlessly cover a latex-bonding or oil-based primer. 

Water-Based Alkyd Paints

Arguably, the best paint for kitchen cabinets would be water-based paints, which rival the durability of oil-based paints with an oil and acrylic hybrid composition. Unlike the oil-based versions, water-based paints don’t have the accompanying VOC content. They’re also an especially popular choice all-round for: 

  • Color vibrancy
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Longevity

The Center for Design Excellence and Beautifully Painted Kitchen Cabinets

For over 45 years, Fairmont Kitchen Center has offered superb results on all types of home renovations, big and small. Whether you wonder what paint is recommended for kitchen cabinets or want a kitchen cabinet color trends guide, you can trust our specialists. Call (304) 933-5662 to get a quote today!