Sherwin Williams Pro Classic Paint Review

Updated on April 5, 2019
Matt G. profile image

Matt is a professional painter and freelance writer, sharing his knowledge, house-painting tips, and product reviews.

Pro Classic Acrylic Semi-Gloss Enamel

I have been painting doors, trim and cabinets with Sherwin Williams Pro Classic for over ten years, and in my opinion, Pro Classic is the best paint for cabinets. The paint is available in an acrylic and alkyd formula, as well as a hybrid, acrylic-alkyd option. I have used the alkyd base, but the acrylic version in the semi-gloss finish is what I use the most. I haven't used the hybrid version yet, so I'm unable to comment on performance.

Pro Classic in the semi-gloss finish looks great when sprayed, or applied with a brush and roller, but this product looks best sprayed on. Pro Classic acrylic dries fast. When using a brush, or a roller, the paint must be applied quickly to avoid imperfections caused by contact with curing paint. If you have little experience painting, I definitely recommend practicing on a spare piece of wood first. When this product is applied evenly, at the right thickness, the paint film levels perfectly without sagging.

The alkyd version dries much slower and harder than the acrylic. The main disadvantage is the alkyd paint, in the color white, yellows more than acrylic over time. The yellowing, messy clean-up and slow drying is why I use the acrylic version the most. Acrylic paint clean-up is easy with soap and water. Alkyd clean-up requires mineral spirits (paint thinner).

Self-Leveling Paint

One of the reasons I use Pro Classic for trim and cabinet painting is because it's a self-leveling paint. When the paint is applied it levels over the surface to create an even finish. The leveling reduces visible brush strokes from cutting-in, which is key for cabinet painting. I spray cabinets with Pro Classic semi-gloss, using a fine finish tip, and the doors look brand new after drying overnight on my Door Rack Painter set-up.

Self-leveling paint does sag more easily if you over-apply the material. It is best to practice before spraying. I always spray a light first coat and a heavier second coat. The surface needs to be prepared properly otherwise the paint will not level and bond well, no matter what product is used.

Acrylic Pro Classic On Cabinets

Pro Classic acrylic paint in the semi-gloss finish is all I ever use for cabinet painting. I know fans of Benjamin Moore like Impervo paint. The two paints offer the same self-leveling advantage, but I have never used Impervo.

For spraying cabinet doors, two solid coats of Pro Classic looks amazing. Even foam rolling doors, the paint levels great and dries in a durable finish. The paint dries fast, allowing me to install cabinet doors the following day without any problems.

I also use this product whenever I paint doors, base board and frames. The second coat can be applied in four hours and is dry enough for taping by the end of the day. The second coat dries a lot faster. The alkyd version takes much longer to dry.

Pro Classic Paint Price

Pro Classic paint is not cheap, but you can sign up to receive Sherwin Williams discounts via their website. Sherwin Williams also hold sale events several times per year for as much as 30% to 40% off. It is also possible to open a store account to get a lower price.

As of 2017, Pro Classic in the satin finish is $70.49 per gallon. The semi-gloss finish is $72.49 per gallon. There is also a gloss and high gloss finish. The price increases $2 for each finish. These prices are for acrylic. Pricing will be different for the alkyd and hybrid versions. You definitely get what you pay for when it comes to paint. Cheap paint won't level or provide the same durability as premium paint.

Is Pro Classic Paint Worth It?

For cabinet, trim and furniture painting, it works great for me, especially for spraying. You can spray this product with an airless sprayer or HVLP sprayer. The key is the paint preparation. The surface needs to be cleaned and prepared properly before applying any paint. This paint is not a stain blocker. A separate oil-base primer must be applied over bare wood and stains to prevent bleed-through.

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

  • Would you use ProClassic paint semi-gloss on a fireplace? I’ve been wanting to paint my fireplace white and do not know what to use.

    If you want to paint the fireplace brick, you can use ProClassic, but the brick should be primed with a masonry primer. Sherwin Williams sells a product called Loxon Concrete and Masonry primer. You might also consider using ProClassic water-based acrylic-alkyd (hybrid) instead of the regular acrylic version. The acrylic-alkyd will be a little more durable on the fireplace. Emerald urethane enamel is also very durable, but expensive at full price. I've used that enamel a lot on cabinets. It's a hybrid enamel like the ProClassic option I mentioned.

  • In your opinion which paint is better for trim and doors? Pro Classic in alkyd formula, Emerald Urethane or Benjamin Moore Satin Impervo?

    Emerald urethane, but that's my opinion based on my experience. They're all good paints though.

  • Is it important for the surface being sprayed by Sherwin Williams Pro Classic paint to be laying flat as it is self-leveling? We are painting already assembled cabinet bases.

    I spray my cabinet doors laying flat and store them on my drying racks that way. You won't have to worry about the paint sagging when you spray them flat. When spraying vertically you just have to be a little more careful not to apply the paint too heavy. The paint will self level beautifully with the right amount applied. For durability, I recommend Emerald urethane over Pro Classic. The paint dries harder, and self levels really nice too.

  • In referencing the painting of the library panelin, which primer do you suggest we get use to go along with the Emerald urethane paint? Also, would 220 grit work best to sand these panels down?

    Cover Stain is a good oil primer to use on the paneling. The primer will seal the surface and form a strong bond with the paint. Apply two coats of this primer, lightly sanding in between coats. I wouldn't use 220 grit for the first sanding, it's too fine. This grit is good for sanding in between coats. I would use 150 grit, or 120 grit. Use 220 grit, or a sanding sponge (fine grit ) to sand the first coat of primer. The paint will look much smoother over two coats of sanded primer.

  • Is primer necessary when using Sherwin Williams Pro Classic paint?

    It depends. If you're painting Pro Classic over raw wood, the surface should be primed first. If the substrate is very glossy, it should be sanded and coated with a bonding primer first for maximum adhesion with the paint. The surface might also need a primer if the paint color is much lighter than the existing color.

© 2017 Matt G.


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    • profile image

      James reid 

      2 weeks ago

      Hello, I’m using the SW pro classic after 2 coats of primer SW. after the first coat sprayed with ultra white, I’m seeing yellow coming through on a few cabinet doors. I used aqua coat to fill grain, as well as Drydex which was sanded and primed. Any way to get the yellow bleed to stop coming through?

    • Matt G. profile imageAUTHOR

      Matt G. 

      12 months ago from United States

      You don't have to add any conditioner. The paint levels fine without it.

    • profile image

      David M. Hill 

      12 months ago

      should I add a conditioner to Proclassic for better leveling?

    • Matt G. profile imageAUTHOR

      Matt G. 

      15 months ago from United States

      The store people are salesmen, not painters. You can get a really nice finish on maple cabinets with an airless sprayer using the green Graco fine finish tips and a good leveling paint like Emerald urethane or Pro Classic (Emerald urethane dries harder).

      Spray and store the doors horizontally. An hvlp finish is smooth too, but you need to thin the paint which dilutes it and reduces the gloss. You'll also have to constantly refill the cup when spraying 20 plus cabinet doors, but with an airless you just siphon the paint right out of the can, or bucket.

      I use an airless sprayer for all of my cabinet jobs and get a really nice finish using Emerald urethane.

    • profile image

      Kim Onrait 

      15 months ago

      I am spraying maple cabinets (they were cleared in the past). I was going to use the SW Emerald Urethane which was recommended by SW store. I was also going to use a HVLP sprayer as the rep at the SW store said an airless is not good for doing fine finish spraying. Can you comment on that. If I use the HVLP I know I will have to thin it down as I used the same sprayer to spray a railing and had to thin that down. Not sure which would be better for this job.

    • Matt G. profile imageAUTHOR

      Matt G. 

      17 months ago from United States

      Yes, but on cabinets and areas where durability is more important Emerald urethane is better. It dries harder.

    • profile image


      17 months ago

      Have you been impressed with the durability of this paint? I am debating between this one and the Emerald Urethane from Sherwin Williams.. Also, would you use an oil based primer?

    • Matt G. profile imageAUTHOR

      Matt G. 

      19 months ago from United States

      The best way to sand a drip out of Pro Classic paint without tearing apart the paint around it is by wet sanding with a sanding sponge. Soak the sanding sponge in warm water and gently sand until the drip is gone. The sanding sponge is less abrasive than sandpaper and works really well for this. I've done it many times.

    • profile image


      19 months ago

      Can you sand Sherwin Williams pro classic enamel? I have done one coat on my kitchen cabinets and although the paint is forgiving when applied at the correct thickness, too much is still too much. How do I remover the sagging paint easily without disturbing the other areas?


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