Painting kitchen cabinets--oil vs latex--VOCs concern

mybrowneyedgirlsNovember 9, 2009

I am having my 8 yr old builder-grade honey oak kitchen cabinets painted white. I am leaning toward BM Satin Impervo because I'd like a high quality paint with a low sheen that would still be washable. My painter says that oil-based is the most durable and will give the smoothest finish. I am really concerned about VOCs, though. I have 2 kids that I don't want breathing in the off-gasses.

Does anyone have advice regarding how well the Satin Impervo in latex will hold up on kitchen cabinets? Should I really go with the oil-based paint? Are there better paints for cabinets I could use and still get a satin finish?

Thanks for any advice!

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Don't forget that oil based paints have other drawbacks besides being smelly and hazardous to breathe. The paint film itself is also very brittle and will crack faster than latex. Oil based paints will also yellow over time. Mildew and mold prefer to grow on oil based paints as well. So, even if we can prove that oil based paints are the most durable, we still have these other issues. By the way, we can't prove that oil based paints are more durable....painters are divided pretty squarely on this topic.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 9:17PM
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Thanks for the input, paintguy. So do you think I'd be okay going with the BM Satin Impervo (latex)? I just want as smooth and nice a finish as I can possibly get. We are trying to dress up these builder grade oak cabinets with crown and light rail mouldings, as well as adding some glass inserts, and of course, paint. We don't have the money to replace, but we are still spending quite a bit on these improvements to the existing cabs, and I just don't want the final paint job to say "low quality" or "budget" if you know what I mean.
It is so true, you can talk to one painter and he'll say today's latex rivals oil paint, and another will tell you nothing compares to the finish of oil. So I'm still confused...

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 9:34PM
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Jordana George

I'd be just as concerned about painting oak cabinets and which paint will work the best on those specifically. I want to paint my oakies, too, but the more I read about the prep involved and quality of paint so you don't have the oak grain showing through, the more gun-shy I am.

I like low VOC, too. Lots of differing opinions on oil vs. water soluble for cabinets. Funcolors recommended (I think that is the url), and that is super high quality stuff. They have water soluble/low VOC paint that is supposedly suitable for cabinets, and also primer putty that you can use to fill the oak grain and sand to a "glass" smooth finish. I haven't used it myself, just read about it in other posts around the web during my research and visited the site today. I'm sure the regular posters and pros will have better experience based advice than I do, but I thought I'd share what I am going through right now about oak cabinets. Please come back after your paint job and post pix.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2009 at 11:21PM
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You've maybe read my "babblings" about FPE.
Jeez it's some sweet stuff!

I've only been lucky enough to do some sample-boards, using some of their products...but, WOW.

Their ECO series paint, in Satin or Gloss(Brilliant) would be a stunner on your cabs. Grain-filling is always optional; but, if done, can be a show-piece!
The ECO flows on like silk....BUT...minimize stroking, and leave it alone for ONE DAY, then apply 2nd coat. Sand 1st coat lightly with 220, remove all dusts, and apply 2nd coat.

Use one of FPE's "wet floor" techniques!
>>> This may sound crazy, but get out the small plastic kiddy-pool, OR TWO!!, put 1" of water in the room you're painting the cabs.
>>> The key is...NOT depth of water...but the SURFACE-AREA of it. Use 2 or 3 pools if it's a big area.
>>> Have a couple small fans blowing opposite each other, to make a "vortex" in the room.
>>> After a day of this, lots of airborne dust will have precipitated out of the air & into the pool!!!
>>> You can also add a furnace-filter in the room, and spray it with "filter-charger". This helps filters grab dust by increasing static-attraction.
>>> There'll be much less dust in the air now!


    Bookmark   November 10, 2009 at 1:56AM
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Lori A. Sawaya

Yep, Faron has been the FPE go-to-person around here lately. I trust his opinions and ideas a bunch. We're lucky he shares well-balanced opinions and expertise with us!

I also like ACE cabinet paint or Cabinet Coat on oak. You can still see the grain pattern, but some people find that textural aspect attractive -- and it can be -- just depends on your preference.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2009 at 3:08AM
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I think that getting a smooth finish on cabinets depends a lot on person applying it. If you have a painter that is accustomed to using oil paints, he may not be that good with the acrylics. What happens is these old timers may get stuck in their ways and never make that adjustment to modern day paints so they may not be that good at applying it. I would spray them if possible...that is really the best way to acheive that oil based look.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2009 at 9:39AM
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Yes, BM Satin waterborne impervo would be just fine as well as SW Pro classic. I prefer the impervo .

    Bookmark   November 10, 2009 at 9:39AM
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definitely agree with paintguy. Makes perfectly good sense and know that oil finishes as he mentioned are brittle and do wear more IMO than your better acrylics.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2009 at 9:43AM
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Thank you guys for all of your advice! I think I am going to go with the BM Satin Impervo in latex.
Faron, I have read a lot about the Fine Paints of Europe products, and I know theirs is a superior product. However, it is so expensive, and my painter includes the cost of paint (anything available locally) in his price, so I think I'll have to go with BM (or maybe Cabinet Coat??) for $$ reasons.
So, unless someone convinces me that Cabinet Coat is a better product for cabinets, I think I'll just go with the BM. I don't really know anything about CC....any thoughts??

    Bookmark   November 10, 2009 at 10:07AM
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I wouldn't focus "totally" on just the $$$...

Think of the "Total $ value" added to the home, etc.
>>> I think some people tend to think too "small box" when improving their homes, and get too concerned over the price of a single gallon of product.
>>> Yet $$Thousands$$ are spent on furniture, tiles, etc., that can easily be "too trendy", and REDUCE a homes value!

If another $100 (or whatever $ amount...) in paint adds "even more" to the worth....just sayin'....

The additional $$/sq. ft. soon become meaningless.
Plus, a high-end finish like FPE wears VERY well too.

CC is a very good finish. It's NOT Low-VOC however. Colors can be tedious to match into this line.
The ACE Cabinet, Door, & Trim paint IS Low-VOC, looks very nice, easily tinted to ANY ACE color, and can be sold in all 50 states...CC cannot.

...gettin' off my soapbox now...;-)


    Bookmark   November 10, 2009 at 6:05PM
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I've been reading for months on painting oak cabinets and this forum has been so nice to have!
I am ready to start but can't decide between cabinet coat and satin impervo waterborne. Is the Cabinet Coat better? Or will they both be equal? I have an in home daycare, 3 young kids of my own as well so I would really like something that will stand up to the wear the best. HELP PLEASE!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 1:18PM
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Christopher Nelson Wallcovering and Painting

Either will work

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 7:39AM
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A few years ago I wanted to switch from oil base to water base on all my woodwork and I sampled BM Impervo, SW Classic, Dunn Edwards, and Cabinet Coat. CC was highly rated on this site and I liked it's smooth finish the best. I also like the hard finish, my door frames do get bunped. Home Depot now carries it online.


    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 1:15AM
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I used the Insl-x Cabinet Coat on my ugly dark oak kitchen cabinets. I'm impressed with this finish.

I had originally planned to use oil, for it gives a hard, durable finish. The downside of using oil, aside from long drying times, is that it yellows over time.

However, after much research on the web, I decided to try the Cabinet Coat. Glad I did. The whole job came out great and it's so nice to be in a nice, bright kitchen for a change.

In fact, I liked this paint so much that I intend to use it on all the rest of the woodwork in my home.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 10:20PM
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latex is junk in a kitchen , you,ll regret it as time passes

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 8:29AM
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