Pros and Cons of Chalk Paint on Kitchen Cabinets

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Painting your kitchen cabinets can be a fun DIY painting project to do. Before getting to work, you’re going to need to decide on what kind of paint you want to use. There are a variety of paint options for you to choose from; picking the right one can get overwhelming and difficult. One of the types of paint that’s commonly recommended is chalk paint. 

So what are the pros and cons of chalk paint on kitchen cabinets? It has a quick dry time, but a long cure time. You can begin painting without having to prep the surface, but you'll need to apply protective topcoats to keep it from chipping over time. It has a durable finish but only after the extra step of adding a wax topcoat. In the end, it depends on what you envision for your kitchen to look like, what your budget is, and how much time you’re willing to put in for it. 

What Are The Advantages of Chalk Paint

Chalk painting is a fun alternative to conventional ways of painting, like spray-painting, brushing or rolling. While some prefer the more traditional route, others are more adventurous and would love to try out using chalk paint for their kitchen cabinets. Some think using chalk paint is beneficial because it’s quick drying, it requires minimal prep work, it’s water-based, it’s durable after waxing, and it can be sanded for a smooth finish.  Quick Drying

One of the chalk paint pros that’s commonly referred to is how fast chalk paint dries. Different types of paint tend to dry at different speeds. According to interviews with experienced designers, chalk paint can dry within an hour, and you can add another coat of paint in around 2 to 4 hours after painting.

Minimal Prep Work Needed

One of the differences between regular paint versus chalk paint is that there’s no need to apply a primer before painting. This means that you can grab your brush, your paint, and start redesigning your kitchen cabinets. Latex, another common type of paint for instance, will still need a well cleaned surface, then primer before you can finally get started doing the paint job that you want.

It should be noted that, although chalk paint can be used directly on virtually anything, it would still be recommended that you use it on a slick surface. Simply clean your cabinets with a soft cloth to get rid of any dirt that may accidentally get trapped beneath the paint prior to painting. Doing so will give you a smoother finish. If you want a more decorative finish, you may skip this step altogether, if you want to give the finished product a more rugged texture. 


Being water-based gives the paint more flexibility than other types of paint, specifically oil-based paint. Acrylic paint and latex paint are other common types of water-based paint. The difference between chalk paint and these other types of water-based paint is that chalk style paint doesn't need a primer to adhere to the surface that it's being used on; it primes itself.

Oil-based paint is typically difficult to wash off and work with while painting. If you make a mistake using an oil-based paint, it will be more tedious to fix than a type of paint that is water-based. After using water-based paints, cleaning your hands and brushes will also be much easier using soap and warm water. 

Durable (After Waxing)

After adding a protective coat of wax on the paint, it’ll give you a lasting aesthetic appearance. This is also in part because chalk paint tends to be thicker than regular paint. 

If you want a more rugged, vintage look for your cabinets, chalk paint is perfect for that too. If you want a piece of furniture -- your kitchen cabinet, coffee tables, even your kitchen table, dining room table, or kitchen island --  to have a chalky, gritty, rustic appearance, you can skip the waxing and let the paint give itself its own chalky appearance. This is also the reason why people tend to treat chalk paint as a decorative paint too. 

Can Be Sanded After for a Smooth Finish

While other types of paint may give you a glossy finish, chalk paint, also being a matte paint, gives your kitchen a matte finish instead. It’ll be smooth to the touch and not be as reflective to light, as opposed to latex paint, for instance. 

Not only does it give this effect on your kitchen cabinets, but it also does so on any chalk-paint painted piece of furniture. To achieve this smoother finish, you may have to very lightly sand your kitchen cabinets before and after painting. 

What Are The Disadvantages of Chalk Paint

two men talking in the living room

Chalk paint can also have a number of drawbacks: it cures slowly, needs an additional protective wax top coat, costs more than other paints, chips easily and needs regular touch-ups, and leaves brush marks sometimes. If you don’t want to deal with any of these, then consider a different kind of paint, or get help from the professionals for a nice paint job on your kitchen cabinets.

Cures Slowly

One of the chalk paint cons that you’ll need to take into account when considering using it is that, although it dries fast, it cures slowly. Paint curing is when the chemicals of the paint fully bond with the materials of the surface of what you're painting on. Dry paint doesn't always mean cured paint. Dry paint can still chip off from the surface with something as simple as a lift of the fingernail. 

Chalk paint tends to take around 24 hours to fully cure. This may extend the timeline of your kitchen redesigning painting project and thus needs to be taken into account. 

Needs A Protective Wax Top Coat

While chalk paint doesn't need a primer, it may still need a protective wax top coat. Adding this layer of wax is essential to keeping it a durable paint for cabinets. You may need to purchase special brushes to paint with wax as it does have a different consistency than regular paint. Wax paint brushes tend to have softer bristles, which makes it easier to spread the wax around the surface of what you're painting without leaving nasty brush marks. 

Costs More Than Other Paints

Chalk paint will tend to cost you more than regular paint. Its availability may also be limited depending on your hardware store. If you need help looking for chalk paints, contact Zothex Flooring and we’ll help you design your dream kitchen cabinet. 

Chips Easily and Needs Regular Touch-Ups

If you skip adding a protective wax top coat onto the paint, it’ll make the chalk paint more vulnerable to chipping over time. Although you may think that the paint is dry, it won’t always mean that the paint has completely adhered to the surface that you're painting on. 

As it’s prone to chipping, you’ll need to regularly reapply coats of paint over again after a few months. You’ll need to take into account whether or not you’re willing to give your kitchen cabinets some touch-ups over the year. If this doesn’t bother you, and you want to go for a rustic, chalky appearance with your furniture, then this may not be a disadvantage to you. Additionally, milk paint could be another alternative if you want to have a more distressed and chippy look.

Can Leave Brush Marks

You’ll need to apply multiple coats of paint with chalk paint. If you aren't careful with your brush strokes, it’s possible that you’ll leave marks in the finished product.

If that is not a design feature that you want in your finished look, you may need to make a change. If your kitchen cabinets are made of wood, one change that you could make is to start painting along the direction of the wood grain. That way, it helps your painted kitchen cabinets have a more even, smoother finish.

Another thing that you can change is the type of paint that you're using. Paints that have a longer dry time, such as oil-based paint, tend to be more ideal for avoiding annoying brush strokes. You can alternatively use special brushes such as a rounded brush with your chalk paint to help you keep your strokes cleaner. 

Additionally, you can also purchase a spray gun to avoid the act of brushing and stroking altogether. 

Things to Consider Before Using Chalk Paint

Kitchen and dining room in industrial loft space

Some things you have to take into account are what your kitchen cabinets are made of, what your budget limit is, and how much time you’ll dedicate to painting kitchen cabinets. If you figure that these things will be more of a hassle to you than they’ll be rewarding, then you can seek the help of professional painters to get this job done for you.

What’s Your Kitchen Cabinet Made Of?

If you've been wondering to yourself, "Is chalk paint suitable for this type of material?", you're in luck. One of the pros of chalk paint is that it can be used to paint virtually anything. That being said, if your kitchen cabinets are made of raw wood, it would still be best to sand before painting. Although the chalk paint on wood furniture may adhere well, smoothening it first will be much easier for you to do than smoothening it later; a light sanding should suffice.

Another is if the material of your kitchen cabinets is dark, you may need to apply more coats of paint. White paint especially on dark colors will need more than two coats to fully cover it up.

What’s Your Budget?

Chalk paint tends to cost more than regular paint, however it may still depend on the hardware store that you choose to get it from. It also isn't just the paint for kitchen cabinets that you will need to spend on when you're undertaking this painting project.

If you’re not as confident using a brush but you want to avoid the brush marks, you may need to spend on a paint sprayer. To give your kitchen cabinets the appearance of a more professional finish, you may need to spend on sandpaper or a sanding device. Then, if you want to give it a protective finish or wax finish, you’ll need to spend on both the wax and the brushes for it.

Visit your local hardware store to see the materials they have available and how much they’ll cost you. Alternatively, you can contact Zothex Flooring and we’ll provide you with all the materials that you need at your specific budget.

How Much Time Are You Willing To Spend Painting Your Cabinets?

Painting cabinets with chalk paint tends to be a labor-intensive process. You’ll first need to remove all the objects that are inside of your kitchen cabinets to prepare. It’s then recommended to regularly clean your kitchen cabinets to avoid any dirt from disrupting the smooth finish that you want to have.

If the material of your kitchen cabinets is wood, you’ll need to expend time and energy sanding the areas that you intend to paint -- interior and exterior. You’ll need to brush on multiple coats of paint, especially if the material of your kitchen cabinets are darker and the paint that you intend to use is lighter. If you intend to use custom colors, it’s possible for you to mix chalk paint together, but it could take a few trials and errors.

There’s also the waiting time; you’ll need to wait hours between coats of chalk paint. Then you’ll need to spend time adding coats of wax to make it more durable.

Painting kitchen cabinets could take weeks depending on how many kitchen cabinets you intend to paint. If you don’t think that you have the time to dedicate to a fully kitchen cabinet makeover, you may always reach out to professional services such as Zothex Flooring to handle the job for you.

Style Your Kitchen with Zothex Flooring Kitchen Cabinets

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We are more than just a company that provides you with quality kitchen cabinets; we’re your partner in redesigning your kitchen and your home. 

Receive expert feedback and design guidance from our experienced designers. We’ll walk you through in detail about the right cabinets, flooring, countertops, and other design choices for your specific home. Then, we’ll design it for you; a truly unique kitchen that’s custom-made just for you. 

If you're interested in learning more about our products and services, contact us through our website or through our social media accounts.

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