Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cabinet Update/ Ace Hardware Cabinet Enamel Review

First off, let me start by saying that this is not a paid review of Ace Hardware Cabinet, Door & Trim Enamel. However, when I was researching about painting cabinets, I came across lots of instances of people asking about Ace's Cabinet Enamel online, and very few instances of people actually giving their reviews, so I thought I might include that here just-in-cases (have a cookie if you can name that movie!).


So, here's what I have to say so far:
  • The Ace Hardware Cabinet, Door, & Trim Enamel is an "alkatex" paint, which I gather means that it is supposed to function like oil-based paint, but washes up with water like a latex paint. It's also supposed to dry to more of an enamel for added durability on things like cabinets. It does wash up pretty well, but it tended to leave my hands and the brushes/rollers feeling a bit sticky, and that residue never really left the brushes/rollers. So, you may have to replace the rollers a little bit more frequently than you would if you used latex paint. 
  • This particular paint is different than any latex paint I've used--it starts to set up in about 30 seconds. You have to work quickly and have a plan as you're painting, 'cause there's really no going back for touch-ups. 
  • The paint also looks TERRIBLE as it's drying. This is the one thing that I consistently read online about this paint, and it is totally true. You'll look at it and think, 'I must be the worst painter in the world--there's no way this is going to end up looking good.'  Apparently, it looks so wonky because the paint has self-leveling properties that are designed to help minimize brush strokes. 
  • However, because of the self-leveling business, the can recommends waiting a full 24 hours in between coats. This seems to be super counter-intuitive because the paint begins to set up so quickly, but it really does remain tacky for quite some time. On occasion we'd go ahead at the 16 or 18 hour mark since there's not much humidity here, but you definitely need to wait about a day in between coats. So, if you're doing both the insides and outsides of the cabinet doors (as we are), you're in for a long haul! 
  • So far, we've consistently needed 3-4 coats of the enamel (plus sanding and a coat of primer). I did try using two coats of primer once to see if I could get away with two coats of the enamel, but that was interestingly the only time I've actually had to use FOUR coats of the enamel paint. 
  • I've tried using both a smooth and a semi-smooth roller for the enamel. They seem to produce the same end result, but I slightly prefer the smooth roller. That said, I just used the semi-smooth roller again since my smooth roller got all gunky, and it's growing on me--I think I may use less paint with the semi-smooth roller. 
  • Painting the cabinet doors on a drop cloth on the kitchen floor is no fun. I had cat hair, my hair, dirt from Justin's work boots, and an aching back. No bueno. Thank goodness I wised up today and put everything up on folding tables!




 This last pic probably most closely captures the paint in the kitchen--a light bluish green.

Overall, I think that it's been worth the extra time to go with the enamel paint. It does seem to look more like white cabinets than cabinets that have been painted white--there really are very few brush strokes. Aside from needing light sanding in a few places, it looks pretty good.

That said, we may wait awhile before we tackle the bottom cabinets. I've realized that visual clutter stresses me out a LOT. Seeing all the open shelving stresses me out. Having cabinets all over our kitchen and on our dining room table stresses me out--especially since there is very little counter space available for cooking and it has also meant eating all our meals in the living room, which is obviously less than desirable with a toddler. I'm just hoping that seeing the doors on the upper cabinets gives me the final kick in the butt that I need in order to get the bottoms finished...eventually.


  1. It looks perfectly amazing! And seriously, your dishes match your kitchen so well I was going to suggest having some open shelving for them... but then I saw that seeing all the dishes makes you stressed so I guess that's not a great idea :)

  2. What a great review! I need to remember to go back and do reviews more often.

    Your kitchen is looking fabulous. Really clean and crisp. I may have to try this. I usually prime with oil-based and then use Behr, but this could be a better way.

  3. We went with the Cabinet Transformations ( i was pretty much bullied into it at Home Depot - hate that place!) and I would say similar things about it. Looked awful drying but turns out really well. Our white kitchens are making me happy!

  4. Looking amazing! I can't imagine undertaking a project like this, and needing to take over my dining area with Colton around. Way to go!

  5. Looks awesome, Mere! I so wish we could paint our cabinets white but Jim says no :( I just love how light and airy your kitchen looks. Take that break if you need it. You'll eventually get the motivation to tackle those lower cabinets :)

  6. Great job! I can't wait to see the finished product!

  7. I'd just like to say that Love Actually is one of my faves... and I say just-in-cases ALL the time. Nobody ever gets it!

  8. It is fun that you and Emily posted about painting your kitchen's white on the same day. I went from one white kitchen to the next. Looks good. You are making me question my decision to stick with the honey colored wood in our kitchen . . .

  9. We have been debating on painting our cabinets... and I think you are pushing me over the edge!!

  10. I think your house looks great!
    I can't wait until I get to visit you guys there someday!

  11. To prevent back ache: Rather than painting on the floor, buy or make a couple of sawhorses and straddle a pair of 2x4's between them to lay the cabinet doors on.


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