If you have Painted Cabinets . . . .

quiltgirlFebruary 7, 2013

If you have painted cabinets, are they all wood or a mixture of wood and MDF board? Do you have any cracks or separations in the paint? How long have you had them and how would you rate the wearing of your catalyzed application? My cabinet maker is suggesting a light rub through here and there so if there are any dings or scratches made over time, it will not be as noticeable. Any thoughts on this?

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Great question and one I'm following as we're days away from our cabinet maker starting to make our cabinets. He also did our built-ins in our bedroom (which are basically the same as what our cabinets will be) and they were solid wood. We've had no cracks or separation problems at all.

Now, our existing cabinets, which are all wood, although of questionable quality and at least 20 years old, do have cracks and there are some expansion-related issues on the larger panels.

As for the light rub, I think that completely depends on the look you're going for. I think that even a light rub changes the look dramatically to something more antique or farmhouse-like. If you like that, then that's great. If you don't I wouldn't go there. I'm just not in the start-with-it-distressed so that you can't see wear camp, but that's just me.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:14AM
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Our all wood painted cabinets were installed 1 year ago. We chose all wood hoping that the surfaces will all age consistently. With a big dog, lots of friends and a teenager our family is hard on all surfaces. We installed painted cabinets and considered a rubbed edge finish but decided not to. I'm glad we didn't. The fews dings and scratches in our cabinets are in the middles and in random places: like where a ball was kicked or where a heavy pot lid was dropped into the middle of a lower drawer. The corners and edges have held up very well with no visible rub marks or dings. After 1 year I find the professionally applied finish to be in amazingly good condition. I agree with wi-sailor girl that much depends on your style but I wouldn't start out with the rubbed finish unless it really fits into a cozy country design. It will be interesting to hear what you choose.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 12:01PM
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My painted cabs are all wood and there are no cracks or separations in the paint so far - about one year. I was a bit worried about the floating panels in that during the dryest part of the year (now) that the panels would shrink and show a very small unpainted area between the panels and the rails and stiles of the door frames. The maker thought ahead and painted the panels before they were fit into the frames. Therefore, no issues when they shrink abit.

I had the cabinetmaker do a very light rub on the wear points (edges, by knobs, etc.) because I wanted the vintage farmhouse look.

Since all of the cabs were painted with a contrasting undercoat, at the rub points some undercolor does show.

For me, the vintage direction was the way to go. Where my teenagers have banged the cabs with a dropped pot or pan, you have to strain to identify it.

Having said that however, they look "loved-in" not "lived-in".

Good luck,

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 12:12PM
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Ours are Shaker style, wood frames with MDF center panels, two years old. Fine hairline cracks on the backs of the doors between the stiles/rails and the center panel. No cracks on the fronts; not sure if they had an extra layer of paint on the front or if this is related to the door construction or what. Not a big deal, though. We're in a climate with distinct dry and wet seasons (though not much humidity), which may contribute, too. We have some inset cabinetry and have been pleasantly surprised to have no issues with doors rubbing frames in the rainy season, though, since this is a huge issue with our actual doors and original cabinetry. MDF panels seem to be doing their job!

We have both gray and white cabinets. Gray cabinets are wearing very well; we've had issues with the white cabinets, both in terms of showing wear a lot (notably, we have a big dog and a small child, so we are hard on our kitchen!) and, more bizarrely, with some of the white paint taking on a peach tone on the rails on a couple of doors. Need to call cabinetmaker to get this fixed, and just haven't gotten around to it yet. Things I would do differently: probably not get a straight Shaker profile (hard to clean, though we knew this going in since we were matching existing cabinetry in our old house--but didn't factor in how much more we use the kitchen!) and possibly doing stained wood instead of painted for better response to wear and tear (was hung up on being "historically authentic" at the time, which meant painted for our particular house, but we wound up with a very transitional kitchen anyway, and in retrospect stained cabinetry would have been fine). On the other hand, had we done stained it would have been Douglas fir, which is super soft, so we would probably just have traded one issue for another!

FWIW, a rub-through wouldn't help much with our cabinetry as far as hiding wear and tear--where it's an issue, it's not the finish wearing off so much as it's a streak of another color from being rammed with a toy wagon, that sort of thing. So it may depend on the type of wear you anticipate from your family. I notice it a lot more than anyone else does, though. HTH!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 12:42PM
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I have white sprayed cabs with slab drawers and shaker doors. They're paint-grade maple and the doors have MDF center panels. In the 13 months that I've had them, the only cracks are where the stiles abut one another. "Crack" may be too strong a term. You have to get in close and be looking for it, otherwise you don't see them at all. Since I learned at GW that it's simply the behavior of real wood and is to be expected, it's never bothered me.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 1:25PM
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Yes our house is an old farmhouse built in 1860. The wing which was the kitchen was literally falling off, so we removed it and added an addition which houses the kitchen, family room, laundry, eating area and 1/2 bath. Our cabinet person did a kitchen with a light rub thru in another home that we looked at and liked. Although I want a farmhouse look, I want it to be a more modern,timeless look as well.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 5:31PM
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To Doc8404 and other posters too, can you please post a few pictures of your kitchens? Doc, would like to see your rub thru finish up close and from a few feet away. I am willing to forego the rub thru, but my husband is insistent on keeping it.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 8:44AM
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quiltgirl...you've seen pics of my kitchen. We didn't do a rub through. Our cabinets are silver maple, hand painted by moi with Fine Paints of Europe's ECO line. We've had no cracks at all (which is more than I can say for some of our trim in the house). The cabinet doors/drawers are solid maple, no MDF.

The doors in the house are solid wood with MDF inserts (they are two panel doors so the panels are rather large. The custom door manufacturer insisted on the MDF and my husband agreed, and it does work No cracks ever. When my husband built the doors for the basement rooms, he did same, and again, no cracks. Doors all painted with F&B. I doubt the paint makes a difference in the cracking. I expected my kitchen cabinets to do this, but they haven't. And I know they change, becuse I can see slight changes in the inset space in the winter.....

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 8:55AM
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We have all wood (maple) shaker-style cabinets, but we ordered them unfinished and painted them ourselves with BM advance paint. A year in and no cracks at all so far.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:38AM
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HLove - If you don't mind...

Did you brush or spray? Have you done this before? Would you do it again? What color did you use? Where did you order your cabinets from? Did you put on any sort of protective top coat?

What tips can you give me? :-)


    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 1:05PM
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jeri-I just realized I said we have shaker cabinets...which is true, but only on the four doors. The rest (drawers) are a slab-front. So we used a brush on the face frames and on parts of the doors and a small roller on the drawers and parts of the doors. We had never painted cabinets before and are truly thrilled with how it came out. We used BM Hawthorne Yellow.

The paint went on really smoothly and self-leveled and you didn't need to use a lot of it. It doesn't need any protective finish. You're supposed to wait 30 days before you wash or put anything on the paint. We used the same paint for our open shelving (BM Apple Blossom) but I was too impatient to wait and there was no issue putting our bowls up there after a day. I only noticed one teeny spot where the paint had come off and just dabbed some paint on it and it's been absolutely fine. The cabinets themselves look just as they did when we painted them a year ago. They clean very easily--just wipe with a sponge.

We would absolutely do it again. It saved us a good amount of money, since we would have had to pay the up-charge not only for painted cabinets, but for a custom color. We didn't like any of the paint choices they had available. And, we can always paint over it! Our cabinets are Crystal Cabinetry ordered from a cabinet-making shop near us that sold this line, but were booked so couldn't make the cabinets themselves within our timeframe.

Tips I would have are to not use a lot of paint and make sure to sand with a very fine grit sandpaper between coats and wipe with a tack cloth. We put on one coat of Advance primer and two coats of Advance paint. If you go to the BM Advance page on BM's website, they tell you how long to wait between coats. I forget exactly, but something like a few hours after priming and then something like 16 hours between the first and second coats. We did follow these instructions even though I just wanted to paint and be done!

It really is do-able and I think turned out great. It will not look the same as a factory finish, though. It's more of a matte finish, which is what I wanted since this was a remodel in a 140 year old home. My parents built a new home a few years back and bought cabinets with a white, painted finish and she already has chipping paint which she can't just touch up herself. I like that we can touch up easily if need be without it being noticeable or a hassle. Let me know if you have any other questions!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 4:23PM
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Lori (loribug26_gw) Wagerman_Walker

Sweet hlove! This is exactly what I'm wanting to do.

I want them to age.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 11:13AM
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