Will painted cabinets hold up as well as natural or stained wood?

msbrandywinevalleySeptember 1, 2013

I'm at that critical point in my kitchen remodel project where I have to choose materials. As the result of a 20-year old addition, my kitchen is in the center of an open floor plan and has no windows. To clarify, my kitchen consists primarily of two parallel peninsulas, neither of which has wall cabinets and both of which are open to other areas which DO have windows. The floors are oak. The present "footprint" works very well, so we're keeping it with minor modifications, but we're updating from the laminate that was installed in the 80's.

I love the look of natural cherry, but I'm afraid that in time it will be too dark for the area. I also really love the idea of white or off-white painted cabinets, but I've been told that painted cabinets, even those that are custom made, just won't hold up as well as stained or natural wood -- that 5 or 10 years from now, they'll look grungy and chipped, whereas wood cabinets will come back to life every time they're cleaned and polished.

I'd love to hear from anyone who's lived with painted custom-made cabinets for 5 or more years. If you were to re-do your kitchen today, would you still choose painted cabinets? What problems, if any, have you had with your painted cabinets and how did you resolve them?

HELP!!!! I have a week to make my decision. Thanks!

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"Custom" (which is a bastardized term these days) cabinets usually do not have access to the much harder and more durable manufacturer UV cured catalyzed varnishes that large cabinet manufacturers use. If you want painted, go with a major manufacturer, and you are likely to have few problems.

However, there's nothing at all "dark" about natural cherry cabinets, even after time. The most you could ever say they end up is a "light medium" tone. My great uncle's shop desk that he made from a downed tree on my great great grandmother's farm is just a rich light reddish brown. And it's over 100 years old.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 1:32PM
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What you have heard is true. Natural wood will be more durable. Factory painted may be more durable than on site painted but natural cherry will be more durable than both of them. Btw, I have white painted cabinets. I would still choose it again, but I do think I will need to get the cabinets repainted at soe point.

I have a bed in Natural cherry that is 15 years old and it looks medium toned not dark.

If may want to choose to do a combination with painted uppers or painted hutch that won't get as much abuse as the rest of the kitchen.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 5:29PM
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If you have no windows the cherry will not darken that much. I have it in my kitchen which is interior and its fine. I even have black counters. I would be concerned about a painted finish as well, but less so if it was high quality.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 11:14PM
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Msbrandy, I can certainly relate to your dilemma. My prior home had walnut stained cabinets with white counters which I enjoyed for 35 years. The wood was refinished twice and looked great the day the house was sold. The kitchen in my current home had a complete remodel two years ago. I chose white factory painted cabinets this time for two reasons. Like you, there are no windows in my kitchen although it faces a wall of windows because of the open concept. I really felt the need to lighten the space. The second reason is purely emotional, I was ready for a change from the dark wood. When it's time to refurbish, it should help that the doors are full overlay so they can be spray painted in a professional paint booth. As I recall, stripping and refinishing natural wood cabinets, was a major ordeal as well. Anyway, cherry or painted would be beautiful. Wishing you the best with your remodel.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 1:38AM
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