Inside finish of cabinets?

susied3August 22, 2013

I've been noticing differences in the insides of cabinets from pictures posted here and it lends me to a question.

Some of you seem to have natural looking insides, some painted or stained. We ordered our cabinets unfinished and I am painting them myself.
Those of you who have natural looking insides, can you tell me, have they been finished with a sealer or varnish or are they raw wood?
My existing cabinets are painted white inside and out, but even with protective liners they have scuff marks and even some paint scraping.
I'm thinking about leaving the inside natural but not sure about leaving it raw.

Can you tell me about your insides?
Thanks!

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Fori is not pleased

Many of the natural-looking insides are actually lined with wood-look melamine. It makes a durable, easy-clean surface.

I could see leaving the insides natural--maybe some polyurethane to seal it? I have some old cabinets now (1950s) that were not sealed and some of them stink. They've just absorbed odors over the years.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 4:20PM
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salishsong

Our cabinet boxes were prefinished. Without a finish, the wood will be harder to clean, especially as aerosolized oils will eventually reach the interior of the cabinets, and sink into the wood if it's raw. Then dusty material will stick to the oily wood, and instead of cleaning with a swipe of the sponge, it will require a good scrubbing. Splinters are always a possibility as well.

I'd recommend a polyurethane finish for the cabinet boxes. We used Waterlox on our sapele countertops and it's super easy to wipe clean, and seals the water and oils out nicely.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 4:26PM
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palimpsest

Boxes painted to match with a polyurethane on the shelves is a good option too. Shelves with a top coat tend to be a bit more durable, or maybe show less wear than painted shelves, over time, especially if things are going to be slid on them like stacks dishes.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 4:51PM
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susied3

Thanks everyone, I never thought about the raw wood/odor, stain issue so I can see the benefit of some type finish.

Would you recommend Waterlox or a polyurethane?
I'm not familiar with Waterlox, however I know a lot of people use it on counters which are exposed to a lot of water. I guess there's no need to overkill with the insides.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 5:31PM
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lazy_gardens

Waterlox would be overkill. And it reeks during application. And it needs to soak in.

A couple of coats of any urethane or cabinet paint would work to seal the raw wood.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 8:37PM
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Cindy103d

Definitely urethane rather than Waterlox. So easy to apply and keep clean. We have urethane on all cabinets expect for those with glass fronts. On those, we painted the insides and replaced the wood shelves with glass so the light shines through.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 8:26AM
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kalindi615

Our cabinets are not done yet, but on our pantry shelve (which were done last year) I did the paint color, then 3 coats of minwax polyurethane satin finish. The are incredibly easy to wipe clean and don't leave any marks. And that is even after someone in this house spilled an entire bottle of homey on one that had to be scrubbed off.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 8:51AM
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kalindi615

Our cabinets are not done yet, but on our pantry shelve (which were done last year) I did the paint color, then 3 coats of minwax polyurethane satin finish. The are incredibly easy to wipe clean and don't leave any marks. And that is even after someone in this house spilled an entire bottle of homey on one that had to be scrubbed off.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 9:13AM
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bmorepanic

My most favorites cabinets were from Scherrs - had natural maple veneered plywood on the inside and outside. I asked them to finish the insides of the cabinet boxes and the drawers with conversion varnish. The exteriors and doors/drawer fronts were unfinished. I felt it was enough work to do the exteriors.

You can do what you like EXCEPT a lot of conversion varnishes or lacquers are not suitable for home use - they need a spray room and sometimes a hot room to "bake" the finish.

Waterlox is easily the stinkiest finish. Satin poly or even mixwax's wiping poly are good choices. Wiping poly is easy to apply. None of them are as strong as a conversion finish.

A sealer is a thin coat of some type of finish that seals the wood so less finish will be absorbed later. It helps keep the finish coats even. I would start with one - either a commercial sealer or clear shellac diluted in half or more with alcohol. If you want to, you can buy shellac flakes online and then buy the alcohol locally.

I would not stain the insides unless they somehow loudly clashed with the finish color.

You are going to need a lot of drying space - and it needs to be pretty pristine space - without dirt, sun, and bugs. That is something else to think about. It's much easier to finish the cabinet parts before assembly. I built a couple of knock-together racks to hold drying parts.

And how are you? I've thought about you and sent mystic good wishes.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 7:41PM
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