a row of kitchen cabinets with a self leveling paint job

Self Leveling Paint

Originally contributed by Jeff Butler • last updated 3/15/2021

If you’re thinking about renovating your kitchen, one of the first items on your list might be to throw a fresh coat of paint on your worn cabinets. After all, a new paint job can really bring things back to life and brighten up any area. That being said, painting your kitchen cabinets might seem easy enough at first but getting the job done right takes knowledge and experience. One way to ensure a quality finish is to use self leveling paint. Wait! What?

Definition

Self leveling is a term that is used to describe certain types of paint that are designed to become smoother or level out as they dry. These types of paints are specially formulated to prevent brush strokes, stippling (specks from the roller), and roller marks from forming during the drying process. Paints with this type of unique formulation are preferred for kitchen cabinets and other highly-visible projects because of their final unblemished appearance. However, these paints are not suitable for every project as they are often more expensive and unnecessary.

What Are Some Problems With Self Leveling Paint?

Self leveling paints may seem like the perfect solution, allowing you to get a beautiful paint job every time. However, there are some factors that may keep these specially formulated paints from being used for just any application. Here are a few things to consider before you spend your budget on these pricey and complicated options.

  • Self leveling paints tend to be more expensive than regular paints, which can make them less than ideal for a budget project. However, the results are superior and may be worth the additional cost if your project is in a highly visible area, like kitchen cabinets.
  • To achieve the best results, these unique paints should be applied with a sprayer. Using brushes and rollers will still leave you with a near-perfect finish (and better than regular paint), but nothing beats a sprayer in terms of quality.
  • The self leveling quality these paints have is a feature of their unique formulation and not necessarily an option you can add to other paints. There are additives that may help reduce brush marks and create smoother surfaces but the final product may not have the same effect.
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