Stain or Paint?
Painted vs. Stained Cabinets for the Kitchen or Bathroom
The choice between painting and staining your cabinets will depend on a number of factors. Each option has its own advantages and disadvantages. See how each stack up in categories like budget, water resistance, maintenance and return on investment.
|Acrylic Paint is best for:||Stain is best for:|
|Aesthetic||Smooth, modern look||Traditional, natural look|
|Low Budget||Medium-cost supplies||Lower-cost supplies|
|DIY||Tougher to do as it’s less forgiving to mistakes||Requires Experience|
|Water Resistance||More resistant to water||Less responsive|
|Cleanliness||Shows less dust and dirt||Shows more dust and hides more dirt|
|Longevity||15 &/stain-or-paint/8211; 20 years minimal maintenance||15 years but requires maintenance|
|Low-Maintenance||Very durable. Cleans easily||Washable but needs extra care|
|ROI||High ROI||High ROI|
Which Hides Dirt & Dust Best?
When it comes to dirt and dust, it all depends on the color of your cabinets. Dust will blend in with light paint or stain. Dark colors can disguise dirt in either finish. Acrylic paint tends to repel dust and dirt better than stain.
Length of Life
|Lasts 15 to 20 years. Durable and easy to keep clean simply wipe with wet micro cloth. Dry immediately. Chips and scrapes are easily repaired.||Lasts 20 to 30 years. But will show signs of wear if not properly cleaned. Also, if ammonia or alcohol cleaners are used, it will remove the finish and damage the cabinets. Scratches are difficult to repair.|
Resale Value & ROI
Whichever option you choose, updating your cabinets is always a good decision for ROI and resale value. Refinishing or painting cabinets is typically part of a minor kitchen remodel, which has a return on investment of about 81 percent.
- Paint: Neutral colors are good for resale, but bold ones can detract from the home’s appeal.
- Stain: Classic, natural look could appeal to more buyers.
Can you paint over my stained cabinets?
Yes, we can paint over a stain. Preparation typically includes cleaning, sanding and priming. In some cases, we may need to strip off varnish. However, we also use extreme bonding primers which eliminate the need to sand and prime.
Can you remove paint to stain?
Yes, we can stain cabinets that currently have paint on them. It is a lot of work to strip and sand the surface, but it will be worth it if you want a natural wood look.
Is stain and finish/varnish the same thing?
Stain and varnish are different products, though there are combination products also..
- Absorbs into surface
- Enhances hue and grain
Varnish or polyurethane
- Sits on top of surface
- Often diminishes grain appearance
- Can be flat or glossy