Learn why I don’t use chalk paint, and the painting techniques I DO use when painting furniture and cabinets for our home.
One of my most popular posts is How To Paint Furniture. It’s a long post, with a lot of steps. Every so often I will get asked by a reader, why I don’t use chalk paint instead of priming and using latex paint.
So, I thought I would address this question, because I do have strong opinions about chalk paint! A lot of you may love it, and that’s OK. These are only my opinions. Do what works for you!
Why I Don’t Use Chalk Paint
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So, what is chalk paint? Chalk paint is actually the trademarked name of the Annie Sloan brand of chalky paint. There are a lot of other brands of chalky paint. It’s mostly used for furniture and other items, not walls. It’s biggest claim is that it is much easier to use than latex or oil paints.
You may be wondering why wouldn’t I use chalk paint if it’s easier to use than latex or oil paints? I’m not a professional painter, but I have painted a lot of furniture, trim and cabinets over the last few years.
Because I love to research things, I did look into painting our furniture with chalk paint but decided against it. Here are my reasons for why I don’t use chalk paint.
1. The Look – My biggest reason for not using chalk paint is the look. Chalk paint is a matte finish that lends itself well to having a distressed look. I’m just not into distressed furniture.
If the piece is very lightly distressed, meaning that the piece has been lightly sanded to produce the look of wear on the edges where natural wear would happen, I’m OK with that.
In fact, this white trunk sits in our living room, and came with some of the paint slightly sanded. The trunk is not painted with chalk paint, but does have a slightly distressed look on some of the edges where you would normally see wear.
I’m not a fan of the heavily distressed furniture that has become popular over the last few years. I’m sure you’ve seen the pieces of furniture that look like they’ve been chained to the back of a truck and hauled along a gravel road for a few miles. Just not my thing.
2. The Price – Chalk paint can be expensive. A quart of chalk paint can run $34.95/quart. The latex paint that I love to use costs $42.00/gallon, and comes in hundreds of colors.
If you use chalk paint, it is also recommended that use a special wax to help seal the paint, and a special brush. Both of which can be expensive. When I paint with latex paint, I do have to prime the piece first but a gallon of primer goes a long way. Also, I love my inexpensive Wooster paintbrush!
3. The No Sanding Or Priming Claim – One of the big selling features of chalk paint is that you don’t need to sand or prime your piece first before painting, so it saves time. What they don’t tell you is that you will be spending a lot of time after you paint with the waxing. So, I’m not sure how much time you’re actually going to save.
I’ve never waxed a piece of furniture before, but I’ve heard many times that it can be a tricky process to get the results you want.
Also, unless you’re into the heavily distressed look, you will probably want to sand your furniture first anyway. It helps with adhesion of the paint and gives you a much better finished product.
4. The Durability – When I was researching chalk paint a few years ago, I kept reading great things about it. It’s so fast and easy. People loved it. But, I also started reading some stories about the paint coming off easily, even after it should have had time to cure. Waxing is supposed to help with that, but I’ve read horror stories about the wax not curing even months after being applied. Also, the matte finish can absorb stains easily.
I believe the multi-step process of sanding, priming and painting that I use when I paint furniture, cabinets and walls is the most durable, tried and true method. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and do things the hard way, because they work better!
Again, these are just my opinions about chalk paint. You may love it, but it’s not for me.