Painted cabinets vs Stained cabinets which holds up better?
September 8, 2013 in Design Dilemma
It seems like every picture is painted cabinets,(DIY painting or factory finish) but how do withstand years of use? When I read on some cabinet websites there are some disclaimers about their painted cabinet finishes and what would not be considered a defect.
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Nicole D
I would say stain the wood instead of painting it. It's wood so it has its on life expectancy. With paint you'll redo it over and over depending on the type of paint you use. If you stain the wood, it will preserve the wood better. Look at the life expectancy of the wood use & compare that to the life quality of the paint & stain. Simple math.
September 8, 2013 at 7:17AM      Thanked by bvicare
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I have painted my kitchen and bathroom cabinets two years ago. They still look great. The key is to sand them well and use a primer.
September 8, 2013 at 7:26AM      Thanked by bvicare
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Scott Design, Inc.
Both painted and stained cabinets have their issues.

There are people who do not like the mineral streaks, pin knots, grain and texture variations within panels that are typical of certain wood species. They find these to be defects. Custom cabinet shops have a greater degree of controlling these concerns but they cannot be avoided altogether. Darker stains can blend these conditions.

Painted as well as stained cabinets have joint fracturing concerns and unpainted/unstained reveals around the edges of panels where they enter the frame on a 5-pc. door. You just NOTICE IT MORE on painted cabinetry.

Relative humidity (RH) in your home is the cause. Below 40% RH provides an environment for wood to constrict and split. Over 60% RH causes rails and panels to expand and crack. This is a concern in bathroom environments where ventilation is important to keep this in check. Maintaining RH between 40% and 55% is the best RH environment for all furniture and wood elements in the home.

Damaged edges and chipping is another concern. Paint is very thin on edges for obvious reasons. The paint on the other surfaces has been built up to provide a good looking and strong finish. However, if this built-up finish with clear coat is hit hard enough, it may chip. This happens on stained cabinets but IS NOT AS NOTICEABLE because it is happening to the clear coat and not the color since the stain is in the wood, not on it.

So, whether painted or stained cabinets, these conditions can happen across the board. It's just that you SEE IT MORE on light stained or painted cabinets unless you have a glazed or distressed finish that helps to camouflage the wear and tear.

In addition to the manufacturing process, how you treat the cabinets once installed adds to the "years of use" mix.

The use of a hood/vent while cooking is imperative for the care and maintenance of cabinets. The oil particles coming from the cooking process...poaching fish, boiling pasta with a bit of olive oil, sautéing vegetables, simmering sauces, steaming meats...blend with ever-present dust particles in the air and become a sticky substance that adheres to surfaces in and out of the kitchen.

The oil on our hands from food prep as well as natural body oils add to "dirt" marks around knobs, pulls and appliance handles. The darker the finish, the less you see these but you still feel the stickiness. It begins to diminish the strength of the cabinet finish and requires you to stay on top of cleaning them. Otherwise, the harder you rub to remove the stickiness, the more you damage the finish and then it becomes a vicious circle.

Back in the 80's high density plastic laminates were the answer to most of this (chipping was a problem and not solvable by the homeowner). But no matter how creative the wood trim on the doors, or the use of wood handles and pulls, a decade later rejected this alternative. It was too commercial or contemporary looking.

So, back to wood and a level of maintenance and care. There is no perfect solution.
September 8, 2013 at 9:27AM        Thanked by bvicare
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