Painting your kitchen cabinets is a cost effective way to modernize older, dated cabinetry. It can cost thousands to completely replace your kitchen cabinets, but painting requires only a modest investment of your time and money. Before you start the process of painting your kitchen cabinets, make sure you select the right type of paint in order to get the best results from your project.

There are two main types of paint you should probably consider for your kitchen cabinets. Most people have probably painted the interior rooms of their house with latex paint at some point. Latex paint is pretty easy to apply to walls and it is easier to clean up than oil. While it might seem tempting to use latex paint for your kitchen cabinets, an oil-based paint has some important advantages that need to be considered.

The biggest advantage of using oil paint on your kitchen cabinets is durability. Paints that are oil based are much tougher than the latex alternatives. Consider what your cabinets have to endure over the course of a single year. Cabinets are splattered with food while you cook, sticky fingers touch the drawers and doors, liquids spill, and the list goes on. There is also a lot of heat generated in the kitchen which can cause the latex paint to peel over time.

Oil paint is much easier to apply to kitchen cabinets compared to latex paint. If you are going to use latex paint, your project will require intensive prep work. All surfaces of the cabinets that need to be painted would have to first be sanded smooth. Latex paint will not adhere as well to surfaces that are rough. Oil paint is also thicker which means it covers the wood surface of your kitchen cabinets more effectively.

If you want your kitchen cabinets to have a beautiful even sheen to them after they have been painted you definitely want to stick with something that is oil based. Paint that is oil based actually takes much longer to dry than latex paint. This will allow you enough time to smooth out your brush strokes so you don't have to worry about blemishes in the final product. Oil paint is generally much shinier than latex paint – even if it has a gloss finish.

While latex paint may dry to the touch faster than oil paint, keep in mind that this does not mean the paint has actually cured. It may actually take several weeks before the paint has cured which means your kitchen cabinets will be a bit vulnerable during this time. Oil paint cures faster despite taking longer to dry to the touch.