Should you use oil or water-based paint for a hand painted kitchen? Top 10 reasons.


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It’s very common for people to ponder over oil-based and water-based paints for their hand paint kitchen cabinets. However, for years, painters in Dublin have been using these types for most wood paints, including kitchen cabinets. Just because oil-based paints are durable, easy to clean off with water, and last a long time, the dye itself causes discomfort due to VOCs.Now, Industries focus on making eco-friendly water-based paints, a reliable substitute for oil-based dye. Water-based paints have durability on par with oil-based dye but are safe to inhale. Though water-based paints have less advantage than oil-based paints, the gap isn’t wide enough to make you feel cheated.

Considering the pros and cons of both types, you should decide what colour to use to emulsion your kitchen cabinets.

Why use water-based paints?

Earlier, people would always go for oil-based paints as there were no alternatives. But now, most expert painters in Dublin prefer water-based emulsion for kitchen cabinets. Water-based paints are more expensive than oil-based dye, but it’s free of toxic fumes.


Water-based emulsions hardly smell as they have less odour than oil-based paints. This characteristic makes the paint easy for the painters to work with it comfortably, and also better for the people living in the house. If you want to handpaint kitchen cabinets, water-based colours are the best solution. Although it comes in gloss & satin finishes, the emulsion becomes washable similar to oil-based paints. That’s a reason why it is also suitable for wood varnish exteriors.

But then again, you would still want to know more about why we put it on the top to hand paint kitchen cabinets.

Oil-Based vs Water-Based: What’s the Difference?

Both oil and water dyes are suitable for painting kitchen cabinets, especially wooden doors and closets. The oil-based paints are ideal because of their durability and higher sheen level.

Despite giving a sturdy finishing to your cabinet doors, oil-based paints take a considerable amount of time to dry completely. For a stable climate (20 degrees celsius), it could take more than 16 hours to dry.

But even after drying completely, oil-based dye emits many VOCs that are hardly bearable with your windows closed. Sometimes, the odour becomes so strong that the painters in Dublin need to leave the kitchen for a couple of hours to let the wind change.

But oil-based dyes are super resilient to stains, making your cabinets preserve the outlook for a long time. Also, you could achieve a complete finish with only one coat sometimes. The biggest advantage of oil-based emulsion is, that the paint can fight off almost all types of scratches and bruises that happen if you hand paint kitchen cabinets with oil-based paints.

Then again, oil-based colours are hard to clean off. The dye sticks hard to the brushes and rollers, making it very difficult to clean them. It would be best if you always had a bit of turpentine to lose from the tools. Also, the oil-based dye turns yellowish over time and forms cracks in every place.

On the other hand, water-based dyes are best for kitchen cabinets, considering their worth. This is because water-based emulsion has significantly fewer (almost none) VOCs producing agents mixed in the colour solution, making it very light and suitable to breathe in.
It takes zero preparations to apply the water-based dye on your kitchen cabinets or the wood varnish exterior. Instead, you can use both brushes and sprayers to apply it manually.

Unlike oil-based colourants, the water-based dye can stick to uneven surfaces easily. In addition, the dye has a soft base that can cover any bruise on the cabinet doors and maintain a higher colour contrast, making it suitable for painters in Dublin.

Although water-based emulsion can soak into the woods and swell them from inside, you can prevent that by using a primer coat first. Also, you must be careful with brushes as they often leave brush marks when using water-based dye.

Considering all these facts above, it’s now clear to understand the difference between oil-based and water-based colours that you can use to hand paint kitchen cabinets. So now, let’s summarize both of the painting’s characteristics.

Characteristics of Oil-Based and Water-Based Paints

Oil-Based Paints-

  • Very durable finish
  • Higher sheen level
  • Resistant to scratches
  • Lasts longer
  • Easily cleanable and washable
  • Protect kitchen cabinets
  • Has a considerable amount of VOCs
  • It needs a long time to dry (up to 16 hours)
  • It needs potent cleaning agents to clean after using
  • Affordable cost

Water-Based Paints-

  • Eco-friendly
  • Better durability, almost close to oil-based
  • Zero VOCs
  • Short dry time (up to 6 hours)
  • Fit for all-weather
  • Suitable for even-uneven surfaces
  • Easy to use, easy to clean after finishing
  • Higher gloss level
  • Cleanable and washable
  • It needs some preparations to apply.
  • A low chance of wood swell by soaking the paint
  • Always use primers before performing hand painting kitchen
  • cabinets
  • Expensive than other

Do I have water-based or oil-based paint in my house?


As we stay in a chilled city in Dublin, it’s always cold here that we need to keep the windows closed almost all the time. Due to the advantages, it’s easier for me to use water dye on kitchen cabinets. It’s a green dye that’s suitable to breathe in. Unlike oil-based paints, where I had to leave my windows open to exhaust the VOCs and fumes, water-based paints leave no room for discomfort inside the enclosed space.

Also, I consider using eco-friendly dye for my kitchen cabinets and doing less harm to nature. Although it took a toll on my budget to buy these expensive water-based pigments, my painters in Dublin also found it better to apply the colour on the cabinets well.

In addition, water-based dyes are the best for the wood varnish exterior as well. Although I had used oil-based dye before when they were scarce, they couldn’t compete with the bright finish ofwater-based paints or the sheen level. That concludes my answer.


In the end, consider all the facts above before choosing what dye you should use on your hand paint kitchen cabinets for better results. Also, you need to sum up your budget, weather conditions, and affordable painters in Dublin before you choose between oil-based & water-based colourants.

Remember, any beginner painter can use water-based without trouble, but oil-based needs an expert hand. It’s best to pick the dye that goes well with your requirements, considering the pros and cons. To leave no error, call Painting In Colour now to get the best hand paint kitchen cabinets in Dublin.


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