How to decide if you should paint or stain your cabinets

It can be difficult to decide on whether to paint or stain your cabinets. In this article, I will provide you with information that will help you make the right decision.

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What is the Difference?

Because most cabinets are made of wood, they can either be painted or stained. The difference is that a coat of paint will sit on top of the wood whereas a stain penetrates the wood. Generally, professional painting contractors with expertise in cabinet refinishing such as Metro Precision Painting will provide both cabinet painting and staining services. Though if you are handy, you might be able to do it yourself.

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What is more expensive?

One big factor that might influence your decision is your budget. On average, the price increase would be about 10% more to have a cabinet painting professional paint your cabinets instead of staining them. Your budget should not be the only deciding factor, as it is important to know that getting your cabinets painted generally looks better than just getting them stained. If you are happy with the color of your cabinets, then it is recommended to just get them stained so you can save money and still be happy with the result

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Which is more durable?

The simple answer is that stained cabinets are more durable than painted cabinets. This is because it is way easier to spot imperfections of painted cabinets as chipped or fractured paint is more apparent than an imperfection on a stained cabinet. This issue is amplified if you paint your cabinets a lighter color, as chips in the paint will become even more apparent. If this is a concern to you, it is recommended you go with darker colors, so imperfections are harder to detect.

photo of a wooden bookshelf
Photo by Karl Solano on


When choosing between staining or painting your cabinets, there are three main things to consider. Your budget, the design, and the durability. Both options are still a great idea as you will save a lot of money updating your cabinets instead of investing in brand new ones. These two options are fantastic ways to increase the value of your home.


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