Kitchen Cabinet Paint: Oil- vs. Latex-Based

All white kitchen with small eating island

Choices of kitchen cabinet paint must be carefully selected so it matches your home décor. The type of paint used can easily change a person’s mood.

When painting the cabinets, it is highly recommended a primer is used. A primer will reduce the number of coats you have to apply. Paint also has a tendency to peel off if no primer is applied.

The environment and the ever-changing atmosphere can be harsh on kitchen cabinets. The oily and greasy residue that results from frequent cooking can easily stain the cabinets. Boiling water or using the oven can really cause structural damage to the kitchen cabinets. Therefore, the correct paint can protect the kitchen cabinet from pollutants. Currently, the two most popular choices faced by homeowners is either latex-based or oil paint.

Whichever paint is selected, never skimp on the quality. That few extra dollars can make the paint last for several more years.

The Type of Color

The type of color really decides whether you should use oil or latex-based. If you are going for lighter colors like cream or white, then stick with latex-based. However, if a darker color is chosen, the better choice will be oil-based.


Two people cleaning a kitchen

Repeatedly cleaning the kitchen cabinets can damage the paint. Out of these two, oil-based paint can withstand cleaning solutions better. So, if cooking activities are frequently carried out, then it will be much better to stick with oil-based.

The problem with oil paint, however, is that it is harder to remove the paint from your hands and it is not easy to get a smooth finish.


One thing about latex-based paint is they are of a stickier variant. There is a chance when two cabinet doors open side by side and touch, the doors will stick and ruin the paint. So if latex paint is chosen, be careful when opening the cabinet doors.

When painting the inside of the cabinet doors, stick to oil-based paint since it is possible that kitchen items can stick to the door when opening it.

Time for Paint to Dry

Of the two, oil paint dries faster than latex which makes oil paint more user-friendly. The biggest problem with using latex is the long curing time. Most of the time, it can take about two to three weeks for the latex to harden and completely dry. During the drying time, latex paint is very prone to peeling.

Harder to Apply

rolling paint onto a cabinet

Oil painting is more suitable for rougher surfaces. In contrast, the problem with latex paint is if the surface of the cabinet is not smooth, there is a high probability that cracking or peeling will occur.


As already mentioned in the previous two factors, latex paint does not withstand high temperatures. When the temperature is extreme, latex-based paint has a huge tendency to peel.

Lifespan of Paint

The problem with oil paint is it has the tendency to yellow over time. Oil paint also gives off a stronger odor over time.