questionswhat's the best paint for kitchen cabinets?


As a professional painter for over 10 years, I can say without a doubt that painting kitchen cabinets is the worst idea ever.

That being said, If they've already been painted, you can't do much more damage, and I would use Kelly-Moore Durapoxy enamel.

If you want the paint to last more than a few months, you've got a big job ahead of you.
Start by sanding all painted surfaces that will be re-painted, or use TSP to wash them (this etches the surface in preparation for new paint).

You may or may not have to prime, but stay away from ANY all-in-one paint with primer in it, they're pretty much all useless.

Try to avoid painting the hinges, your best bet is to remove the doors and paint them (separately from the cabinets themselves) with a fine roller for a smooth finish.


since it's a kitchen, use semigloss or gloss finish, flat or eggshell will be too porous for a kitchen and will allow more buildup of grease and will be more difficult to clean.


As someone who has sold paint for 30 years I can only add one thing to the advice from @kamikazeken: make sure the surface to be painted is clean, meaning free from dirt,rust,grease and oil. Also, Jasco makes a TSP substitute that isn't as harsh as TSP but is a concentrated deglosser(mixed with water). Good luck!


@kamikazeken: Listen to this. Whoever painted the cabinets used a sprayer (I think). Every inch is covered with paint. The hinges, the knobs, even the hoses under the sink which was sprayed. EVERYTHING! Oh he sprayed over contact paper that was on the bottom under the sink! I just need this to last a few years until I can replace the cabinets so it doesn't have to be a completely professional job. I just can't stand looking at this baby poop color anymore.


@kamikazeken: Am washing the faces with vinegar and water, then sanding then using gloss paint.


@minkeygirl7: vinegar and water should work, as long as you scuff them up with sandpaper afterwards. I also suggest not going with a pure white, it shows any and all scuffs, stains, and fingerprints. A slight off-white will cover the old color better and once everything is done being painted, you won't even notice that it's not pure white.

Good luck, I know what a big project it can be, but it ends up being much more economical than all-new cabinets.

If the person doing the work for you isn't a licensed contractor, make sure you don't pay them more than 1/3 or 1/2 up front, the rest upon completion. A simple handyman is often just as competent and professional as a licensed painting contractor, particularly on one-room projects. You just need to be careful that they don't cause any damage and actually do the work they're supposed to.


@kamikazeken: I have kitchen cabinets that have been painted, and am wondering what you'd recommend for paint stripping. They were painted with something that seems to be wearing off, and it looks like there was a previous coat or two of paint. I'd be just as happy to strip them first, rather than redo the kitchen. I like the kitchen, except for the cupboards.

Whatever paint was used would have been the cheapest possible.

The cupboards don't look to be made of anything special, and it would be a waste of time and energy to strip and stain, but I think taking it down a couple of layers would be good.


I painted my old cabinets with a sprayer and they turned out great. For a hand-painted look, I brusthed the last coat of paint on and couldn't have been happier with how they looked.

If you're going to paint them without a roller (it'll go much faster), I recommend using a 4" foam roller. They will have them at Lowe's. I started using those on doors and trim a while back and I can't sing more praises for them.


@capguncowboy: I'm totally ignorant on this stuff: 4" foam roller = 4" side to side, or 4" diameter?


@magic cave: 4" wide. They are only about 1" in diameter so they fit in tight spaces and require less use of a trim brush


@capguncowboy: Great ideas! Didn't know they made foam rollers, I've been using foam brushes for the drawer fronts. How often do you need to change the roller? I have so many windows and sills and jams spraying would be easier (for someone else to do and how it was done in the first place) but I like the idea of using the brush to get the brushed look. I do have some decorative jams and trim around doors and windows that I'd love to take off but that's way to big of a project.


@capguncowboy: Thanks! I've seen those on a lot of home dec shows, and they caught my attention for ease of use, especially since I have arthritis in my shoulders.


@minkeygirl7: they're pretty hardy. Some have lasted a long time and others not. On average most will last for a few sessions on doing trim in a room or two. You could probanly do all the windows and doors in your home with a five pack


Sounds pretty similar to what we found when we moved in to our place a couple years back, everything had been sprayed with an oil based yellow-ish paint. We wanted to get in quick so decided just to paint the cabinets (and the orange tile counter, but that's another story). All we did is a light sanding and 2-3 coats of cheap Walmart white semi-gloss. I have touched them up a couple of times but so far they look pretty good. (the painted tile counter too surprisingly) We have had guests over and they thought we put in new cupboards. At the time I only replaced the knobs and painted over the hinges. A few months ago I got tired of the nasty hinges and replaced them. That made a world of difference. Some of the doors didn't sit right and taking them off allowed me to get them where they wanted to be.
I would recommend prepping like the others have said and with a decent paint and foam roller you should be set. It's a bit more work but new hardware really cleans it up nice.




Hope you'll update us when you are done.


@michaelkriss: Thanks Michael. I too had to move in here quickly so no time to deal with painting. Yesteday I painted 3 drawer fronts (all the paint I had) and it looks nice. I have to get a professional in to do most of this since every door and all the trim is that horrendous color and I just can't do it. I found some new hinges on Amazon so will change those out too. I am not going to really get going on this til the end of May because i have an archway wall that I want to try to take down. I also have to paint all the walls since the kitchen is Khaki, the LR is olive and the master is Navy with khaki and a chair rail in the poop color! Who thought this looked good?


@kamikazeken: "As a professional painter for over 10 years, I can say without a doubt that painting kitchen cabinets is the worst idea ever."

Why so?
I have "builder's ever-favorite oak cabinets" and not only is the finish in need of refreshing, but I can't stand the way it looks. I have been strongly considering going with the Rustoleum Transformations product.
Is your concern that DIYers consistently screw it up or something else?

j5 j5

@j5: Just a heads up if you haven't seen it, Home Depot has 3 colors of that Rust-oleum stuff on sale.


I'm with @kamikazeken -- the best paint is natural wood! Previous owners of my house took a nasty whitewash to all of the solid oak doors, kitchen cabinets, and trim. I can't believe they covered that beautiful wood! It is a ridiculous amount of work to get it off, so we've only done one bedroom door so far.


@bnbsouthworth: I agree, if you have natural wood to begin with. This are crappy cabinets with who knows how many layers of paint. My purpose now is to make them less ugly so I can live with them for now.