The Best Type Of Paint For Your Kitchen Cabinets, According To An Expert

Whether you're upgrading your home for a prospective buyer, or simply beautifying it for your own enjoyment, the kitchen is often the place to start. However, a full kitchen remodel can be extremely expensive. The costliest component of a kitchen makeover is the cabinets, according to Bankrate, so the last thing you want to do is skimp on the paint or use the wrong type for them. In an exclusive interview with House Digest, Damon Lee, the owner of On A Roll Painting, offers expert advice on several primer and paint options available to homeowners who are redoing their kitchen cabinets. He emphasizes, "This isn't an item where you want to spend less; you don't need to purchase a lot of paint so spend money on good products."

Lee's number one rule is to use products that will be compatible. "I recommend using a primer and paint from the same manufacturer — the products will always work together." Using merchandise from different companies is an invitation to trouble, and as the painting expert warns, "There is a chance they won't play well together."

Benjamin Moore Scuff-X

The kitchen is used by everyone, and kitchen cabinets are not exempt from excessive use. Damon Lee recommends Benjamin Moore Scuff-X as it is "a water-based paint that is designed for high-traffic areas." He says it is ideal for kitchen cabinets, particularly those made of wood. Lee adds, "It has become our paint of choice for wood surfaces." Scuff-X dries quickly with a smooth finish that is also hard, and it sells for around $87 per gallon depending on the finish (via Creative Paint). According to Lee, "It is a low-odor, low-VOC [volatile organic compound] paint," so only a very small amount of chemicals will evaporate into the air. The expert continues, "It is available in different levels of sheen. We prefer satin or semi-gloss for cabinets."

If he is painting a wood surface with Benjamin Moore Scuff-X, Lee's go-to primer is that same company's Stix. The two products pair well, he says, and he also points out that "Scuff-X is easy to clean and maintain, making it a great choice for busy households."

Benjamin Moore Advance

According to Lee, another great painting option suitable for kitchen cabinets is Benjamin Moore Advance, however, it takes longer to dry than Scuff-X. "We use this when the faster drying time of Scuff-X isn't required," he says. Like Scuff-X, Advance is a water-based paint that gives off a minimum of odor and it won't compromise indoor air quality by emitting excessive VOCs. Best of all, Lee notes that the paint is "specially designed to have a smooth and hard finish that is highly resistant to scratches, stains, and heat." Those qualities are top priorities for kitchen cabinets, especially those hung in the vicinity of the stove.

Painting with Benjamin Moore Advance does require a certain amount of patience and sufficient time to complete the project. Damon Lee asserts, "You need to wait 16 hours between coats of paint, so keep in mind if you plan on doing multiple coats, you'll need to allow time for Advance to cure."

The best options offered by Sherwin-Williams

The painting pro says that, just like Benjamin Moore's Scuff-X and Advance, "Sherwin-Williams also has good options for kitchen cabinets." Lee gives a thumb's up to the company's ProClassic Interior Acrylic Latex Enamel and ProEnamel Interior Acrylic Latex paints, which he says "are also designed for high-traffic areas and offer excellent durability and resistance to scratches, stains, and heat." The list price on the Sherwin-Williams site for a gallon of ProClassic Interior Enamel is $89.99.

Since many homeowners cook regularly, the best type of paint for your kitchen cabinets is one that can survive the heat and constant activity of daily meal prep. "Nothing will be able to withstand all scratches or chips, but these products give you a very durable finish," emphasizes Lee, adding that it'll be easy to maintain clean cabinets painted with these Sherwin-Williams products. Given the potential for discoloration from cooking, that's definitely a bonus.