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Valspar Cabinet & Furniture Enamel: What You Need to Know

Valspar Cabinet & Furniture Enamel is the paint I recommend the MOST! Here is my review plus extra tips and application tricks for the best finish possible.

Valspar Cabinet & Furniture Enamel is the paint I am most passionate about! 

It’s not only great for cabinets but furniture too.

After using it to paint 10+ projects in my home, along with Porch Daydreamer fan reviews it’s a paint you need to know about.

You’ve come to the right place to learn all about Valspar Cabinet & Furniture Enamel because I have in depth knowledge of the paint technology and how to apply it the right way!

I worked for Valspar for over 5 years and helped launch the product in Lowe’s Home Improvement stores training the paint store staff.

Top 10 reasons I LOVE Valspar Cabinet & Furniture Enamel

Honesty, it was hard to stop at just 10!

So I honed in on the most important features.

After painting cabinets and furniture both plus applying glazes over the top, I have a lot of experience with how it performs.


There are so many reasons I love this paint, but here are the key reasons:

  2. This is a paint technology that acts like an oil and cures to a hard tough finish
  3. Water based, which means soap and water clean up
  4. Low odor, low VOC (volatile organic compounds/gasses)
  5. Available in almost all of Valspar’s paint colors (2,000+) plus custom tintable into other manufacturer’s colors
  6. Flows and levels beautifully, which means virtually no brush marks!
  7. Dries to a durable scratch and scuff resistant finish
  8. Non-yellowing like the old oil paints
  9. Can be sprayed or hand applied for a smooth finish
  10. Easy to touch up when needed

Number 1 and 10 go hand in hand.

If you just used a semi-gloss paint for your cabinets or furniture, I would always recommend a top coat of a water based polyurethane.

Since a top coat isn’t required with Valspar Cabinet & Furniture Enamel, you can easily touch up any scuffs or chips if they occur.

Just sand and reapply where needed.

If you had the same issue with semi-gloss latex paint and a top coat, it gets WAY more complicated having to sand, reapply and hope you match the top coat.

Forget about it if you have a chalk paint with wax over it! 

Valspar Enamel Paint Technology

This really is a new paint technology called an alkyd oil.

What that means in plain terms is there is a molecule of oil trapped inside the latex paint.

So once the paint dries and cures, it ends up being as tough as an oil based paint without the yellowing or environmental concerns.


Plus it has a very mild smell compared to the old oil paints. Cool!

Here is my nightstand which has been painted with Valspar Cabinet & Furniture Enamel.

I’ve never had any chipping or scuffing on the horizontal surface, where a lamp and knick knacks are placed. 

At night, I’ll leave a glass of water on my nightstand have never gotten a ring or watermark. 

The furniture has distressing and the enamel creates a finish that highlights and doesn’t mask the distressing.

Contains hand selected products, with affiliate marketing links where I may make a small commission if a purchase is made. {full disclosure here}

Applying Valspar Cabinet & Furniture Enamel

Let’s talk about applying this enamel, which is DIFFERENT than applying a regular latex paint.

If you are painting cabinets, please always use a semi-gloss sheen for durability.

Also, semi-gloss sheens are smoother so you can wipe them clean which is really important on cabinets.

Valspar Cabinet & Furniture Enamel: Semi-Gloss

A satin sheen would be nice for a piece of furniture, if you want less of a shiny finish.

Just know a satin sheen won’t look as smooth as a semi-gloss.

Before Painting

  • If the surface has any chipping or peeling paint or polyurethane, sand smooth and clean all sanding dust. Tack cloth is a great option to remove sanding dust.
  • No surface blemishes? Then clean with a degreaser like Krud Kutter Pre-Paint Cleaner.
  • Once clean, you can paint within 10 minutes after using Krud Kutter.

Most of the Time a Primer Is Needed with Valspar Cabinet & Furniture Enamel 

  • Despite what the label says I always prime with a Bonding Primer for the best adhesion and most durable results. 
  • It’s critical to apply a primer if you are painting over a STAIN, so you don’t experience brown streaking or bleed through. 
  • If you are painting over a regular semi-gloss paint, then you can clean and head straight to paint.

If you don’t know what bleed through is, please read: My Solution to Stop Chalk Paint Bleed Through

It can happen with ANY water based paint over a stain…not just chalk paint.

Hand Painting Enamel

If you are painting cabinets, even if you are spraying the drawers and doors, you will still have to hand apply the paint to the base cabinets.

99% of the time, when the finish isn’t smooth, it is a result of the applicator and the person applying 🙂

Part of my job at Valspar was working with customer complaints that ended up with our lawyers.

I can tell you, after we lab tested products that “supposedly failed”, the product was fine.


It was the person that didn’t read or follow the instructions, so I can’t emphasize enough to save yourself time and heartache FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS!

Tips when hand applying:

Use only these applicators: FOAM ROLLER and NYLON/POLYESTER BRUSH

Any other applicators will leave brush marks and an orange peel finish.

If you are digging into your stash of paint supplies and think nah, I’ll use my regular nap rollers laying around…YOU WILL REGRET IT!

Nap rollers will OVER APPLY the enamel and pull up the paint as you roll not giving you the smoothest finish. 

Why is over applying an issue? It will dry tacky or not fully dry…ever.

You heard me right and why do I know this? IT HAPPENED TO ME the first time I used it and didn’t follow the dry time instructions. 

I over applied Valspar Cabinet Enamel and it was sticky in the most annoying way.

This is an enamel and not a regular latex paint that you use to paint the walls.

Applying Valspar Cabinet & Furniture Enamel with a Brush

  1. Start with brushing before rolling and keep a wet edge rolling immediately after brushing
  2. The consistency is thinner, so you must watch for drips because it can run if heavily applied.
  3. Don’t overwork the paint by brushing it to much, which will create brush marks.
  4. Avoid over applying. Apply in a thin layer and let dry 8 to 12 hours, before the 2nd coat.



Applying Valspar Cabinet & Furniture Enamel with a Foam Roller

  1. Roll the largest expanses and in long consistent strokes follow the direction of the item, i.e. from top to bottom on a cabinet door and side to side on a drawer.
  2. Don’t overwork the paint by rolling it too much…the paint will start to come away from the surface.
  3. Avoid over applying. Apply in a thin layer and let dry 8 to 12 hours, before the 2nd coat.

SERIOUSLY, wait for each thin coat to dry because if you don’t the next coat may not stick properly.

It’s called “blocking” and then the paint will never fully dry.

TIP: If the paint is drying slowly or it’s humid outside, you can run a heated fan over the paint.

Spraying Valspar Cabinet & Furniture Enamel 

If you feel confident enough to use an airless paint sprayer, I highly recommend it!

Spraying helps you apply the thinnest coat possible, so it’s the smoothest finish.

That is how I usually apply the enamel and learned how-to use a sprayer on my own.


Want to know if it is time to invest in a paint sprayer?

When It’s Time to Buy a Paint Sprayer

Each high pressure low volume paint sprayer is a little different, so follow the manufacturer’s recommended settings.

Here are a few general tips, when applying with a paint sprayer

  1. Fill the sprayer with water and practice spraying on a piece of cardboard to get accustomed to the output.
  2. When in doubt about settings, start will the lowest force to see how much paint comes out.
  3. ALWAYS test spray the paint on a piece of cardboard before moving to the object you are painting…sprayers can sputter.
  4. Wipe the spray tip with a damp paper towel to avoid paint drying and spraying onto your object. 

Are you thoroughly convinced this is the BEST PAINT EVER?

I sure hope it becomes your go to paint…it is SO worth the price. 

Where to buy Valspar Cabinet & Furniture Enamel

Valspar Cabinet & Furniture Paint Tutorials

Want more in depth tutorials on how to paint or paint colors?

Please check out these blog posts:

It’s time to get painting and transform your cabinets or furniture into something special!

If you are looking for cabinet paint colors:

Check out my Paint Project Resource Guide for lots of helpful advice around paint and painting.

As my FREE GIFT to you, with email sign-up a detailed paint sheen project guide! 

You will know the right sheen for every project…


Please consider following me on Pinterest and Instagram for daily inspiration.

I’d appreciate you Pinning from this post to help me grow!

Until next time…

Porch Daydreamer


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  1. Can you use this over OIL based paints – like crown molding and base boards? (sorry if you addressed somewhere and I missed it.) If so, can we paint directly over (like we could if using another oil based paint) or would we have to use primer first? thanks!

  2. Hi! I am so glad to find your information today. I don’t know if you can help, but going to try. We had raw poplar shaker fronts for our poplar base cabinets. I painted Zinsser 123 primer and then sprayed two coats of Valspar Signature on the fronts. About 3 days later the frames started cracking and then popping. The frame part on the board kind of “exploded” and broke like lightening bolts on about 8 of them. The cabinet maker said it was my fault for putting that primer on them and that I should have just painted with the one coat. I definitely have a case of blocking as it’s been 3 weeks and it’s still tacky/sticky. So now I am repurchasing ones to replace the “exploded/split” fronts. But. I’m planning to sand and redo all of them with Cabinet paint this time. In your experience, have you ever heard of poplar cabinets behaving that way? Was it the 123 primer? Or was it the Valspar Signature? So weird. I don’t have access to any other the other paint stores so I can only go to Lowes for this. Hoping Cabinet paint helps this growing expensive new construction kitchen.

  3. Hello, we had a desk painted with the Valspar Cabinet & Furniture enamel paint The gentleman who did it for us used a sprayer and did several thin coats. It’s been two months and the desk top is still so sticky that papers stick to it. Not at all the outcome we were hoping for. I’ve always used oil paint on my projects before because it dries hard and is not sticky like normal latex is on drawers/doors. However, I decided to use this new hybrid paint this time for ease of use. Is this the “blocking” you mention and what can we do besides sand the entire desk and start over? Can we apply a poly acrylic top coat in order to make it less sticky?

    1. That is blocking. The painter likely didn’t follow the 8 hour re-coat time. You can try running a heated blower fan over it for a day to see if it helps at all. The top coat will just sit on top of the paint and it will still be soft underneath. Try the dryer, then a small test area of bonding primer and one coat of VCFE paint. After it dries, see if it’s still tacky. If it isn’t, you can apply the primer and start from scratch with the paint drying 8 hours between coats. If not, sanding is the answer. Sorry, I don’t have better news!

    1. Hi, Bill! Only if I see surface irregularities like brush marks or debris that got trapped. So I only sand that area and not the whole surface. As a general rule, I don’t sand between coats.

  4. Question about your Wagner Sprayer. Do you know if there is a difference between the one you recommended and the Flexio Sprayers by Wagner? I wasn’t able to find any info on their site for the model you recommended. Thanks

  5. I wish I read this yesterday! This was so helpful. Thank you! As the can and directions said, I did not sand or prime as you recommend. Now after waiting over 12 hours for my second coat, I still see the stain. Do you happen to have any recommendations? I am painting a stained wood dresser. I appreciate your help. Thank you!

  6. Hi! Would you mind sharing the colors used on your nightstands? I thought I wanted navy blue and white. But I like what you have done here. Thanks much!

    1. I’ll be painting our wood built-ins white. They’re currently stained but in good condition. Do I still need to sand before priming over them? Or can I just go right to priming?

  7. I. Getting very frustrated! I lightly sanded a cabinet, used the bonding primer, have applied 3 coats of white cabinet and furniture enamel and still have bleed through. How many coats does it take to fully cover without bleed through and streaking?

    1. Sorry for your frustration and I have not had this happen on any of my projects. Sounds like either you didn’t fully cover the surface with the primer allowing the stain or wood tanin to bleed through or the primer didn’t dry long enough before applying the paint. The best option is to apply the Valspar Bonding Primer (assuming this is what you used) over the top of the last coat of Valspar Cabinet Enamel. Let dry overnight and then apply the paint. Every project has variables and hard for me to know exactly what went wrong in your project.

  8. Hi, we just painted our tabletop a week ago and it came out beautifully. Last night, I accidentally dropped a wooden block on it and it marred up three areas. The paint is not chipped, but the paint looked scuffed. We tried to touch it up by just blending in more paint, but after letting it dry, you can still see the marks. Please help – Is there any way to save it? If it scuffs this easily, should we definitely apply polycrylic to the tabletop?

    1. Are the scuff marks actually dents? You’d have to fill in those with sandable wood putty. If they are truly scuffs, I’d recommend a light sand of the entire top with 220 grit paper, clean well, then apply bonding primer to the scuffed areas (assuming you used bonding primer before painting?). If you didn’t, I’d then apply bonding primer to the entire top after sanding, two coats of paint drying 8 hours in between…then 2 coats of Minwax Polycrylic to protect it.

  9. Hey I painted over a really dark,piece with snowflake white…after finishing,can I hit the edges with sand paper and give it a distressed look or is it recommended not to? Thanks

  10. Hi there and thanks for your tutorials! I am getting ready to paint my kitchen cabinets, inside and out! I am going to buy the wagner sprayer. My question is can I spray on the bonding primer, to the drawer fronts and cabinet doors? They are all just painted without polyuerethane finish, maybe I can skip the bonding primer? They are in okay shape, seem to be an eggshell finish, a few chips, but the color is terrible, so I ‘m brightening them.

  11. Awesome help – thanks! Do you have an idea of how long it takes to “cure”. I painted a file cabinet that’s the base for my standing desk and I’m wondering how long before I can put my VariDesk and computer equipment on top without fear of damaging the new finish?

  12. Hi! Thank you so much for this info! I have a question. I recently painted my cabinets with the Valspar Cabinet Paint, and I do not like the color at ALL. Mainly because I was given the wrong color and didn’t realize it until I was done with the first coat (I kept telling myself it wasn’t dry yet and would change colors… but they just tinted it wrong). Anyway, I now want to paint over the green Secret Moss & instead paint it a black color using the same type of paint! Do I need to sand down the previous semi-gloss green paint?

  13. I’m not sure if you know the answer but hopefully you can help me. I have used this paint in satin and it really is fantastic!!! I would like to know if you have maybe used it on IKEA furniture ( you know the crappy laminate bookcases)? If so could you tell me the steps to make the paint stick to this stuff? Thank you for your time.

  14. On the can is says do not dilute with water. But it was way too think for my sprayer. I had to add a bit of water. What effect will this have on the paint? It looks great and I gave it about 12 hours between coats. Should I put a top coat on because I had to think it a bit?? Thanks so much!!

    1. Sorry, I can’t tell you how it will be because I’ve never had this issue and don’t know how much you had to thin. My paint sprayer handles the product really well to the point I have to back off the force, so I’m not sure why yours didn’t work. It’s really no thicker than regular paint.

  15. I can’t thank you enough for your tutorials and tips for painting cabinets. I painted my kitchen cabinets last week and followed your directions to a “T” and I’m thrilled with the results! I was so nervous about doing this and too bad I waited so long. And the Valspar cabinet paint is AMAZING!

  16. Thank you for all of the information you have posted on Valspar Cabinet & Furniture paint. I painted my kitchen island with this product and it looks great! It was my first painting project too. I know you wrote NOT to use a top coat, but since this is the kitchen island and gets a real beating, could I use a polyurethane top coat on it for extra protection? If so, which one would you recommend?
    Thank you in advance for your help!
    Michele W

    1. Hey, Michelle! Happy to help 🙂 My kitchen and bathroom cabinets have held up well without a top coat. It’s easier to touch up if you don’t do a top coat. It’s really not necessary. I wouldn’t recommend it unless it is a kitchen table or kids play table.

  17. The back of the Valspar can says in all CAPS, DO NOT USE FOAM ROLLER. I just did all my cabinets with a foam roller and they look fantastic. Why would the can say that if it works great?

  18. My daughters furniture was done with chalk paint and we are not pleased with the outcome…not sure what happened as we have used chalk paint in other areas and were pleased. Does your comment “Forget about it if you have a chalk paint with wax over it!” mean I cannot use this Valspar furniture paint over top of the chalk paint?

    1. I need to play around with painting over wax, but everything I have read the only way it really works is to sand the wax off completely. Then prime and paint. Sorry, but I don’t have experience with this…yet 🙂

  19. I found your older paint tutorial and information on this paint and bonding primer a few months ago. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!! I love the way my furniture turned out! I have painted two complete bedrooms suites, and a dresser. They look great! My old dated furniture looks brand new and so fresh! Great products! Side note: If you can sell my hubby on it, you’ve done a remarkable thing! He hates to paint! lol. Thanks so much!

  20. I think your paint information is the best! After some bad experiences with painting over chalk paint ( and wax). Lots of peeling, sanding and stripping. Ugh! I would like to try the Valspar furniture paint on a stained dresser. Do I need to sand it before priming or just clean it with Krud Kutter ? The surface is in great shape. Also which white paint color do you recommend for furniture?
    Thank you so much!

    1. Thank you! Please check out the tutorials I have linked in the post for in depth information. Just clean and prime first 🙂 I’ve linked my favorite whites in the post about the top 20 kitchen cabinet combos.

      1. Hello!

        I just finished a cabinet paint project with this product. We painted over new factory painted cabinets and we primed first with valspar extreme adhesion bonding primer. We applied the paint with our sprayer and wound up doing 3 coats for full coverage, and I’m afraid we didn’t wait long enough in between coats. The finish is beautiful and factory like, but the paint is still tacky and scratching/peeling very easily 3 days later. I know we need to wait a full 7 for full curing but since we had only waited a few hours in between color coats, I’m worried about “blocking” like you described. Is there any way to salvage this? A clear coat of any sort?

        1. Sorry, that sounds like classic blocking where the paint adheres to itself and not the thing you are painting…ugh! The only way to fix it is to sand off the paint and start again, with a bonding primer and then wait at least 8 hours in between coats of paint.

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