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Best Kitchen Cabinet Paint From Sherwin Williams

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Matt is a professional painter who owns and operates his own painting business, specializing in interior and exterior house painting.

The type of paint you use on your cabinets can make all the difference.

The type of paint you use on your cabinets can make all the difference.

What Is the Best Paint for Kitchen Cabinets?

Painting cabinets is one of the best ways to redo an outdated kitchen without spending a lot of money. Cabinet painting, although time-consuming, is a relatively easy job that any able-bodied homeowner can do themselves.

One of the most important parts of a cabinet painting job, besides the preparation, is shopping for quality paint. Buying paint for a basic one-day wall painting job is one thing, but for a tedious cabinet painting project, it pays to use durable paint that's going to make your kitchen look its best.

Sherwin Williams sells an assortment of primer and paints that work well for cabinet painting. Sherwin Williams is also a little less expensive than Benjamin Moore, and their premium paints provide the same quality.

PrepRite ProBlock Oil-Based Primer

After cleaning and thoroughly sanding kitchen cabinets, it is really important to apply a quality primer undercoat. Primer seals the sanded cabinet wood, block stains, and forms a tacky surface that bonds well with the new topcoat of paint.

One primer that I have used for years is ProBlock from Sherwin Williams, but buy the oil-based version, not latex. The primer does smell horrible, but it will give you the durability and stain-blocking performance necessary for a cabinet paint job.

In case there isn't a Sherwin Williams store where you live, buy oil-based Kilz instead. Kilz is also an excellent primer to use for kitchen cabinets and it's sold at Home Depot and most hardware stores.

Sherwin Williams ProClassic Acrylic Enamel

First, you must decide if you're going to use enamel oil-based paint or latex paint for the cabinets. There are pros and cons to each. Oil-based enamel dries very hard, and it's the most durable; however, white oil paint tends to yellow over time. Applying oil-based paint is also a little tricky if you don't have any experience painting. The paint also smells awful, and it's harder to clean up.

Oil-based enamel paint is great for kitchen cabinets, but a durable latex enamel is fine too. Latex enamel paints aren't quite as strong as their oil-based counterpart, but strong enough for the average kitchen and pleasant to work with. Some latex enamel paints, such as ProClassic, are designed to mimic the rich and shiny appearance of oil enamel.

ProClassic latex enamel from Sherwin Williams is a good paint for kitchen cabinets and trim, however, if you don't have any experience painting, I don't recommend this paint because it's a little tricky to apply because it dries fast. However, you can slow down the dry time by adding Floetrol paint conditioner. If you apply ProClassic correctly, it looks amazing on kitchen cabinets.

It isn't cheap, but you get what you pay for. If you buy this paint, I recommend spraying it, instead of applying it by hand, because the sprayed finish looks so much better. It does self-level, so if you use a good brush and roller technique, and avoid over-applying the paint, it will look fine. Use only a foam roller to mimic the sprayed look.

Sherwin Williams SuperPaint Acrylic Semi-Gloss

SuperPaint is a step down from ProClassic, but it is a premium paint that works well on cabinets, trim and walls. SuperPaint isn't overly expensive, and it's a lot easier to work with than ProClassic because it doesn't dry as fast and it provides better coverage over darker colored cabinets that have been primed.

SuperPaint is sold as an all-in-one paint and primer, but for kitchen cabinets, an oil-based primer is still necessary before applying the paint. I recommend using ProBlock oil primer, or Kilz, followed by two coats of SuperPaint, using a 2" brush to cut-in the edges and a foam roller to achieve a stipple-free finish on the cabinet doors.

I recommend painting cabinets in a semi-gloss SuperPaint finish, not flat or satin. Semi-gloss looks best on cabinets and provides a smooth surface that's much easier for cleaning dirt and fingerprints. SuperPaint is not an enamel-like ProClassic, but with a basecoat of oil-based primer, the paint finish won't rub off or damage easily.

The two paints mentioned in this article are the paints I would use for a cabinet painting project. Sherwin Williams sells an array of paints that could be used on cabinets, but these two paints in particular are the most durable and receive the best ratings.

There are also zero VOC paints as well, such as Harmony and Duration Home, which are good for walls, but I'm not sure how durable these paints would be on kitchen cabinets.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: If I use semi-gloss Pro Classic, do I still have to apply polyurethane to seal the paint?

Answer: My local Sherwin Williams advised against top coating Pro Classic with polyurethane. What I recommend for cabinets is Emerald Urethane semi-gloss (modified acrylic paint), over Pro Classic acrylic, for increased durability. My article is a little outdated (2016). For cabinet painting, I now use Emerald urethane paint because it dries harder and it's more washable. When sprayed, or brushed, it also levels really well like Pro Classic. There's no need to top coat Emerald urethane with sealer as the paint is already formulated with urethane. I've started using this product on my cabinet jobs, and I've been very pleased with the results.

Question: I have well-maintained wood cabinets and wanted to paint them white. The contractor deglossed them, put 3 layers of primer (Sherwin Williams) and then sprayed ProMar 200 semi-gloss and it's coming out yellowish. What can I do?

Answer: The contractor likely didn't know what he was doing and used the wrong primer (latex). That's why the paint looks yellow. The surface wasn't sealed and allowed wood tannin and oils to bleed into the paint. The second problem is he should have never used ProMar 200 paint on your cabinets. This paint isn't durable, and it's a poor choice for cabinets. The cabinets should have been cleaned and sanded too before primer. You should remove the ProMar 200 paint and primer, clean, sand, prime with an oil primer and paint with a durable product like Emerald urethane.

Question: Does self-leveling paint aid in hiding the grain?

Answer: No, not really. Self leveling paint will fill some of the small cracks and holes in the grain as it lays out, but grain filler should be used first if you want to reduce visible grain.

Question: Can I use water and dish detergent to clean my kitchen cabinets?

Answer: No, I would only use warm water, wiping gently with a soft microfiber cloth. Dish detergent may de-gloss the finish, unless you dilute it more with water.

Question: How many gallons of paint will I need to paint a 10x10 kitchen?

Answer: One gallon should be plenty to paint your kitchen walls if that's what you're asking. The paint needed for cabinets depends on the number of doors. I usually buy two to three gallons of paint for cabinet doors.

Question: Do you recommend a semi-gloss or satin finish for kitchen cabinets?

Answer: I recommend a semi-gloss finish for cabinets. It will be easier to clean than satin.

Question: I too had my contractor use Promar200 sprayed on my Kitchen cabinets - I now see runs of paint and coffee stains - what should I use to cover the coffee stains and how do I get rid of the paint runs?

Answer: If you're seeing 'coffee stains' in the paint that's actually tannin bleed-through, which means either the cabinets weren't primed, or the wrong primer was used. Promar 200 is terrible paint to use on cabinets. The contractor should have known better and used the right product on your cabinets. The best solution at this point is to strip your cabinets down to bare wood and start over with the right process and paint. Strip the cabinets, clean, sand, caulk, fill grain if needed, prime two coats with BIN shellac primer, or oil primer, and paint two coats of high-quality paint.

Question: Is new Emerald and bonding primer good for painting kitchen cabinets?

Answer: Yes, I actually use Emerald urethane for cabinet painting. The article is old and was published when I was still using Pro Classic. I use BIN primer for cabinet painting. I've used their Extreme Bonding primer on walls if that's what you're referring to.

Question: I just painted my cabinets with proclassic acrylic latex semigloss, but I want a stronger finish. Can I paint Emerald Urethane directly over the proclassic acrylic?

Answer: I would scuff sand the Pro Classic paint, prime with a bonding primer first, and then apply Emerald urethane.

Question: Is shellac a decent primer or would you recommend the Sherwin primer instead?

Answer: If you're referring to Zinsser BIN (white-pigmented shellac primer) then yes, it's a good choice for priming cabinets, or you can use the white shellac primer from Sherwin Williams, which is basically the same thing. This primer seals the surface of the wood and dries hard. Oil-based primer is less expensive too and also a good choice for priming cabinets.

Question: I like to use SW lacquer based primer sealer on kitchen cabinets. Can Pro Classic latex by used as a top coat over the white lacquer primer sealer?

Answer: No. You'd want to either use an oil-based primer under the ProClassic latex, or catalyzed lacquer as your top caots, if you use the lacquer primer.

Question: I've recently dived into the cabinet painting world. I have used the Sherwin Williams proclassic in the past and then read your article about the emerald urethane trim enamel. I'm going to try it on my next job. Do you still recommend using the Sherwin-Williams extreme Bond primer?

Answer: No, not for priming unpainted cabinets. For painting unpainted cabinets, oil-based primer, or white pigmented shellac primer (BIN), is best. Extreme bonding primer is okay on cabinets though if they're already painted.

Question: I am allergic to enamel paint. What would you recommend for kitchen cabinets?

Answer: You might want to consider PPG Breakthrough. I don't think it's enamel, but I could be wrong. I also haven't personally used this product, but I've been told it's a very good product for cabinet painting.

Question: My SW rep indicates that the Delta on an important color match formula (Peace Yellow #2857) is too large making replication of the color too dicey and recommends Duration or Emerald interior acrylic latex for the perfect match. I plan to scuff sand and prime with SW Extreme Bond Primer. Topcoats would be satin or semi-gloss. Any thoughts on Duration vs Emerald vs something else?

Answer: Duration is good. I've never used Emerald.

Question: What's the best primer & paint for MDF cabinets?

Answer: BIN primer will seal MDF and provide a good bond for your paint. There are lots of good paints, but I use Emerald urethane enamel on cabinets now. The paint dries hard and levels out nice for spraying.

Question: People have recommended a kilz latex primer for my kitchen cabinets. What are the differences and is it ok to use latex?

Answer: No, I would not use latex primer to prime kitchen cabinets. The primer is too soft and it won't seal the surface to stop tannin bleed. Use the oil-based Kilz primer, Cover Stain, or shellac primer (BIN). All three dry a lot harder than latex primer and seal wood cabinets to prevent bleed-through in your topcoats of paint.

Question: What is zero VOC?

Answer: Volatile Organic Compounds.

Question: I'm re-painting some older (1976) wood cabinets that the homeowner has twice painted with latex semigloss. Lots of drips, runs and heavy brush marks. I plan to sand to an acceptably smooth finish (not down to wood), then prime and paint. My local Sherwin-Williams store is recommending their Premium Wall & Wood Primer then their ProClassic Waterbased Acrylic-Alkyd. Your thoughts?

Answer: Yes, your plan for prep is good. I would clean the cabinets first with something like Dirtex powder cleaner and then sand out the drips with a finer grit if possible. Try 320-grit, or 220-grit, to prevent leaving surface scratches. If the existing paint isn't oil-based, you might try wet sanding the drips and runs with a detailing sponge soaked in warm water. This prevents airborne dust. As long as you don't sand down to the bare wood, the Premium Wall and Wood Primer would be fine, or Extreme Bond Primer. Both are latex. For paint, I tested the hybrid (acrylic alkyd) Pro Classic enamel with my airless sprayer and micro bubbles formed and dried in the finish. I don't know if this will happen from brushing and rolling, but there are complaints about the bubbles too on the Sherwin Williams website. Same thing with Emerald urethane enamel. I used that product a lot and then I started having similar problems so I went back to using the regular Pro Classic acrylic without any issues. I would use Pro Classic acrylic on your cabinets. The finish hardens pretty good after a week and it's washable. I've used that product for over twenty years without any callbacks.

Question: I purchased the SW prep rite pro block but accidentally got the latex not realizing that it came in both oil and latex. Now I have cleaned, sanded, and primed my kitchen cabinets and doors with the latex paint. Should I remove all the latex paint and start over for the best results?

Answer: The problem with that latex primer is it doesn't seal in wood tannin so you're likely to have problems with bleed-through if you painted oak cabinets or cherry. Latex primer is too soft and rubbery to be used as a base coat on cabinets. I would probably remove everything and start over with the right primer. This is a lot of work, but the end result will be better.

Question: I'm going to paint a wooden bathroom cabinet to update it. Do I need to sand off the paint before repainting my cabinet or can I just use a deglosser?

Answer: I'm wary of using chemical de-glosser as a substitute for sanding. I've tried various de-glossing agents in the past and none of the products I used were as effective as sanding. Sanding roughs up the surface and lets the primer and paint grip the wood better. Sanding also smooths out surface imperfections and removes residue that your cleaner could have left behind. I recommend sanding the cabinets before priming and painting them, using a finer grit of 220 to dull the surface. You can go with a coarser grit if needed (180/150), but going too coarse will damage the wood and round out corners.

Question: I'm painting my kitchen cabinets and after some research and reading various tutorials, started by lightly sanding, deglossing and using bullseye oil based primer. The tutorial I read used BM advanced (which I've brushed on older cabinets & it worked very well) and then the author used polycyclic on top. Now in reading some other blogs, I've read that using oil-based primer can make white cabinets yellow. Is this true?

Answer: Yes, oil-based coatings turn yellow over time. That might not be a problem with a darker color, but the yellowing is noticeable when using white cabinet paint. This can become a problem too down the road if you try to touch up the paint, but the color's yellowed. I'm not sure oil-based primer would yellow much through your water-based paint, but oil-based paint does yellow over time. Using a clear coat can also change the color of your white paint too because the clear coat itself is its own color when it dries. Most people are using acrylic enamel, or a hybrid (acrylic alkyd) on cabinets, to avoid yellowing and the nasty fumes. If you want an alternative to oil-based primer, use BIN white shellac primer. It seals the surface like oil and dries hard.

© 2012 Matt G.


Matt G. (author) from United States on June 17, 2020:

It sounds like the paint hasn't cured yet. Temps and humidity play a role in this, as well as thickness of the coating. If it's applied too thick it's going to take longer to cure and harden. You didn't mention the paint color, or if the shellac primer was tinted. Tinted paint takes longer to cure. The colorant slows down the drying time. Also, if the primer was tinted this could be the problem too. Shellac primer cannot be tinted with more than 2 ounces of colorant. I would leave it alone for now and allow the enamel to harden.

CapeBretonNS on June 15, 2020:


I decided to paint some dated pine cabinets. After much research I decided to use SW Emerald Enamel. After weeks of prep work which included:

Deglosser/Washing with new dawn soap -removing dirt

Sanding – getting close to grain – slightly more than just “scuffed” up using 120 Grit

Used Shellac Primer – due to stopping knots from showing through and alleged tannins – 2 coats and sanded between both coats using 250 grit

2 coats of SW and sanded between first and 2nd coat with 300 grit

• Ensured I waited 24 hours between coats

• painted in proper relative humidity Used a mohair roller – with brush for corners

• Allowed cupboards to Cure for 3 weeks before I hung them up

• As I was hanging them up and attaching the hardware paint chipped away from the cupboard doors as soon as they made contact with wall all around the edges-the white primer is shining through

The cupboards look beautiful – just cannot touch them

So …I have no idea what to do other than burn them – I have no idea where my process went wrong? I can’t even start over because I don’t know what to change in the process – I wonder if it is the paint is just not suitable for wood ??

I have painted random items in my house with cheap paint – no primer /no scuffing no cleaning and the paint stayed on a lot better than this …

My only plan i believe is to sand all down again and use chalk paint as i hadn't had issues with sealed chalk paint i used on a bathroom cabinet -just heard chalk paint not really durable for a kitchen

Matt G. (author) from United States on June 08, 2020:

If water-based Kilz primer was used it didn't seal the surface, so when you applied the paint it raised the wood grain. That's likely why it feels rough. Oil primer, or white shellac primer (BIN), seals the surface for paint and it won't raise the grain. If water-based Kilz was used you can either strip it off and start over, or prime over it with the right primer. I'd lean towards removing it. If you didn't use water-based primer then I have no idea why that would happen. It could possibly be contamination from the stripper, but I don't know.

S West on June 08, 2020:

Painting kitchen cabinets that were stained/varnished. We stripped the cabinet doors completely, primed with 2 coats of Kills primer, Applied Valspar semi-gloss Cabinet paint in white. Once the surface dried, it has tiny rough specks over the entire surface and doesn’t have a smooth look. If we rub our hand across it it feels like tiny pieces of sand (kind of hard to describe). The primed surface was very smooth and we cleaned each cabinet door of any sanded dust before applying the cabinet paint. Now we don’t know what to do. Any advice?

Matt G. (author) from United States on March 28, 2020:

Thanks Maggie.

Maggie on March 28, 2020:

Thanks Matt

I really appreciate your advice. This is a big job and after reading too many tutorials from people who have only done it once - I am going with your recommendations.

I'll let you know how it turns out :)

Matt G. (author) from United States on March 28, 2020:


Don't use Zinsser 123 primer on your cabinets. It's water-based and won't stop bleed-through. Use oil-based primer. I like Zinsser Cover Stain. Kilz oil primer works good too, or Pro Block from Sherwin Williams.

TSP cleans good, but you have to carefully rinse to avoid fish eye problems. I use Dirtex, the powder version in the box. This cleaner works great as a paint prep cleaner without leaving heavy residue on the surface.

You should always sand, but you don't want to sand your oak cabinets too aggressively, or down to the bare wood. Even if you do though, the oil-based primer will prevent bleed-through.

Sanding is done to take off the gloss finish and help the primer stick better. Sand with 220-grit. An orbital sander works best.

Use a good paint brush with soft bristles to lay off the paint smoothly. The Purdy XL series brushes are good, but there are good brushes from other brands.

Foam rollers and microfiber rollers will give you a smooth finish on your cabinets, but if I had to choose between the two, I would use a 4-inch microfiber roller with a 1/4-inch nap. Use a wider roller for the panel parts to reduce overlapping. The 1/4-inch roller nap combined with a good leveling enamel will give you a smooth finish.

Maggie on March 26, 2020:

We are looking to paint our ugly yellowy oak cabinets white. They are approximately about 20 years old and still in really good condition.

Here are my questions to you:

1. I purchased the SW Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel and Zinsser 123 Primer. Should I go with a different primer?

2. I also purchased the TSP to clean the doors but was also wondering about another step and or product called Goo Gone. Is this overkill? It claims you don't need to sand and preps the wood.?

3. Also some people say I shouldn't sand the cabinets as the stain may bleed through. I have read too many tutorials for and against and I am leaning to sanding them. What do you think?

4. I will likely be using a paint brush and a roller. Any tips or trick or things to watch out for. (I don't want my husband to think he can spray them as it is likely trickier than it looks)

Thanks for your help!!

Matt G. (author) from United States on March 24, 2020:

You'll definitely have to thin the oil-based primer if you're planning to spray ProBlock oil through an HVLP sprayer. Oil primer is really thick. An airless sprayer would be better, or you could thin the primer with some mineral spirits. You'll probably also have to thin the Emerald urethane too if you use the HVLP. Thin with extender, or a littte water. The enamel is thick, but an airless sprayer will spray it fine. For dry time, oil primer dries a little slow. It depends on how thick you spray it and air temperature. It would be best to prime everything in one day and let that dry overnight, then scuff sand the next day and spray a second coat. The recoat time on the Emerald enamel is 4 hours, but like primer, I'll usually allow the paint to dry overnight before starting the next coat. When you spray doors flat too, it takes longer for the primer and paint to dry, depending on the thickness of the coating. If it's cold in the room, it will take longer to dry. Oil primer is removed from your spray equipment by flushing mineral spirits through the sprayer. You would use water for water-based coatings.

Frank D on March 24, 2020:

Great Article. Spot on with the information we needed to confirm the products we were going with. Interesting enough we went to get the Oil based ProBlock from Sherwin Williams, and the rep tried to talk us into water based, without even asking us the application or wood type. Said Oil base was overkill. Hence I appreciate you article to reinforce my original thoughts, go oil base,. We built our own cabinets for 5 rooms in the house (Have 70+ cabinets to paint so definitely going with a sprayer, to make sure we finish sometime this decade. We even built a few extra carcasas to do test runs on to give us some practice before starting on the completed work. With that said, would like you advice on two points. 1) is thinning needed with the problock oil based primer and Emerald Urethane Trim enamel when using the HomeRight SuperMax HVLP Sprayer? 2) How do you clean these systems - what chemicals, process, and how quickly after starting to you start the process? E.g. If you finish painting a room of cabinets and are going to wait 8 hours before applying the second coat (Do you need to wait 8 hours?), so you clean the equipment immediately, so wait until the second coat is complete 8 hours later?

Matt G. (author) from United States on March 20, 2020:

The Pro Classic waterborne acrylic enamel is what I use.

Tom Pierce on March 20, 2020:

You sated " I went back to using the regular Pro Classic acrylic without any issues. I would use Pro Classic acrylic on your cabinets." Are you recommending the ProClassic Interior Waterbased Acrylic-Alkyd or the ProClassic Waterborne Interior Acrylic Enamel? Thanks again!

Matt G. (author) from United States on November 19, 2019:

Use oil-based primer when you prep and repaint the island cabinets. Latex Kilz primer isn't a good choice for priming cabinets. It dries too soft and doesn't form a hard bond like oil does. Dark paint colors are harder to maintain when used on cabinets, especially an island. The paint can also take longer to cure and harden due to the excessive colorants in the paint. If you plan to clean the island cabinets a lot, you might consider top coating them with a protective clear coat. For paint, you didn't mention if you used the regular Emerald acrylic, or the urethane version. Emerald urethane is the better choice for cabinets. It dries harder. I recently sprayed a set of cherry cabinets white with Pro Industrial Multi Surface Acrylic from Sherwin Williams. The paint dries fast and hard. The finish is washable.

CTG77 on November 18, 2019:

When we wanted to remove / cover the stain on our kitchen cabinets, we stripped, sanded, primed (Kilz latex), and painted with SW Emerald in a bright white. When my wife decided a few years later she wanted to do a navy blue on the island, we sanded / covered with Behr Marquee. That paint has not stuck at all to the sanded SW Emerald, and is still soft months later. Next week, we are going to redo the sanding / stripping process to get it back to as close to bare wood as possible. Can you recommend what we should do to get a hard surface on a kitchen island in a very high traffic area?

Matt G. (author) from United States on May 24, 2019:


I haven't used the product you're referring to. I used Pro Classic (acrylic) semi-gloss for many years, but now I use Emerald urethane for cabinets and trim. I've been very satisfied with this product. It levels and sprays really nice.

Matt G. (author) from United States on May 24, 2019:


I painted cabinets with a brush and roller for many years before switching over to spraying. You can make cabinets look nice painting them with a good leveling paint, microfiber roller, or foam roller, and a quality brush, but spraying them definitely looks better (I spray paint cabinets year round).

Brushing and rolling cabinets is also extremely time consuming. Spraying saves a couple days of work minimum.

A good airless sprayer (Graco/Titan), or HVLP set up, can be rented for cheap from paint stores and equipment rental shops. The masking materials are also inexpensive. All you need is the 3m hand masker, painter's tape and plastic. For the superior finish you get from spraying, and the amount of time saved, the initial investment of masking materials and low cost of a sprayer rental is well worth it.

Edward hutchison on May 23, 2019:

I do love the pro classic and used it for many years now. However I'm now trying the pro industrial waterborne alkyd urethane. I've heard good things about it. Do you think it's a mistake. I used it once before and like the workability and flow. Satin Finish came out real nice. Your thoughts

Dave on May 23, 2019:

I agree that pretty classic is amazing on cabinets. I don't think recommending spraying to homeowners looking for a diy task, though. It's a huge cost to incur between getting a sprayer that can lay it on well and the masking materials. That said, I've had jobs where I've had to brush it the boxes in place, and the self levelling makes it come out as good as sprayed.

I can't stress enough how much a good brush will help diy-ers out. Don't spend 70 per gallon on paint and get a 50c chip brush.

Also, if recommend micro fiber rollers with any smooth surface. They're literally designed to give the best finish on smooth surface. Even better than foam, and they hold more paint.

Matt G. (author) from United States on April 10, 2019:

I would spray the primer. If you're painting oak cabinets though you should apply one to two coats of grain filler first.

Kathy on April 10, 2019:

Hi - am about to paint wood kitchen cabinets. I am planning to use ProBlock oil based primer and then Emerald Urethane semi-gloss. I have every intention of spraying the Emarald Urethane. My question is should I spray the oil based primer or use the brush/roller technique?

Carol girolami on March 06, 2019:

We gave had our cabinets painted with sherwin Williams emerald urethan trim enamel in satin. If I wanted to change to semi gloss would they have to be sanded again or just painted over the existing satin finish

Matt G. (author) from United States on November 19, 2018:


Thanks for the comment. This article is actually quite old. I use Emerald urethane on all of my cabinet jobs. I spray everything. Before switching to Emerald, I used Pro Classic for years, with good results, but I really like Emerald urethane even better, so far. It looks best when sprayed. The paint dries harder after a week or so.

Linda on November 19, 2018:

My husband and I painted our kitchen cabinets this summer with Emerald urethane ,,,it was awesome..we cleaned and washed them..then very little sanding only in areas that were needed. We gave them two coats and wish I could post a picture as we have had so many compliments. We used the "dollop of vanilla" which they look white but not white white., It blended in with our counter top perfect..

Matt G. (author) from United States on September 24, 2018:


Emerald urethane enamel is pretty good if you paint the table top. I've been using that product on my cabinet jobs with success. It dries pretty hard. You could top coat it with poly for added durability. But for maximum durability you might consider pigmented lacquer. You can get it from Sherwin Williams. It's their Sherwood product line.

Laurie on September 24, 2018:

Trying to figure out what is best for a table top. I am doing white table legs, chairs and bench legs. Looking at grey top for table and benches. Could use different products of SW. I was already planning to use oil base primer as you suggested. I pan to spray. I have done lots of furniture painting in the past. Every time I do the formulas seem to change. Thank for your time.

Matt G. (author) from United States on March 03, 2018:

Oil-based primer is fine. I've never had a problem with yellowing.

Amanda on March 02, 2018:

I have heard that oil based paints can yellow over time as you mentioned as well. Is this also true of an oil based primer with laytex enamel paint on top? It sounds like the oil based primer is the best but my concern is that over time it will come through the laytex paint and cause our white cabinets to yellow.

Matt G. (author) from United States on November 08, 2017:


Check out my other article about painting oak cabinets:

The article explains how to prep and paint them. Even if your cabinets aren't oak, the prep is mostly the same, but if they are oak, you will need to use a grain filler before painting. Pro Classic is an enamel available as an acrylic latex or alkyd. The acrylic option is fine for your cabinets. That's the only one I ever use. You definitely want to use an oil primer. I use the shellac primer BIN when I spray cabinet doors.

Suzanne on November 07, 2017:

I am going to paint my kitchen cabinets. They are a stained wood with a protective coating over the top. How should I prep? Should I strip and sand down to the natural wood? or would a deglosser and light sanding do? I plan on using an oil based primer and proclassic enamel paint. Also what is the difference between ProClassic Acrylic Latex and ProClassic Acrylic Enamel?

Matt G. (author) from United States on September 15, 2017:

Oil based primer seals the surface of cabinets so tannin inside the wood doesn't bleed into the top coats of paint. Latex primer does not seal cabinets well and you will end up with a poor finish. Kilz oil primer is okay, but BIN or Cover Stain are better options. You can apply Pro Classic acrylic enamel and any other acrylic latex paint over oil based primer. I recommend Pro Classic acrylic for the cabinets, especially when spraying them. The paint levels out great and is very durable. If you want to remove the primer and paint that the painter started, you can either sand it off or use a chemical stripper and start over. If the cabinets happen to be oak, you can follow these oak cabinet painting tips.

Mary Hanby on September 14, 2017:

Why is it okay to use an oil based primer and then paint over it with SW Pro Classic Acrylic Enamel? I thought you weren't suppose to put latex over an oil base. I'm confused. I have bought the Pro Classic to redo cabinets of painter we hired. They were doing such a horrible job using oil based paint, we had to stop them. I was going to sand, clean, prep with a latex primer and then use the SW Pro Classic, but you think it would be not just okay but better and longer lasting to use an oil primer before using the Pro Classic Acrylic Enamel? The painters were painting over very dark stain solid wood cabinets. So I am left with a mixture of some with no primer, some with Kikz oil primer and oil based S W Super Paint.

Matt G. (author) from United States on August 19, 2017:

I would lightly sand the frames, prime with an oil primer sealer, and spray with two coats of SW Pro Classic acrylic enamel. I have used SW All Surface Enamel before and didn't experience the problem you're having so I'm not sure why the surface was tacky, but if you oil prime and paint with Pro Classic you'll be able to handle the frames the following day without any issues.

Shane Miller on August 16, 2017:


Great information...! I have a question. I am making large wood picture frames 37" x 48". Building first and then painting. I'm using SW all surface Enamel Latex. I spray. Problem is its very tacky, for weeks after; which means I can not ship them. They show finger prints, and stick to everything. I either am painting too thick and not drying between coats properly; or something else. But its making me think I should just go for oil based. I would like to paint and then within 5 to 7 days be able to handle the frames. Any thought? Thanks in advance.