Paint for kitchen unit doors
A regular question / decision is what type of paint for kitchen unit doors. This is related to the services offered on the main page Hand-painted kitchens.
Which paint for kitchen units?
Not all paints are created equal and I will not specify a paint unless I am confident that it will perform well. I won’t blanket recommend a good paint, if the tech support and customer service and availability are major headaches. The following list is, I believe, a triumph of substance over marketing!
Tikkurila Feelings Furniture paint is specified by several of the country’s leading bespoke kitchen companies. Master kitchen painter Mark Nash has been working with these products for over 7 years, and have been behind Traditional Painter’s adoption of Tikkurila as our primary kitchen paint.
Holman Specialist Paints provide fantastic colour matching and delivery, and we have several specifications that we can rely on. On the whole, we highly recommend the Feelings satin-matt water-borne paint, as well as some of the oil finishes.
Scandinavian and Continental paints tend to be ahead of the UK mainstream trade alternatives, and the quality is reflected in the higher pricing. (They have stuck to the premium ideal, using top grade ingredients and smart technology to deliver high performance paint that is good looking and has long redecoration cycles in tough conditions.)
Alcro from Sweden, and Bekker (being replaced by Icahn) are examples of such companies who do a similar range of high spec paints that kitchen manufacturers specify ahead of the “usual suspects”. There is also Eico from Iceland, Osmo, Jotun, all of which will be featuring more in the minds as we continue to develop our services.
Traditional oil eggshell paints are a favourite finish for the classic traditional look. I highly recommend Little Greene Paint Company‘s English heritage range. Their eco oil-based eggshell is low sheen and suitable for interior AND exterior use.
The heritage colours are great, and the quality across their whole product range is impressive, compared to the mainstream UK trade competition. The environmental paint regulations in 2010 did not spoil Little Greene’s march, unlike a lot of high profile trade players, whose new, improved recipes have proven less than successful.
Also look at Sandersons and Paint Library, two more options from the same UK manufacturer.
If you prefer a modern sheenier look in oil, Dulux oil based eggshell is specified by some kitchen painters, however, you can do better.
(Sikkens are in the same corporate stable as Dulux paint, but they are the rich relations!)
For interior woodwork, Sikkens water-borne satin, Rubbol Satura BL is a reliable choice with trade users. Many will say it comes as close as any water-borne satin paint to an oil based finish.
(To be honest, though, I haven’t used it myself on kitchens, or even heard of many using it for cabinets or furniture in recent times, although we did use lots of the oil based Onol and Rubbol on fitted furniture in the 90’s).
If you need a zero VOC, non toxic almost no odour high performance water-based eco acrylic paint (apologies for more adjectives than you can shake a paint stick at), then Mythic primer and semi-gloss paints are very compelling choices.
The primer has very strong adhesion. The semi gloss is a lovely lustrous finish. It is sheenier than satin. It sprays really well. Mythic is not a heavy body paint but has good opacity. It comes in 1200 plus colours.
The eggshell enamel is almost flat, like real eggshells. It dries hard, will wipe clean, but is probably best used in quiet kitchens and low traffic areas.
I am loathe to be negative, but whilst many have been happy to use Mythic products for the above reasons, 4 or 5 decorators I know personally, plus myself, have been disappointed with Mythic customer service. So what, if the paint is good?
Inevitably there will always be issues, be it with colours or some weirdness with surface treatment, and you need a solution, and quick. Unfortunately, in the event of technical back-up requests, support has proven patchy and this has spoilt any advantage of using these products. I don’t know if that is being resolved, but til then, I’m very lukewarm about pushing this option, just in case.
If you are especially hard on your kitchen, I would suggest sticking with clear lacquer on natural timber.
For an industrial strength painted finish, you should contact Lee at 5Bridge. They have a spraying specialist who can deliver a range of 1- and 2-pack acid-cat finishes in all sorts of sheens from 10% on up.
Be aware, this is a factory paint finish, almost like a laminate rather than paint. It’s an option.
Annie Sloan chalk paint is an interesting alternative to traditional paint finishes. If you like the French or Swedish painted furniture style, where character is a premium, this might be for you. It requires minimal preparation on any surface, and once applied, the paint can be sanded smooth, or distressed a la shabby chic, and then sealed with 3 coats of wax, or varnish as a protective coat.
And for what it is worth, Annie Sloan likes how I buff up wax with all my manly power tools.
What about Farrow and Ball?
In my opinion, F&B are brilliant at marketing, – most enquiries I get start with, I want my kitchen painted in farrow and Ball (insert a name) paint. I do love their colour philosophy, but Farrow and Ball aren’t the only traditional paint company in town. In fact, they are new to the game compared to Little Greene, whose English Heritage colours are also fabulous, and most importantly for kitchen painting projects, Little Greene paint is a totally reliable, trade quality product.
But I want a Farrow and Ball “clunch” or “off white” kitchen. No problem. Whilst colour swatches and trade names are quite rightly copyrighted, colour per se is not!!! And current technology gives us endless possibilities to mix almost any paint to exactly colour match any painted sample, piece of fabric, detail in wallpaper, furniture. We do it all the time. If you have a colour in mind for your kitchen cabinets, it can be matched (both colour and sheen) in the best trade paints for the job.
But I really really do want F&B paint on my kitchen!!
On brand new kitchens and furniture, F&B paint will do you fine, many kitchen companies are happy with it. It is a robust finish and low sheen, but the feedback from long term professional kitchen painters is that designers seem to specify it because it is Farrow and Ball, and plays into the marketing buzz. Purists seem to come down on the side of the Scandinavian paints, saying they are in a different league for application and performance.
We are purists!
This is where we go round full circle to specially formulated furniture paint mixed in any colour.
Contact us for details if that is what you want on your next kitchen painting project.
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Basis of a TP recommendation | Kitchens | Furniture
Since day one we have been committed to sharing our hard earned knowledge with readers. In our case studies we openly explain how we prepare and paint kitchens and furniture. We also share decades of specialist decorating experience in TP blog articles in the hope that all DIY and trade decorators can take away and use our ideas to achieve better, more professional results.
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