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What Is the Best Paint To Use on Kitchen Cabinets?

kitchen cabinet painter What Is the Best Paint To Use on Kitchen Cabinets?

If you're thinking about kitchen cabinet painting (and who could blame you?), it can be easy to focus on details like color, style, hardware upgrades, etc. Those are fun considerations!

But before you can get to the finish line, you need to make sure you're making the best possible choices along the way, setting your cabinet project up for success. Painting kitchen cabinets can be an awesome investment if it's done right, delivering tangible value right along with that fresh style.

Let's break it down with a few key questions about the products and process we use for kitchen cabinet painting.

Do You Need Special Paint for Kitchen Cabinets?

In short, yes. Most of the horror stories you hear about cabinet painting gone wrong are due to well-intentioned do-it-yourselfers buying a color they like off the shelf, but not really considering if it's the right type of paint for their cabinets. The wrong paint ruins the whole process.

Your cabinet paint needs to be beautiful, but it also needs to be a durable finish that can stand up to heavy use, washing, and more. Many of the standard paint products from your local home improvement store aren't designed for that - even the "premium" brands.

What Do Professionals Use To Paint Cabinets?

What is the best paint to use on kitchen cabinets? What Is the Best Paint To Use on Kitchen Cabinets?

Our first recommendation is to find a painter who is deeply experienced with painting cabinets, and doesn't just offer it as a side service. How can you tell the difference? Ask for photos of their past work, see if they can provide referrals, and ask questions about what they will use to paint your cabinet doors, cabinet frames, drawer fronts, etc. A professional cabinet painter can answer the tough questions without hesitation, using the opportunity to share details about their process and approach.

Trust us: that's the kind of pro you want handling your kitchen makeover!

With that said, different cabinet refinishers will have different products that they stand by: Sherwin Williams, Benjamin Moore, Kelly Moore... Each offers specific cabinet colors and cabinet finishes that they like to use.

Here at MB Jessee Painting, we typically use Kelly Moore DuraPoxy HP Acrylic Urethane, or Kelly Moore Epic (another enamel cabinet finish).

Kind of a mouthful, right?

Here's a breakdown of the benefits:

  • Fast-drying, with a factory-like finish for the smoothest cabinet doors and drawers (always nice to reduce that cure time!)
  • Ultra-durable (perfect for your hardworking cabinet pieces)
  • Dirt and mildew resistant
  • Hard finish (enamel is TOUGH!)

What Is the Most Durable Paint for Kitchen Cabinets?

The quality of the cabinet paint itself is important, but so is the sheen and the finish. For cabinet painting, it's really tough to beat an enamel paint. Since kitchen cabinets experience such extensive wear, the hard, almost shell-like surface that enamel offers is ideal. It gives your kitchen cabinet that factory-grade finish too, making your new color look like it was there since installation.

As a side note, don't be afraid that you're locked into glossy finishes for your kitchen cabinets either. The products we use are available in several sheens without sacrificing any durability for your paint job.

How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets

Bay Area kitchen cabinet painting What Is the Best Paint To Use on Kitchen Cabinets?

So, what will your kitchen cabinet painting project look like?

Depending on the cabinet refinisher you work with, here's what you can (and should) expect:

  • Thorough in-home estimate
  • Clear proposal
  • Extensive prep of the space (masking, protecting surrounding rooms and surfaces, etc.)
  • Drawer fronts and cabinets doors are removed
  • Deep clean to remove grease, dirt, and residue
  • Light surface repairs, as needed (wood filler, caulking, etc.)
  • Sanding all surfaces, including the cabinet boxes
  • Multi-stage priming and finish coat (we use high-quality spray equipment for an ultra-smooth finish without brush strokes or roller marks)

If you're covering a heavily-grained surface, like Oak cabinets, we can also use a stain blocking primer that ensures there is zero bleed-through. Refinishing cabinets is all about the details, laying the groundwork for a smooth color transition and durable finish.

Kitchen Cabinet Painters in Oakland, CA

Have any more questions about painting cabinets? Contact us at MB Jessee Painting! We would love to discuss your project with you.

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Customer Reviews

“Dear Matt,You must be so proud of your men! They were fantastic to have around. Polite, courteous and hardworking. I am so pleased with the outcome of our home--in fact, I couldn't be any more pleased than I am!”

— Mrs. S
San Leandro

“Today I received a beautiful bouquet from your company. It was totally unexpected and very much appreciated--a lovely surprise. Also today, your crew finished my job. I am so pleased with all their fine work. Richard is absolutely amazing and a total delight to work with. He was also extremely helpful during the paint color process. The interior work in my home far exceeded my expectations. A big thank you to you and the crew for an outstanding job. Thank you, thank you for a terrific job!”

— Barbara

“Just had MB Jessee paint the interior of our house and they did a wonderful job. They tackled some crazy wallpaper as well as painted some very high ceilings and walls. The whole process was quick and they did a great job! We are very pleased. I was also very impressed by the crew. They were very personable, kind and actually took pride in the work they were doing. In one of our conversations with the lead Ricardo, he actually told me he was very proud of how the rooms had turned out. I agree sir! It turned out great and it's not often you hear someone thinking of your home like they would theirs, and putting that level of work and quality into it. That made a huge difference in how I viewed this company. Ricardo, you were fantastic and thank you for the great job, we will be using you again.”

— Jeff M.
Danville, CA

“It was a great experience working with MB Jessee. The crew was careful and thorough as they painted the house, sealed stucco cracks, repaired dry-rotted wood, stained the deck, etc. Robert, Gersson, Jose, and all of the people involved in the process from the estimate to the job completion were friendly and professional.”

— Mike C.
Livermore, CA

“Just wanted to let you know that the crew was great to have around the house for the past two weeks. All three of them were professional, courteous, and attentive to my thoughts/concerns and were extremely knowledgeable. They paid great attention to the detail and it shows.”

— Mark & Roberta Gross

“I can't say enough about how courteous and professional my foreman was. He was on time every morning and arrived cheerful and ready to go. He is highly organized and very thoughtful. He was extremely careful and respectful when moving my belongings - a mature professional.”

— Nora Robinson

“My entire experience with MB Jesse was very professional. The crew were very friendly and super accommodating of my ridiculous schedule and geriatric pets in the house. The finished product, which was pretty much my entire house, far exceeds my expectations. Would definitely work with them again!”

— Heather Jordan

“I cannot imagine finer painters--and I have worked with many. They work exceptionally hard. It is a joy to see their workmanship!”

— Alicia R.

“Edy and crew are hard at work. They are doing a great job. Very professional outfit you have. Your crew is a delight. You may use me for a reference!”

— Heidi B
Walnut Creek

“I love the article in the paper on your company. Thank you for supporting our community by painting at the Claremont Middle School. Thanks!”

— Carla Banks

“Charles finished yesterday and did a fantastic job. We really enjoyed meeting Charles and having him in our home. He is a great guy in addition to his attention to detail in his work, the protection of our floors, walls and furnishings, and his overall interaction with us both. I would be pleased to recommend him to any of my clients.”

— Ken Morrison

“MB Jessee painters are stellar! As a designer I've worked with numerous companies over the years, and MB Jessee is a top-notch firm. From the first phone call to the final clean up, every person is courteous, professional, and hard working. The owner, Matt, is a charitable leader who has instilled his team with integrity and honesty providing the customer with a first class experience at a fair price with a paint job that is guaranteed to last. I highly recommend MB Jessee. Thank you Matt and your STAR crew-Daniel, Rigoberto, Vicente, Edy, Pedro, and Mario, for a job well executed! Cynthia Brian, ASID, Starstyle® Productions, llc”

— Cynthia Brian
Morgan, CA