Satin Or Semi-Gloss Paint For Kitchen Cabinets?

Choosing one finish over another for your kitchen cabinets can completely change the look and feel of the room. Satin finishes are ideal because of the stain resistance whereas semi-gloss can withstand moisture in the air more easily. The choice comes down to personal preference, so let’s take a look at the benefits and downsides of satin and semi-gloss finishes.

Satin or Semi Gloss for Kitchen Cabinets

Choosing a paint type for your kitchen cabinets is an important step for determining your kitchen’s longevity. Different types of paint react differently to the environment. Depending on your situation, you will have to choose one.

Satin finishes are ideal for kitchens because they are smudge, dust, stain, and dirt-resistant. Semi-gloss finishes can withstand mold and mildew better and are ideal for damp conditions. Choose satin if you want a low-maintenance finish, and semi-gloss if you want a finish that stands out.

In this article, we will cover all the best applications for both satin and semi-gloss finish cabinets. Your home should be customized to best fit your needs. With this guide, you can figure out what type of cabinet finish will best suit your lifestyle.

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Satin vs. Semi-Gloss

In order to understand if you should use satin or semi-gloss for kitchen cabinets, you need to understand what the difference is. By fully understanding what these two finishes look like, you can make the right choice. There is no use in making a decision if you don’t have all the facts.

Satin finish tends to be less shiny and closer to an eggshell finish. It has a smooth, dry feel that will match the sleek look of a contemporary kitchen. It also hides imperfections in the finish much more efficiently than semi-gloss.

Semi-gloss finish is much shinier and more reflective than a satin finish. It is also more resistant to outside contaminants like moisture. However, it tends to show imperfections in the wood and also attract dirt due to its slightly viscous finish.

Do I Need a Special Paint for Kitchen Cabinets?

There is no special kind of paint specifically for kitchen cabinets. Most kitchen cabinets are made of wood, which is very receptive to all kinds of paints. As long as you prep the surface properly, you can use almost any paint.

It is not a matter of whether or not you are choosing a paint specifically for cabinets, it is more that you are choosing a paint specifically for your life. There is hardly ever a catch-all for interior design. Almost everything will be depending on how you use it.

Any paint you use for your kitchen cabinets should be rated for indoor use. However, this is more of a safety issue than a taste issue. Most paints that you find at your local big-box hardware store will be rated for indoor use.

Should I Use a Brush or Roller to Paint Cabinets?

Most professional cabinetry painters will use neither a roller or a brush. They use highly pressurized airbrushes that evenly distribute the paint using an air compressor. However, most DIYers will not have access to this professional equipment.

In general, you should always use a small roller for applying paint to cabinets. This will allow you to make long, even strokes that will give you a clean coat of paint. Brushes are good for small areas or touching up but should be avoided for long strokes intended for coverage.

It should be noted that brush marks will show up in a semi-gloss paint much more prominently than a satin one. Semi-gloss paint has a way of amplifying imperfections. If you are using semi-gloss, be sure to use a roller and not a brush.

Do I Need to Prime Cabinets Before Painting?

Any professional painter will tell you that proper preparation is the key to a long-lasting paint job. This includes priming and ensuring that your paint has a surface to stick to. It is absolutely necessary to prime your cabinets before painting.

While you do have to prime your cabinets, it is not recommended that you sand them before priming. Sanding the wood of your cabinets will open up the pores inside the wood itself. This leaves them vulnerable to moisture and mold or mildew.

While you don’t have to sand them, you should definitely ensure that your cabinets are clean before priming. Wipe them down with a damp cloth and let them dry completely. Then, add one coat of primer and let it dry before adding your finishing paint.

Do I Need to Seal Cabinets After Painting?

It may seem like a good idea to add a topcoat of clear polyurethane to your cabinets after painting them. However, this will only allow more dirt and moisture to stick to the wood or soak in. If you properly clean and paint your cabinets, you do not need to seal them.

It is recommended that you use one coat of primer and one to two thin coats of finishing paint after that. If you do this properly, you will not have to add any kind of sealer or topcoat. The primer and paint will be enough to protect the wood.

The main reason why you do not want to add a topcoat to cabinets is that it tends to be sticky. You want to avoid that tacky feel for any furniture that is consistently touched. This tends to attract dirt and trap moisture, leading to damage.

How Do I Get the Smoothest Paint Finish?

The best way to get the smoothest paint finish is to do less. If you can apply the coat of paint in the least amount of strokes, this will give you the cleanest, smoothest finish. As long as you have properly applied your primer, the paint should lay down smooth.

While you shouldn’t sand your cabinets before priming them, you should lightly sand them afterward. This will give the primer a grittier surface that will allow the paint to stick and hold. Uninterrupted finishes are usually the result of paint that has been properly applied and dried.

Can I Paint Satin Over Semi-Gloss?

The nice thing about having both satin and semi-gloss finish available to you is that one can easily be painted over the other. Satin paint can be painted over semi-gloss without sanding or priming the wood. This gives you lots of options to see which one you like best.

If you have semi-gloss paint in your house already that you want to paint over, satin paint might be the best option. Old semi-gloss paints sometimes contain lead. In these cases, you should not sand it, and just repaint over it with the satin paint.

What Color Is Best for Cabinets?

There are rarely any hard-and-fast rules when it comes to painting your kitchen cabinets. These things will always rely on a degree of taste. However, there are some guidelines that can help you get your desired results.

Darker colors high up in a room tend to make the room look smaller. If you already have a small kitchen that you want to open up, you should paint your cabinets a lighter color like white or off-white. This will give the illusion of space and open up the room.

However, if your kitchen has a contemporary, modern look. You may want to paint your cabinets a darker color to match that vibe. Kitchens with stainless steel appliances tend to look better with darker cabinets that complement the modern-looking equipment.

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Related Questions

Why are my white cabinets turning yellow?

Things like oil and grease in the air tend to make paint go yellow over a period of years. This can be avoided by using a satin finish instead of semi-gloss. Semi-gloss paint soaks up and holds onto particles in the air. This includes substances that turn yellow such as oil.

How do you keep painted kitchen cabinets from chipping?

Kitchen cabinets are a high-touch, high-use item in your home. Because of this, you need a durable, high-quality finish. If you have painted your cabinets with the proper amount of primer and one to two thin coats of paint, you should not have issues with chipping.

How can I paint without brush marks?

If you must paint your kitchen cabinets with a brush, you should use a low gloss satin paint. Satin paint hides imperfections in both the wood itself and in the finish. It will help cover any brushstrokes that may have ended up showing in the final paint job.

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Michael Oconnor

I am a writer and editor from The Bay Area, CA. When I'm not typing, I enjoy hiking, woodworking and gardening. I love sharing tips and discovering new trends in home improvement.

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