Question about painted vs. stained

kam76May 9, 2013

We are going to meet with the cabinet designer tomorrow from Aristocraft which is the company our builder uses (this is a semi-custom build). Anyway, I want a white shaker, but the cabinet guy called and told me it would be a $5,000 upgrade to do painted cabinets vs. stained. These are maple cabinets. Does this seem normal? I would think that painting would be just as much work as staining? Maybe I just don't know anything about cabinets.

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Yes, paint is an upgrade. At least 20%. Then your builder will add his % on top of that. You might be talking 2K difference if you kept the same layout and door style and "just" upgraded to paint, which isn't available on every door. But, if he spec'd the Oakland doorstyle (the cheapest there is) then moving up in expense in wood and finish could very easily be more than 5K. Also, AOK's price difference between furniture board and plywood is not inexpensive. There is a painted shaker door in a partial overlay available at a moderate price point, but AOK only has one painted maple full overlay door, and by the time you upgrade everything in the line (dovetail soft close drawers, plywood construction, etc) you're at the price of the Kemper Whitman, which is a pretty good value. Soft close doors and drawers are standard. Instead of 3/8" furniture board, you get 1/2". Upgrading to all plywood only cost 5%, but you can do plywood ends for only 1%. Now the paint is also an upcharge here, but you're getting a mid grade cabinet, not an entry level one. My AOK sales to builders average 7K for a spec house in a stained wood. Go to the maple paint with APC, and you're looking at 12-13K. The Kemper painted Shaker averages around 15K, but you end up with a much better kitchen.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 8:23AM
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If you're getting Aristrokraft, I don't recommend painted.

We had painted Aristokraft cabinets in our old kitchen and the paint started chipping and wearing away within about 5 years. By the time we redid our kitchen (12 years old), not only was the paint a mess, but the drawers were no longer working smoothly, drawers were sagging (the entire drawer...not just the drawer front), door hinges were failing (we had to replace two just so we could close a cabinet door and keep it closed), shelves were sagging, and we had to re-glue the "fake" drawer fronts on the sink cab.

The only item that was as good as the day we moved in (new build, so new cabinets), was the lazy susan - it still worked smoothly and we never had any problems with things falling off b/c the walls of the cabinet closely followed the contour of the shelves.

Our cabinets were embarrassing when we had parties - although probably not many people noticed them like I did - at least I hope not. Our new kitchen is much nicer, so no more embarrassment!

We first considered remodeling when the kitchen was only 7 years old b/c of the condition of the cabinets, but since we couldn't afford to "do it right", we waited another 5 years until we could (we didn't want to take out loans, etc., we wanted to pay for it all in "cash").

One caveat is that they were "builder-grade"cabinets through our builder. However, since you are going through a builder as well, I suspect they are the same grade.

If you're stuck with Aristokraft, my recommendation is to stick with stained and upgrade the cabinets themselves to mid-level quality. If you can afford to do both, then do both, but #1, IMO, should be the cabinet quality.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 4:29PM
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