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Oil vs. Latex: Which Paint is Better for Kitchen Cabinets?

When choosing between latex- and oil-based paint for kitchen cabinets, it’s generally better to use latex-based products if you are conscious about indoor air quality.

Oil-based paint contains a higher level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are responsible for certain respiratory ailments and skin allergies. Latex paint has little to no VOC emissions, and it dries faster, unlike oil paint that takes up to 16 hours of drying time in between coats. However, oil paint still offers certain advantages.

Pros and Cons

Oil-based paint doesn’t fade easily after regular scrubbing and cleaning, so this would be a good choice if you could find a product that has the lowest possible VOC content. On the other hand, latex requires more prep work for a better finish. Whichever you choose, remember that a semi-glossy or glossy finish will be the best choices for finishing. A high-quality sheen helps in prolonging the paint’s durability by reflecting as much light as possible.

It’s not advisable to use oil paint for DIY projects, especially when you intend to paint wooden cabinets. If you live in Utah, the cost of paint as part of kitchen remodeling in Fort Wayne may be cheaper than in Salt Lake City. You need to hire a professional for painting custom cabinets, which are more expensive because these are non-standard fixtures.

Cost of Labor

Ask at least three contractors about their basis for charging on a per-linear-foot, and if they use a certain system for measurements. Some kitchen renovations require you to use specific colors of paints to match the overall design, and you could end up spending more than necessary when you try to do the paint job by yourself.

You should expect to pay at least $30 per linear foot for the cost of labor, while your expenses on paint and supplies may cost up to $200. Some contractors may charge by the hour, and this usually ranges from $20 to $50. The national average for this year costs $700 for painting kitchen cabinets and doors.

Return on Investment

Stylish open plan kitchen with stainless steel appliances and dining area

The need to hire a professional for kitchen improvements becomes more evident when you plan on selling your house. A report showed that a major remodel for an old 200-square-foot kitchen could provide an almost 78% return on investment, based on a project cost of $73,500 and a resale value of around $57,100.

You don’t have to spend a lot on upgrading your kitchen. If you need to repaint not just cabinets, it may cost around $900 for the same kitchen size. In case you still decide to do this on your own, prepare to spend around 15 to 30 hours for painting a 200-square-foot kitchen. This doesn’t include an extra 20 hours for removing old paint, finishing and stains.

Don’t immediately choose latex over oil-based paint simply because of their VOC emissions. Consult a home improvement professional to make an informed decision. An expert will likely know how to reduce the risks from the type of paint that you choose for your kitchen.