Chalk Paint Vs Latex Vs Regular Paint For Kitchen Cabinets – Choose The Best 1

Are you planning to give your kitchen cabinets a fresh new look? 

Choosing the right paint can make a big difference in how they turn out. 

With so many options available, it’s important to understand the differences between chalk paint vs latex paint vs regular paint.

Chalk paint is known for its rustic and matte finish, while latex paint offers a smooth and durable surface. Regular paint, often oil-based, provides a traditional and glossy look. Each type has its unique qualities that can transform your cabinets in different ways.

In this article, we’ll explore the characteristics of chalk paint, latex paint, and regular paint, and help you decide which one suits your project best. 

We’ll cover their application techniques, durability, maintenance, and even cost considerations. 

By the end, you’ll have a clear idea of which paint will work wonders for your kitchen cabinets.

So, let’s grab our brushes and dive into the world of paint to discover the perfect choice for your kitchen cabinets!

Chalk Paint Vs Latex Vs Regular Paint For Kitchen Cabinets

Comparison Table – Chalk Paint Vs Latex Vs Regular Paint

Here’s a comparison table that highlights the key features of chalk paint, latex paint, and regular paint for kitchen cabinets:

Paint TypePreparation RequiredDrying TimeDurabilityCleaningFinish OptionsCost
Chalk PaintMinimal preparation (except for smooth surfaces)Fast dryingNot as durable, prone to chippingEasy cleaning with soap and waterMatte finish can be sealed with waxHigher cost
Latex PaintRequires extensive preparation (sanding, cleaning, priming)Fast dryingModerately durable, doesn’t chip easilyEasy cleaning with soapy waterVarious finish options (glossy, semi-gloss, flat)Budget-friendly
Regular Paint (Oil-based)Requires sanding and cleaning before paintingSlow drying (up to 24 hours)Highly durableRequires mineral spirits for cleaningSmooth finish, glossy appearanceModerately priced

This comparison table provides a quick overview of the key characteristics of each paint type. 

It highlights the differences in preparation requirements, drying time, durability, ease of cleaning, available finishes, and cost. 

This allows readers to evaluate the trade-offs and select the paint that aligns with their priorities and preferences.

Remember, while the table provides a general comparison, it is essential to consider your specific needs and the condition of your kitchen cabinets before making a final decision.

Now, let’s learn about paints.

Also Read – Can You Put Kitchen Cabinets On Top Of Vinyl Plank Flooring?

What Is A Chalk Paint?

Chalk Paint is a water-based paint that doesn’t require any sanding or priming before painting. It means you don’t have to do the preparation or the hard work before painting the cabinets or furniture.

It is a decorative paint designed and patented by Annie Sloan for painting cabinets, furniture to walls, and metals in an easy way. According to them, you can use it to paint wood, metal, melamine, floor, dye fabric or you can even use it to paint glass.

I don’t know the exact combination, but you can DIY chalk paint by mixing latex paint and Plaster of Paris. It will work for small work but you will not get the finishing as the branded ones.

The main advantage of chalk paint is that it doesn’t require any preparation (only required if it is laminate or has a very smooth finish) and it dries very fast, so you don’t have to wait longer for the second coat. 

Simply clean the surface with a cloth and start painting. As it is water-based paint, you can simply wash the brush and rollers with soap and water rather than using mineral spirits.

Painting the cabinets with only chalk paint will not be enough. You have to sand it to get a smooth finish and seal the paint with wax.

Apply two coats of wax after painting for a matte sheen. But, this topcoat can turn yellowish over time so you have to use a water-based sealer like Polycrylic Wood Finish.

Another thing is that it tends to chip easily, so it is not long-lasting paint. People love chalk paint only because it is easy to use, requires no preparation, and is easy to clean.

Also Read – How To Cut Down Kitchen Cabinets?

Pros And Cons Of Chalk Paint


  1. Chalk paint doesn’t require any preparation before painting. You just need to clean the surface to adhere and start painting. Also in most instances, it does not require any priming.
  2. It dries much faster than any other paint. You can apply the second coat after an hour.
  3. It is thick and requires fewer coats of paint.
  4. You can get a smoother finish by sanding it. The sanding power of chalk paint is great.
  5. You can hide any heavily-grained wood with this paint.
  6. Applying a wax topcoat will give it a perfect matte sheen.


  1. Chalk paint tends to chip easily, so it is not long-lasting paint.
  2. It requires sanding after painting to get a smooth finish, so the super-fine dust particles get everywhere.
  3. It is more expensive than latex and regular paints.
  4. It tends to get yellowish over time, so coat it with a water-based sealer-like polycrylic wood finish.

Chalk Paint Application Tips

  1. Surface Preparation: While chalk paint generally requires minimal preparation, it is recommended to lightly sand glossy or smooth surfaces to promote better adhesion.
  2. Cleaning: Ensure the surface is clean and free from dust or grease before applying the paint. Use a mild detergent or TSP (trisodium phosphate) solution to remove any residues.
  3. Thin Coats: Apply thin coats of chalk paint for better control and coverage. Multiple thin coats are often preferred over one thick coat.
  4. Sanding For A Smooth Finish: If you desire a smoother finish, lightly sand between coats using fine-grit sandpaper. This helps to minimize any brush marks or texture.
  5. Wax Or Seal: After painting, apply a wax topcoat for a matte sheen and added durability. However, be aware that wax can yellow over time. Alternatively, consider using a water-based sealer like Polycrylic Wood Finish for a clear and durable protective coating.

Also Read – How To Repair Chipped Paint On Kitchen Cabinets?

What Is A Latex Paint?

Latex paint comes from the family of acrylic paint. It means it’s a water-based paint that contains plastic resin made of acrylics which helps it to stick better.

It is available in different finishes like glossy, semi-gloss, flat, etc. The basic latex paint is ideal to paint wooden furniture or cabinets and it is one of the easiest paints to work with.

But the hard work lies before painting the cabinets because it requires a very smooth and cleaned surface to get good adhesion, so it needs lots of sanding, cleaning, and priming before painting.

Latex paint dries faster than regular paint (oil-based), and you can apply the second coat after a short wait. The main advantage of latex paint over oil-based paint is that it doesn’t show any brush strokes as easily, and it goes on smoother and smoother after applying 2-3 coats. 

The best part is that it can easily be cleaned up with soapy water. Due to all these advantages, it becomes a good choice to use latex paint on different surfaces.

Also Read – How To Draft-Proof Your Under Kitchen Cabinets?

Pros And Cons Of Latex Paint


  1. It dries up much faster than regular paint.
  2. It doesn’t get yellowish over time.
  3. Cleaning is very easy and convenient.
  4. It is easy to achieve the required sheen level due to the availability of different finishes.
  5. Latex paint is also available in different colors. You can choose whatever you want.
  6. It doesn’t chip off and is cheaper than chalk paint.


  1. Stains penetrate latex paint more easily than oil-based, which makes more frequent refinishing necessary.
  2. It requires lots of sanding and cleaning before painting for good adhesion.

Latex Paint Application Tips

  1. Surface Preparation: Latex paint requires thorough surface preparation. Sand the cabinets to create a slightly rough surface, clean them to remove dirt and grease, and apply a primer for better adhesion.
  2. Brush Or Roller Selection: Use a high-quality brush or a foam roller for a smooth and even application. Select the appropriate size based on the size of the surface and cabinets.
  3. Thin Coats: Apply multiple thin coats of latex paint rather than one thick coat. This helps to prevent drips and promotes better adhesion.
  4. Proper Drying Time: Allow sufficient drying time between coats as specified by the paint manufacturer. Rushing the process can lead to improper curing and compromised durability.
  5. Sanding And Finishing: If desired, lightly sand the final coat to achieve a smoother finish. Consider applying a clear polyurethane topcoat for added protection and durability.

Also Read – How To Stop A Draught From Behind Kitchen Cupboards?

What Is A Regular Paint? (Oil-Based)

Regular paint may be acrylic or oil-based. Here I am considering the regular paint as the oil paint. Because it is the most common paint earlier used by people for painting kitchen cabinets.

It is made of different things but the main ingredient (the base) is natural oil such as linseed or synthetic oil. Due to the presence of oil, it has a smooth texture and can only be wiped off or thinned using mineral spirits such as turpentine.

Regular paint is great for painting metals, wood, or any other surface because it adheres well to the surface, has a very higher strength, and leads to a very glossy finish, but it requires sanding and cleaning before painting. 

You can paint the oil paint with a brush or using a sprayer for a superior finish but the paint needs to be thinned before painting using a solvent. The brush strokes are less visible as compared to latex or chalk paint.

It is durable paint but leaves a strong odor after painting. It is a little toxic and that’s why people are less likely to use this paint.

Also, cleaning is a big mess after painting because you have to clean the brushes with mineral spirits like turpentine.

Also Read – Why Are My Kitchen Cupboards So Cold?

Pros And Cons Of Regular Paint


  1. It is very durable and strong.
  2. It can be applied to surfaces like stained, chalky, dirty, etc.
  3. Oil paints require fewer coats than latex and chalk paints to get a smooth finish.
  4. Different grades of sheen are available and its application is smooth and covers a large area.
  5. It is more resistant to low temperatures than latex paint.
  6. It covers slightly damaged areas much better and its color is much richer than chalk and latex paint. 


  1. It is not easy to clean. You have to use mineral spirits like turpentine or thinner to remove the paint and clean the brushes.
  2. It leaves a strong odor after painting which may be irritating for the painters and also it is flammable, so it is hazardous to save for later.
  3. Oil-based paints take a long time to dry (usually 24 hrs).
  4. The color may get fade or yellow over time.
  5. Sanding and priming are necessary before painting. 
  6. Expensive than latex paint but cheaper than chalk.

Regular Paint (Oil-based) Application Tips

  1. Surface Preparation: Properly prepare the cabinets by sanding them to create a smooth and clean surface. Clean them thoroughly to remove any dust or grease.
  2. Brush Or Sprayer Application: Regular paint can be applied using a brush or a paint sprayer. Brush application generally results in fewer visible brush strokes.
  3. Thinning The Paint: If using a brush, consider thinning the paint slightly using an appropriate solvent as recommended by the paint manufacturer. This helps in achieving smoother brush strokes.
  4. Proper Ventilation: When using oil-based paints, ensure adequate ventilation in the painting area due to the strong odor and fumes.
  5. Cleaning: Clean brushes and tools with mineral spirits or an appropriate solvent after use. Dispose of these materials safely, following local regulations.

Also Read – Best Insulation for Under Kitchen Units

Can You Paint Over Chalk Paint With Regular Paint?

Yes, it is possible to paint over chalk paint with regular paint. However, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Surface Preparation:
    • Before applying regular paint over chalk paint, it’s crucial to ensure that the chalk paint is clean and free from any wax or sealant.
    • If the chalk paint has been waxed, you will need to remove the wax using an appropriate cleaner or by lightly sanding the surface.
    • This step is essential to promote proper adhesion of the new paint.
  2. Primer:
    • It is generally recommended to use a primer when painting over chalk paint, especially if you’re transitioning from dark or heavily pigmented chalk paint to a lighter shade of regular paint.
    • A primer helps to create a smooth and consistent surface, enhances adhesion, and prevents any bleed-through of the previous paint color.
  3. Paint Compatibility:
    • When selecting the regular paint to apply over chalk paint, it is important to choose a paint type that is compatible with the surface and the desired finish.
    • Latex-based paint is commonly used for this purpose, as it adheres well to various surfaces and offers a wide range of colors.
    • However, it’s always advisable to check the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations for the specific paint products you intend to use.
  4. Application: When applying the regular paint over the chalk paint, follow the standard painting techniques and guidelines. Ensure even coverage and use appropriate brushes or rollers for a smooth finish. Multiple coats may be required to achieve the desired opacity and color intensity.

It’s important to note that when you paint over chalk paint with regular paint, you will be altering the appearance and characteristics of the surface. 

The unique matte, textured, or distressed look that chalk paint provides may be covered up by the regular paint, resulting in a more traditional finish. 

Therefore, it’s advisable to consider your desired outcome and perform a small test in an inconspicuous area before proceeding with the entire surface.

Also Read – How to Insulate Under Kitchen Cabinets?

Durability And Maintenance Of Kitchen Cabinet Paints

Chalk PaintLatex PaintRegular Paint (Oil-Based)
DurabilityChalk paint tends to chip easily and may not be as long-lasting.Latex paint provides good durability and holds up well over time.Regular paint offers excellent durability and can withstand heavy use.
MaintenanceChalk paint may require regular touch-ups due to chipping. To maintain, periodically check for chips or wear and touch up as needed.Latex paint is relatively low-maintenance. To maintain, clean with mild soapy water and avoid abrasive cleaners. Touch up any chips or scratches as necessary.Regular paint requires minimal maintenance. Clean with mild soapy water and touch up any chips or scratches that occur over time.
Touch-upsFor touch-ups, use the same chalk paint color. Lightly sand the affected area, clean it, and apply a thin layer of chalk paint with a brush or sponge. Blend the touch-up area with the surrounding surface. Seal with wax or water-based sealer, if desired.For touch-ups, use the same latex paint color. Clean the area, lightly sand if necessary, and apply a thin layer of latex paint using a brush or roller. Feather the edges of the touch-up area for a seamless blend.For touch-ups, use the same regular paint color. Clean the area, lightly sand if needed, and apply a thin layer of regular paint with a brush or sprayer. Feather the edges for a smooth finish. Use a clean brush for blending and touch-ups.
Preventive MeasuresTo minimize chipping, ensure proper surface preparation before applying chalk paint. Consider using a primer or bonding agent for better adhesion. Seal with wax or a water-based sealer for added protection. Avoid harsh abrasives during cleaning.Proper surface preparation is crucial for good adhesion of latex paint. Clean, sand, and prime the cabinets before painting. Apply multiple thin coats for better durability. Avoid abrasive cleaners and harsh scrubbing.Ensure thorough surface preparation before using regular paint. Clean, sand, and prime the cabinets. Apply thin coats for optimal coverage and durability. Avoid using abrasive cleaners that may damage the paint.

By following these maintenance tips and addressing any chips or scratches promptly, you can extend the lifespan of your painted kitchen cabinets and keep them looking fresh and well-maintained. 

Remember to choose the appropriate paint type based on your preferences and consider the level of maintenance you are comfortable with.

Also Read – Effective Ways To Update Old Kitchen Cabinets [Under $100]

Cost Considerations For Kitchen Cabinet Paints

Chalk PaintLatex PaintRegular Paint (Oil-Based)
Cost per Square FootRelatively expensive, $15-$30 per quartMore affordable, $20-$40 per gallonModerately priced, $25-$45 per gallon
Cost per Cabinet$40-$100$30-$80$30-$80
Additional ExpensesMinimalPrimer: $15-$25 per gallon, Sealer: $20-$40 per gallon, Brushes: $5-$20 eachPrimer: $15-$30 per gallon, Sealer: $20-$40 per gallon, Brushes: $5-$30 each
  • When considering the cost of painting kitchen cabinets, it’s essential to account for both the paint and additional expenses such as primers, sealers, and brushes. 
  • While chalk paint may have a higher upfront cost, it may require fewer additional supplies. 
  • On the other hand, latex paint and regular paint may have a lower initial cost but may involve additional expenses for primers, sealers, and brushes.

Ultimately, the overall cost will depend on the size of your kitchen cabinets, the quality of the paint and additional supplies are chosen, and whether you opt for professional labor or undertake the painting project yourself. 

Assess your budget and desired outcome to make an informed decision regarding the cost of painting your kitchen cabinets.

Also Read – How To Fix Scratched Kitchen Cabinets?

Can You Mix Latex Paint With Chalk Paint?

Technically, you can mix latex paint with chalk paint, but it’s generally not recommended. 

Mixing different types of paint can lead to unpredictable results and may compromise the performance and durability of the final finish. 

Here are a few important points to consider:

  1. Composition:
    • Latex paint and chalk paint have different compositions and properties.
    • Latex paint is water-based and contains synthetic binders, while chalk paint is typically water-based but also contains additives like calcium carbonate, which gives it its unique chalky texture and matte finish.
    • Mixing these two paints can result in an inconsistent texture, adhesion issues, or an altered finish.
  2. Adhesion And Durability:
    • Chalk paint is known for its excellent adhesion to a variety of surfaces, including wood, metal, and even previously painted surfaces.
    • On the other hand, latex paint is designed for durability and long-lasting performance.
    • Mixing the two paints may compromise their respective adhesion and durability properties, leading to a finish that may not hold up well over time.
  3. Finish And Appearance:
    • Chalk paint is valued for its distinctive matte and textured finish, which creates a rustic or vintage look.
    • Latex paint, on the other hand, provides a smoother and more traditional finish.
    • Mixing the two paints may result in a compromised finish that lacks the desirable qualities of either paint type.
  4. Consistency And Stability:
    • Mixing different paints can also affect the consistency and stability of the mixture.
    • Since chalk paint contains additional additives, it may alter the drying time, workability, and overall performance of the latex paint.
    • This can make it challenging to achieve a consistent and uniform application.

If you’re looking to create a custom color or effect, it’s generally recommended to work within the same paint system or use compatible products. 

Instead of mixing latex paint and chalk paint, consider using tinting options available for each type of paint to achieve the desired color. This way, you can maintain the integrity and performance of each paint type while achieving your desired aesthetic.

If you’re unsure about mixing paints or want to experiment, it’s advisable to perform a small test on a sample surface before applying it to a larger area. This will help you evaluate the compatibility, adhesion, and overall result of the mixed paints.

Also Read – Refacing Kitchen Cabinets: An Ultimate DIY Guide

Conclusion: What Is The Best Paint For Kitchen Cabinets?

Choosing the right paint for your kitchen cabinets is crucial for achieving the desired appearance, durability, and ease of application. 

We have explored three popular options: chalk paint, latex paint, and regular paint (oil-based). Here’s a summary of the main points discussed:

  • Chalk paint offers a unique matte, vintage look and requires minimal surface preparation. It is easy to apply, dries quickly, and allows for creative distressing techniques. However, it may require a protective sealer and can be more expensive compared to other options.
  • Latex paint is versatile, widely available, and relatively affordable. It provides a smooth and durable finish, and with the right primer, it adheres well to various surfaces. Latex paint offers a wide range of color options, and it’s easy to clean up with water. It is a suitable choice for those seeking durability, ease of use, and cost-effectiveness.
  • Regular paint, specifically oil-based paint, is known for its durability and smooth finish. It provides excellent adhesion and is resistant to moisture and wear. However, it requires thorough surface preparation, longer drying times, and the use of solvents for thinning and cleaning. Oil-based paint is recommended for those who prioritize longevity and are willing to invest additional time in the application process.

Considering various factors, here are some recommendations for different scenarios:

  1. For a vintage or distressed look with minimal surface preparation: Chalk paint is an excellent choice. It provides a unique finish and allows for creative techniques.
  2. For a balance of durability, ease of use, and affordability: Latex paint is highly recommended. It offers a smooth finish, a wide color range, and easy cleanup.
  3. For maximum durability and a traditional finish: Regular paint, specifically oil-based paint, is a suitable option. It provides exceptional longevity and resistance to wear and moisture.

Ultimately, the best paint choice depends on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. Consider factors such as the desired aesthetic, durability requirements, application process, and cost. 

It’s also advisable to test a small area or consult with professionals to ensure the chosen paint meets your expectations.

By carefully evaluating these factors, you can make an informed decision and transform your kitchen cabinets into a beautiful and durable focal point of your space. Happy painting!

You May Also Like

  1. Is Murphy Oil Soap Good For Kitchen Cabinets?
  2. Can You Use Loft Insulation Under Kitchen Cabinets?
  3. What Can I Put Under My Kitchen Sink to Protect My Cabinets?
  4. Do Kitchen Cabinets Need Crown Molding?
  5. Replace Kitchen Cabinets Without Replacing Countertop
  6. Does Flooring Go Under Kitchen Cabinets?


  1. Is Chalk Paint Better Than Regular Paint For Cabinets?

    In some cases, yes it is better than regular paint. It is very easy to paint as it doesn’t require any preparation and is also very easy to clean. But it requires sanding and sealing after painting for a smooth finish and durability. It is also much more expensive than regular paint.
    On the other hand, regular paints like oil-based paints are cheaper and require sanding and priming before painting. It gives a much smoother finish and very few brush strokes are visible. But it requires mineral spirits to clean which are toxic and flammable.

  2. Is Chalk Paint Suitable For Kitchen Cabinets?

    Yes, chalk paint is suitable for kitchen cabinets. It is designed especially for wooden cabinets and it is much easy to use. You don’t need sanding or priming before painting.

  3. Is Chalk Paint More Durable Than Latex?

    Chalk paint and latex are from the same family water-based, so their durability is almost the same. But in chalk paint, you have to use a sealer to protect it and make it durable. Without sealing, chalk paint is less durable than latex. 

  4. Is Latex Paint Ok For Kitchen Cabinets?

    Yes, latex paint is a great option for kitchen cabinets. It is the cheapest one and easy to paint and clean. Also, brush strokes are less visible as compared to chalk paint.

  5. How Long Does Latex Paint Last On Cabinets?

    It may last for many years but it depends on how well you prevent your cabinets from stains or scratches. Stains penetrate latex paint more easily than regular paint. Usually, it will last for 5 to 15 years. 

  6. Does Regular Paint Work On Kitchen Cabinets?

    Yes, regular oil-based paints work great on kitchen cabinets. Sand and clean the cabinets properly for the paint to adhere perfectly. It will have a much smoother finish and fewer brush strokes.

  7. What Kind Of Paint Is Most Durable For Kitchen Cabinets?

    Synthetic enamel (alkyd) oil paints are more durable than latex or chalk paint. They required time to be fully cured but once finished, they provide a harder, more durable finish.

  8. Do Painted Kitchen Cabinets Hold Up?

    Yes, painted kitchen cabinets do hold up for a long time. But, the chalk paint or regular paint begins to chip over time. 

  9. Do Painted Cabinets Ever Look Good?

    If you paint the cabinets properly, they will look very good and attractive. It depends on the painter and the type of paint used. How well you paint and what quality of paint you are using. 

  10. How Long Will Professionally Painted Kitchen Cabinets Last?

    Under normal conditions, professionally painted kitchen cabinets will last anywhere from 8-15 years. But, it may last more or less depending upon the conditions.

  11. Can You Put Latex Paint Over Chalk Paint?

    Yes, you can put latex paint over chalk paint. Latex paint can be applied over properly prepared and fully cured chalk paint surfaces.
    However, it’s important to ensure that the chalk paint is clean, dry, and free from any wax or sealer before applying the latex paint.
    Additionally, using a primer before applying the latex paint can help with adhesion and provide a smoother finish.

One Response

Leave a Reply