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Kitchen Cabinet Painting vs. Staining in Omaha, NE

Kitchen Cabinet Painting vs. Staining in Omaha, NE


To stain or not to stain? That's the question many ask about their kitchen cabinets. Both painting and staining are effective finishes that can protect your cabinets against moisture damage and accelerated surface wear and tear. But how do you choose between the two?

If you're stranded between choosing paint and stain for your kitchen cabinets, this article will help. We'll take a detailed look at each option and the results you can expect with staining and/or painting.

Kitchen with stained cabinets

Kitchen Cabinet Staining 

A stain is a translucent wood finish that often gets absorbed into the cabinets to enhance their natural beauty. Stains vary in their opacity level and can be loosely classified into three types, i.e., solid, semi-transparent, and transparent stain. 

  • Solid stain–this stain behaves like paint; it doesn't penetrate the wood but instead forms a solid coating on the cabinets' surface. Solid stain offers a higher level of surface protection compared to the other two options. This type of stain is also great at covering surface imperfections, but it also hides the wood's natural beauty in the process.
  • Semi-transparent stain –this stain is a compromise between a solid and transparent stain and offers the best of both worlds. It penetrates the wood, slightly alters the color, but allows most of the wood grain to show through. Semi-transparent stain provides slightly lower surface protection compared to solid stain.
  • Transparent stain –Like the semi-transparent stain, this one gets absorbed into the wood but doesn't alter the color. It allows all the wood grains and knots to show through, but it offers the lowest level of surface protection.

Kitchen Cabinet Painting

Painting kitchen cabinets form a solid coat of the surface that protects the wood against water damage and soft surface wear and tear. It's equally a commonly used kitchen cabinet finish with a higher level of surface protection than staining. 

One of the best things about paint is that it gives you nearly limitless options for colors. Unlike stain, which only comes in browns, beiges, tans, and other earthy shades, painting leaves plenty of room for creativity and color scheme customization. Gray is one of the most popular paint colors for kitchen cabinets

Besides the color, you also get a variety of sheens, from eggshell and satin to semi-gloss and high-gloss. However, paint covers the wood's natural beauty, which can be a downside if you fancy the view of grains and knots in the wood. 


Kitchen with white painted cabinets

Should You Stain Or Paint?

From the above overview, it's clear that both paint and stain have pros and cons. So your choice will most likely be determined by the condition of the cabinets and your personal preferences. You might want to choose paint if you need freedom with color choices. The paint will allow you to create a unified color theme or complement pretty much any other dominant color in your kitchen. Additionally, if your kitchen cabinets are older and showing signs of surface imperfections such as scuff marks and bumps, paint can cover them up.

Kitchen cabinet staining is a more suitable option if you have newer cabinets and would like to show off the wood's natural beauty. However, if your cabinets have existing paint, staining them might prove to be a hassle. If you like the idea of staining, but your cabinets are a little dated, consider using the solid stain.

The Bottom Line

Both painting and staining are effective methods of kitchen cabinet refinishing. However, if you need a wider selection of colors or to cover surface imperfections, painting might be your best option. Staining, on the other hand, allows you to showcase the natural beauty of newer wood cabinets. 


At Brush & Roll Painting, we know that home painting is a serious investment. We also believe that any paint job is only as good as the prep. If you want a quality paint job that will stand the test of time, give us a call at (402) 932-9764 or schedule an estimate online.