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

There are so many varieties of paint available in the market and one can easily get confused about choosing the right paint for their kitchen cabinets.

Earlier there were only oil-based paints which are used on the cabinets to paint, but now there are so many paints like latex, chalk, milky, etc.

So, which one to choose, chalk paint vs latex vs regular paint for kitchen cabinets?

To clear the doubt, I have written a detailed guide on choosing the right paint depending upon your budget and listed all the pros and cons of these three paints.

Chalk Paint Vs Latex Vs Regular Paint For Kitchen Cabinets

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.

Basically, 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 together. 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 having 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 a long-lasting paint. People love chalk paint only because it is easy to use, requires no preparation, and is easy to clean.

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 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.

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.

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.

What Is A Regular Paint? (Oil-Based)

A 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 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.  

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 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 to 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.

Conclusion: What Is The Best Paint For Kitchen Cabinets?

All these three paints mentioned here are good for kitchen cabinets. But, if you want easy-to-use and budget-friendly paint then go for latex paint. I personally like the latex paint over chalk because I think chalk paint is more of a hype and it is also a water-based paint like latex.

One thing chalk paint doesn’t require any preparation like the latex, just clean the surface and paint it but it is much more costly than latex and also requires sanding and sealing after painting.

Oil-based paints also work great and give a much smoother finish than both, but I don’t like its odor and it is very difficult to clean as it requires mineral spirit and also it is toxic and flammable.

Overall, I recommend the latex paint over chalk and oil due to easy cleaning, smooth finish, and budget-friendly.

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FAQ’s (Chalk Paint Vs Latex Vs Regular Paint For 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 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 paints. 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 the 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 durable than latex or chalk paint. They required time to be fully cured but once finish, they provide a harder, more durable finish.

  8. Do Painted Kitchen Cabinets Hold Up?

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

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