Will New White Custom Cabinets Chip?
lbmonroe
September 27, 2013 in Design Dilemma
I'm wondering if anyone has advice regarding new white kitchen cabinets? We have a new white vanity in the bathroom and it has not held up well at all (lots of chips and paint splinters, though admittedly, I'm not sure what type of material was painted). For our kitchen remodel I've had my heart set on wood cabinets in a white finish. Problem is, I don't want the paint to chip easily. We are not refinishing existing cabinets - I would be purchasing new cabinets (and not laminate). We have two young kids, so while I expect a certain amount of wear and tear, I don't want my new kitchen to be quickly tarnished by chips and/or peeling. Our home is very small so doing something darker or natural just isn't what I want. Thanks in advance for the feedback!
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Rockin' Fine Finish
Stained cabinets will hold up better but quality maple painted cabinets can last a long time without chipping a white tinted conversion varnish will be the most durable
September 27, 2013 at 4:39pm      Thanked by lbmonroe
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lbmonroe
Is the conversion varnish a finish coat (over paint) or more like a tinted stain? Thank you!
September 27, 2013 at 5:23pm   
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Rockin' Fine Finish
No it's a paint most cabinet shops use it or tinted lacquer conversion varnish will be more durable than lacquer ask the cabinet maker what they use
September 27, 2013 at 5:26pm   
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Someone's in the Kitchen, Inc.
In our experience, cabinet door paint cracking, chipping and peeling have two causes. The first is that paint tends to be a thicker and more rigid finish than varnish. So a finish that puts the primary white pigment right into the varnish top-coat is -- as mentioned by Rockin' -- is a bit less vulnerable. The other cause is seasonal movement among the various pieces of wood that comprise the door. As this movement occurs, inevitably there will appear small cracks at the frame joints (of the doors and of the cabinet frame). With stained wood finishes, these movement cracks are rarely noticed (...thinner finish, surrounding wood grain), or of little concern.

But with the thicker painted finishes, the cracks are not only more noticable, but can become the start of some crumbling-peeling of the paint. (Bathrooms have the widest humidity variablility, so this concern is aggravated there.)

Our best results with white cabinetry are with painted or tinted top-coated MDF doors, which have no frame joints - on frameless cabinetry, which also has no frame joints. Recent CNC developments allow very nice door shpaes, almost indistinguishable from painted maple.
I can;t attach images from where I am at the moment, but if you wish, you can see some nice examples in our projects 191202, 241302,91012, and 261207. Good Luck! Mark
September 27, 2013 at 7:27pm      Thanked by lbmonroe
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lbmonroe
Mark, Thank you so much! Are you able to touch up the chips/cracks with an MDF base?
September 30, 2013 at 10:00am   
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Someone's in the Kitchen, Inc.
Hi lb - The best finishes will need to be touched up with two-part material, a small amount of catalyst (hardener) mixed with the pigment right before you apply it. It is, of course, not possible to get a home-applied touch-up to match the pristine smoothness of the factory-
sprayed finish. But it will do a pretty good job of dealing with nicks, etc. Best to apply very sparingly, then again if necessary, to minimize bumps and blobs of material.

BTW - here are some images from one of the projects I mentioned above. This finish is an off-white, with platinum highlights.
September 30, 2013 at 10:24am      Thanked by lbmonroe
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Someone's in the Kitchen, Inc.
Also -- cabinetry paint is less vulnerable to damage if it is without sharp edges. Door-drawer front styles that softly round over edges will stay "new" looking the best.
September 30, 2013 at 10:29am      Thanked by lbmonroe
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lbmonroe
Great point. Our bathroom cabinets (which have traditional shaker style doors/drawers) have held up miserably.
September 30, 2013 at 10:34am   
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