Blog Painted cabinets perfect finish

Published on February 23rd, 2016 | by Grant Barnard

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What Kind Of Paint To Use For Painting Cabinets

Primers For Cabinet Painting

Primers can be the most important part. We usually use primers even know that the paint we use advertises that you shouldn’t need a primer. Primers will give a better uniform finish and allow for a more durable and lasting finish. However a primer that wont actually perform could compromise the durability of your cabinet painting job.

  • Oil(or Alkyd) primers will block the yellow tannin oils from bleeding through and causing yellow staining on the finish coat. However they are inherently soft with great bonding. So although oil primers make the process easier they also allow for easy damage from fingernails or rings around the hardware where the door is opened. Smooth cabinets with no grain will not usually bleed through any stains other than food stains.
  • Water-based primers will dry to a harder film than any alkyd primer will. However the water based primers also don’t block stains as much. If you are using a very light color, you are best to apply two coats of primer.
  • Shellac or BIN primer is an alcohol based primer that blocks and bonds VERY well. However the drawbacks are that BIN primer will run very easily, the smell is horrible, and its not water or heat tolerant so it will not work well around the stove and especially the dishwasher area.

All The Information You’ll Find On The Internet – AND The Fallacies

Many things are said on the internet. A good friend of mine always says… “Don’t believe EVERYTHING you read on the internet. The first piece of information that you’ll find is that you should be using an oil or “alkyd” topcoat paint to level out best on your kitchen cabinets. Although this WAS true, today a good oil based topcoat is very hard to find and will also be very high in VOC’s. Lower VOC and lower sheen oil paints are generally alkyd and these are the greener option of oil based paints. All oil based paints lack in flexibility which is needed for cabinet painting and they also will yellow in sunlight and heat, so expect for the area around your oven to yellow and become very brittle in years to come.




Waterborne alkyd trim paints are “The Best Of Both Worlds”. Yes, this is true, however they have their drawbacks too. The major issue is that they will still yellow under heat. They say that it wont but they are talking about sunlight, heat WILL still yellow this paint. If you are a DIY cabinet painter planning to brush and roll then you need to consider this option. Waterborne alkyd paints do dry very hard but they take a LONG time to do this. One of fastest drying with early “dry to touch” properties is Sherwin Williams ProClassic Acrylic-Alkyd version however Sherwin suggests the regular ProClassic version as the finish look is incomparable when applied by just about anybody. However there are others that might pique your interest like Benjamin Moore’s Advance. The Benjamin Moore product will dry harder be be slightly more difficult to apply, this is due to the fact that BM Advance uses a colorant that cures with the paint and neither of Sherwin, PPG or Valspar use that technology. All other cabinet paints will be pretty much not worth using in our opinion.



What Cabinet Paint Do We Use

We have tested EVERY paint system that could ever be thought of. We use a mixture of these based on our experience of which cabinets have which challenges. This is enough information to write a book so we cannot include every bit of it. For the best results hire a professional kitchen cabinet painting company. If you are in the Indianapolis Area consider hiring us, Grants Painting, to do your cabinet painting project.


About the Author

Grant Barnard started painting in 2000 and started Grants Painting in 2008. Originally doing business in northern Indiana, the business was moved to Indianapolis and Greenwood shortly after. Today the Grants Painting has blossomed into a reputable painting contracting company with an ever growing extensive website including our How To DIY Articles. Grants Painting covers all aspects of coatings and specialized in epoxy flooring, interior painting, exterior painting and cabinet painting.



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