Which is best, oil-based enamel or lacquer?

Questions & AnswersCategory: Cabinet PaintingWhich is best, oil-based enamel or lacquer?
Anonymous asked 10 years ago

I want to paint my kitchen cabinets white. Presently they are oak veneer with a polyurethane finish. I am getting conflicting opinions from different painters as to the type of paint to use. One recommends oil-based enamel and two others want to use lacquer. Can someone give me the pros and cons of each?

1 Answers
Crowder Painting answered.

Oil base paint is a better choice. If you plan on painting the cabinets yourself you will have to use paint, lacquer is spray only (no brushing).

* The pigmented lacquer dries very fast but cheap lacquer can be easily damaged by water.
* Cheap lacquer is a soft finish, easily scratched.
* Can dissolve the existing finish causing bubbling.
* Very strong solvent smell, lots of VOC's.
* Spray only, no brushing.

Oil Base Paint
* Oil base paint will cure to a hard finish that can take more abuse. Takes 30 days for a full cure.
* Easily damaged before a good cure. Depends on quality.
* User friendly application.
* Oil base paint smell will last for a few days.