a row of kitchen cabinets with a self leveling paint job

Self Leveling Paint

Originally contributed by Jeff Butler • last updated 1/5/2021

The idea of simply painting your kitchen cabinets might seem easy enough at first. But, in practice, getting the job done right takes knowledge and experience. One way to ensure a quality finish is to use self leveling paint. Wait! What is self leveling paint?


Self leveling is a term that is used to describe certain types of paint that become smoother (or level out) as they dry. These self leveling paints are specially formulated to prevent brush strokes, stippling (specks from the roller), and roller marks from forming during the drying process. Paints with a self leveling formulation are preferred for kitchen cabinets and other highly-visible projects because of their unblemished appearance.

A Few Important Points About Self Leveling Paint

Self leveling is more of a feature or a characteristic of the way certain paints are formulated and not really an option you can add to other paints. There are additives you can add to paints that may help reduce marks and create smoother surfaces but the final product may not have the same self leveling effect.

  • Self leveling paint tends to be more expensive than regular paints, which can make it less than ideal for a budget project. However, the results are superior and may be worth the additional cost.
  • To achieve the best results, self leveling paint should be applied with a sprayer. Using brushes and rollers to apply self leveling paint will still leave you with a near-perfect finish, but nothing beats a sprayer in terms of quality.