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Thread: Oil Or Latex Paint For Cabinet?

  1. #1

    Oil Or Latex Paint For Cabinet?

    I just finished a shop cabinet made from HD cheap, "cabinet grade" plywood. The ply warped as I worked it and has the thinnest surface ply I have ever seen. As a result, just with light sanding, I wore right thru the outer ply. It looks so bad that I want to paint the cabinet instead of just hitting it with some poly.
    What kind of paint do you suggest I use? I've never painted a cabinet, so this is new to me. Oil or latex?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    New Harmony, UT
    For a shop cabinet I think latex would work fine. I share your opinion of HD cabinet grade plywood. I've got a sheet in my shop that is warped in about 6 different directions. It's the worst junk I've ever seen.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Winnsboro, TX
    Agree with the latex. Easier to apply and clean up. Plus, depending where you're at, oil-based are getting harder to get because of the VoC on them. Latex's have come along way. If you want a little more durable than regular latex, we got some kitchen cabinet paint. I think they're calling it latex enamel, which is good stuff, and again, cleans up with soap and water.
    Remember, you're just one mistake away from a lesson learned.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Hi Derek, I'd use WB paint, something like enamel trim paint should work well. I would not use latex wall paint. I would either prime them first with BIN or with the primer recommended by the paint manufacturer.

    What "cabinet grade" plywood did you buy? At my local HD I can buy maple, birch, and oak veneer plywood, all made by Columbia Forest Products right here in the USA. It's pretty nice stuff, far better than what I can buy at my local full service lumberyard. Sadly, they now only sell plywood sourced out of China unless you special order it, and then it's about 2X the price of what I can get everyday at HD. I guess different HD's stock plywood from different suppliers. You might tell your local HD about your poor experience and ask if they can switch to Columbia Forest Products products.


  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Petersen View Post
    ....I share your opinion of HD cabinet grade plywood. I've got a sheet in my shop that is warped in about 6 different directions. It's the worst junk I've ever seen.
    Take it back!!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    For a shop cabinet.......whatever is cheapest! If your local box store has marked down cans of paint from bad color matches....that's what i'd go for

    good luck,

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Niagara, Ontario
    Latex would be just fine for the color, but I would shoot a couple coats of clear WB poly over the paint to get a little better wear protection.
    To understand recursion, one must first understand recursion

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Darius Ferlas View Post
    Latex would be just fine for the color, but I would shoot a couple coats of clear WB poly over the paint to get a little better wear protection.
    Good point! I think I'll do that! Thanks.

  9. #9
    I like oil inside. Smoother finish, easier to spread.
    Swiss Coffee everywhere, that way I don't have to clean my brush. It lives in a baggie in my freezer.

  10. #10
    which dries faster...oil or latex?

  11. #11
    Way too fast for me.
    Oil has time to Flow.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Northwestern Connecticut
    Depends on your goals. If your goals are to spread some smutz on the cabs that gives a little color and a little protection, I'd go with something like BM Satin Imprevo. Its an acrylic water based cabinet and trim paint, add enough extender and keep it above 70 degrees, it can flow out and look pretty good with a brush. Minimal odor. If you enjoy that nauseous dizzy feeling that comes from huffing solvents, then by all means use the oil based version. Its a bit more durable, takes 5 hours or more to dry, and you get a nice buzz. Whats not to love. If your goals are to use these cabs as a practice run for a proper set of cabinets, I'd step up to a proper water based acrylic cabinet finish that behaves like a tinted lacquer or poly, like ML Campbell Aqualente, General Finishes pigmented poly or "Milk Paint" finish (not a milk paint at all), maybe target coatings EM 6500. Each can be sprayed or brushed, they are a lot more durable than latex, which does better on sheet rock than cabinets, and the smell is much reduced versus solvent based paints or clears. They are not cheap, but you get to work out your learning curve on less critical boxes. If your goal is minimal cost, then I like Jeff's idea, discount rack in the local big box. My SIL has painted much of her house for next to nothing with some lovely colors that were custom ordered and never picked up. Might find one you like, good enough for the shop.

    In my shop all the cabinets are nude. Thats right, birthday suit, just the way they came out of the planer. I don't even sand them. And most of them resemble frankenstein, parts form various projects, some of them gone wrong, face frames from three different species, screws, glue, biscuits, pocket screws, finish nails, whatever fastening system was set up, or out on the bench at the time, or not in the van, or quickest, or some combination of the above. I've never seen them as having any role higher than a saw horse or a clamping caul. Just tools to hold the things needed to do the real work. So I wouldn't take the time to wash the brush used to spread free paint I found on the side of the road. But thats me. I've seen shops where the cabinets were beautiful cases fit to be displayed in the finest part of the home, and I respect that, but I'm going for a trashy industrial sheik look that has taken years to engender, no reason to spoil that with finish!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Prairieville, Louisiana
    I painted my shop cabinets with oil based porch/floor paint. It is very durable . . .

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