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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Painting cabinets is one of the best ways to redo an outdated kitchen without spending a lot of money.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.

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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.