High-Gloss cabinets - lacquer or...?

macfrodgeNovember 30, 2009

Hi -

I'm in the process of a major kitchen remodel and am very confused w/r to high-gloss cabinetry, or rather the best method of achieving this.

My designer has said there are different types of high-gloss 'techniques' such as laminate, or simply spraying the cabinets with several layers of paint then applying a high-gloss finish. He recommends a lacquer method wherein the paint is applied simultaneously with a lacquer with a spray gun (please forgive me if I'm using incorrect terminology) and then cured. He said this gives the best and most resistant finish.

I'm a bit of a nerd, and confess I have to understand the process a bit better than simply hearing "spraying on a paint and a lacquer and that's the best way, trust me". I want to make certain my cabinetmaker is going to be using the very best method to achieve a high-gloss finish.

Is this technique the same thing as a nitrocellulose lacquer? If not, can somebody give me a specific name? Thanks very much in advance!

The look I'm going for is similar to this:

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. He recommends a lacquer method wherein the paint is applied simultaneously with a lacquer with a spray gun ...and then cured.

This is the way almost any cabinet finish is applied, be it lacquer, enamel, conversion varnish... whatever. "Cured" is sort of like "allowed to dry" except that it implies a chemical reaction is taking place rather than just the evaporation of solvents. You spray the finish on, and allow it to cure.

Lacquer is a good material for high-gloss finishes because it's easy to work with and can be sanded flat and polished to a high gloss. The problem with high-gloss finishes is that the crisp reflections you can see in glossy surfaces make surface defects very obvious. Outside of a carefully tuned, automated industrial finishing setup, it's very difficult to apply such finishes perfectly right out of the gun; this is why ease of sanding and polishing is important. Lacquer is not the most durable or water-resistant finish out there, but it's probably a good choice when you consider all the upsides and downsides.

Assuming your cabinets won't be made of sheet metal, the best material for this sort of thing is probably MDF. Beyond that, the best way to get the sort of finish you want is to hire a finisher who really knows what he's doing. This is not a job for a novice. You should also expect this finish to be relatively expensive.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2009 at 12:15PM
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