What Kind Of Paint Should You Use On Bathroom Cabinets?

Figuring out the right kind of paint to use during a bathroom renovation can feel impossible without some help. Do you want your cabinets to have a matte finish, or is something glossy more your style? We've done the work to bring you the answers. Let's get into this.

According to our research, you should use water-based alkyd paint on bathroom cabinets. We say this because alkyd paints cure hard, meaning they can handle high traffic and a bit of wear and tear. We also found that latex and acrylic paint is durable enough for a bathroom and dries faster than traditional options. Regardless of what paint you go with, make sure to choose one strong enough to withstand moisture and everyday use.

As we dive into this topic, we will share the best paints to use on your bathroom cabinets and tag some related products. It is super important to find a paint that dries on well and can be easily wiped down or cleaned. With all that said, let's get this post started!

Contemporary modern bathroom design with bathtub, double sink vanity and mirror, What Kind Of Paint Should You Use On Bathroom Cabinets?

What Should I Look For In A Paint?

When it comes to finding good paint for your bathroom cabinets, its finish and ingredients are everything. A bathroom tends to change temperature and moisture levels much more dramatically than other areas of the home, so your paint has got to be adaptable. A good set of bathroom paint ingredients are water-based and enamel-containing options. This is because of their durability in moister temperatures and easy to clean finish.

What Is The Best Finish For Bathroom Cabinets?

From what we have found, the best finish for bathroom cabinets is a semi-gloss option. We say this because semi-gloss finishes can easily withstand moisture and a bit of everyday wear. You want to be able to wipe down your cabinets, and glossier paint makes that much easier to accomplish. Overall, the paint in your bathroom should have a sheen finish of some kind.

INSL-X Enamel Cabinet Coat Satin Sheen White Paint

Here is a semi-gloss white cabinet paint from INSL-X that is perfect for the bathroom. This paint promises to have a satin sheen finish and covers up to 400 square feet per gallon.

Check out this glossy white paint on Amazon here.

Nuvo Cabinet Glossy Light Grey Paint

Here is another bathroom cabinet paint option from Nuvo that is also semi-glossy. This paint is a water-based acrylic option and promises to be bathroom safe, and has a glossy finish.

View this glossy light gray pant on Amazon here.

Why Is Alkyd Paint Good For Bathroom Cabinets?

As we mentioned earlier, one of the better paints to use in a bathroom is a water-based alkyd option. This specific type of paint has a similar consistency to oil and is one of the most durable paint options available on the market. Typically, alkyd is slow drying but lasts much longer than other paints. From what we found, alkyd paint is considered low maintenance and rarely requires a touch-up.

Is Alkyd Paint Safe To Breathe In?

Considering that alkyd is synthetic oil, we recommend not breathing it in for too long. Any water-based paint will be safer to breathe in versus chemical options but should not be inhaled for too long. Not all alkyd paints are water-based and can be made with some pretty toxic ingredients, so keep that in mind. Alkyd paints also tend to splatter, so we suggest laying a tarp down to protect your floors.

Rust-Oleum Alkyd Enamel High Gloss Dairy White Paint

Here is an alkyd enamel paint from Rust-Oleum that will work on bathroom cabinets. This mineral paint has a high gloss finish and is considered food and beverage grade.

Check out this alkyd enamel paint on Amazon here.

Is Latex Or Acrylic Paint Better For The Bathroom?

Sleek design in well planned bathroom

When it comes to which paint is better, that will come down to your preference. Latex paint has a chemical base versus acrylic paint with a water base, which may be a dealbreaker for you. Both of these paints have a glossy finish, so either one is perfect for a bathroom cabinet project. Between the two, clean-up is much easier when you use acrylic paint and can be done using a housecleaner or soap and water. Latex or paints with chemical bases will need a deeper clean and harsher products to remove them.

Do Latex And Acrylic Paints Have A Glossy Finish?

The good news about either of these paints is that they both have glossy finishes. Latex and acrylic paints are among the glossier options you can choose from and even come in semi-matte finishes. If you are not feeling an entirely glossed look, we recommend going with semi-gloss or even semi-matte latex or acrylic paint.

Diamond Brite 1 Quart Semi-Gloss Latex Paint

Here is a semi-gloss latex paint from Diamond Brite that will work on bathroom cabinets. This paint promises to be durable enough for the bathroom and is dirt and grease-resistant.

View this latex semi-gloss paint on Amazon here.

Nuvo Olde Sage 1 Day Cabinet Makeover Kit

Here is a "one-day makeover" cabinet paint kit from Nuvo. This gray-green paint is water-based acrylic, has a satin finish, and cures in eight hours.

Follow this link to see this painting kit on Amazon.

Do You Need To Sand Bathroom Cabinets Before Painting?

If you are stuck between sanding your bathroom cabinets or not, that depends on how well your old paint has held out. It is recommended to sand down any uneven areas where old paint is chipped before applying a new coat to your cabinets. You do not have to go crazy when you sand your cabinets down, just enough to allow fresh paint to go on evenly. If you are working with stripped wood, that is when you should sand your cabinets down more extensively.

What Should I Do To Prep My Cabinets For New Paint?

To prepare your cabinets for new paint, start by removing any hardware and go from there. Once your hardware is off, grab a cleaning wipe or spray to scrub down the inside and outside of your cabinets. You want to make sure there is no grease or dirt left on your cabinets, which can cause uneven texture in new paint. We recommend using a product with Trisodium phosphate to strip away any excess dirt or loose paint your cabinets might have leftover.

Savogran Dirtex Powder Cleaner

Here is a powerful powder cleaner from Savogran that contains Trisodium phosphate. This powder promises to strip off any dirt or paint from your cabinets and leave them ready to be repainted or waxed.

See this powder cleaner on Amazon here.

ThxToms Nitrile Chemical Resistant Gloves

Here we have a pair of chemical-resistant gloves from ThxToms. This pair of gloves have an odor-blocking lining, protect your skin from acids, household cleaners, and oils, and are latex rubber-free.

Check out these chemical-resistant gloves on Amazon here.

What Do You Seal Bathroom Cabinets With?

We recommend sealing your bathroom cabinets with a durable lacquer. This is essentially a smoothing coat for your cabinets that will protect them against scratching and chipping in the future. You can also use lacquer on freshly sanded cabinets to smooth them out before painting or staining them. Typically, you should only need two coats of lacquer to seal your cabinets fully.

Should I Apply A Top Coat Over My Paint?

From the cabinets we came across, a topcoat is unnecessary if you use semi-gloss paint. Your cabinets will already have a thick protective layer on top of them if you use one of our recommended paints, so a topcoat is not highly beneficial. We suggest sticking with less paint rather than more to avoid bubbling and running cabinet paint.

Mohawk Pre-Catalyzed Clear Lacquer

Here is a clear lacquer that is perfect for your bathroom cabinets. This aerosol spray has a satin finish and can go on natural or painted wood cabinets.

See this clear lacquer on Amazon here.

Can You Paint Over Laminate Bathroom Cabinets?

Repainting kitchen cabinet doors with white chalk paint indoors at home

If you are hoping to paint over your laminate cabinets, hope is not all lost. You can paint over laminate cabinets as long as they are not peeling or damaged. Like wooden cabinets, make sure you take off any hardware and sand down uneven corners or areas. We recommend going with latex or oil-based paint that has a built-in primer included.

Should I Use Paint With A Matte Finish On Laminate Cabinets?

The best finish to use on a laminate cabinet is satin or at least semi-glossy, from what we read. Although Laminate already has a somewhat smooth finish, a matte paint will not apply as evenly as a glossy option. It is a good idea to choose a darker color than what is currently on your cabinets.

Beyond Paint Soft Gray All-In-One Refinishing Paint

Here is an all-in-one refinishing paint from the Beyond Paint store that will work on laminate. This paint promises a quick and easy application and has a gloss finish.

See this refinishing paint on Amazon here.

Beyond Paint Pebble All-In-One Refinishing Paint

Here is another refinishing paint from Beyond Paint that you can use on laminate cabinets. This paint promises to go on smoothly and has a semi-gloss finish.

Check out this semi-gloss paint on Amazon here.

How Do You Waterproof Bathroom Cabinets?

To waterproof your bathroom cabinets, apply a water-resistant finish to your cabinet's surface. As we mentioned earlier, it is essential to prep your cabinets before applying any product. We suggest using a spray with polyurethane to repel water and keep your cabinets safe. If you are still planning your cabinet project, consider using paint with an oil base or one that is already waterproof.

Do Water Resistant Paints Work?

Although the idea of water-resistant paint seems too good to be true, there are some good options. Water and mildew-resistant paints are a quick fix to cabinet warping or damage and can end up saving you a ton of money over time. Typical water-resistant paints have a glossy finish, which we recommend, and work well in bathroom spaces. Like the lacquer, waterproofing paint essentially seals your cabinets and repels any moisture your cabinets are exposed to.

Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane Aerosol

Here is a waterproofing spray from Minwax that you can use on bathroom cabinets. This aerosol polyurethane spray promises to protect and repel your cabinets from moisture and dries on with a satin finish.

Follow this link to see this waterproofing spray on Amazon.

Diamond Brite Mildew Semi-Gloss Latex Paint

Here is mildew repelling white latex paint from Diamond Brite that is perfect for the bathroom. This semi-gloss paint is easy to clean and can be brushed, rolled, or sprayed onto your bathroom cabinets.

View this latex paint on Amazon here.

Final Thoughts

Whether you came here knowing the ins and outs of bathroom cabinetry or not, finding the right paint is essential. The bathroom is a hectic and well-lived-in space in any home, and your paint has got to be able to take a beating. A semi-gloss finish is what we found works the best on bathroom cabinets and doesn't require too much upkeep.

Alkyd, latex, and acrylic paints turned out to be among the strongest and most durable options for bathroom cabinetry, and all have unique advantages. Regardless of what kind of paint you choose, make sure to prep and clean your cabinets before grabbing your paintbrush!

Want to catch up on even more home decor advice? Head on over to these related posts!

Does A Bathroom Vanity Need A Backsplash?

Should Bathroom Countertops Match The Floor?

How To Tell If A Bathtub And Shower Are Fiberglass Or Acrylic?

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