Painted kitchen cabinets are a familiar part of rustic and country décor. However, not all paint survives the atmosphere of a working kitchen well. Choosing the most durable type of paint can help homeowners make sure that their cabinets look good and stay in good condition.
Oil-based paints are a traditional choice for durability. According to This Old House, many professional painters prefer oil for its harder surface and smoother finish. Oil-based paints do take much longer to dry than water-based types, however.
Water-based latex paint is a common choice for interiors, due to its short drying time and ease of cleanup. While latex has traditionally been less durable than oil-based paints, recent advances have improved the strength of the paint film. This Old House recommends choosing latex cabinet paints that are 100-percent acrylic, since they tend to be stronger than vinyl-based acrylic paint.
Milk paint, based on a milk protein called casein, is an old-fashioned choice that has recently become more popular. This paint is non-toxic, relatively durable, and easy to clean up. However, milk paint tends to come in a restricted color range, is more expensive than oil or latex, and according to Old House Online, is prone to staining. Milk paint on cabinet doors may need sealing to hold up to repeated use.