Which cabinet finish is long lasting? California

Zippity-do-dahNovember 3, 2012

Hi Everyone

We are about to decide on painted kitchen cabinets for our rebuild/remodel. I have been to a couple of Kitchen Designers who order cabinets made out of state (we are in California) and they assure us that the catalyzed finish done in other states is FAR SUPERIOR to ANY cabinet finish done in California because of the strict rules.

Our General Contractor (whom we respect) recommends a local California custom cabinet maker over any cabinets coming in from out of the area. The cabinet maker says he uses a catalyzed lacquer which is equally good....insists it is already catalyzed etc.

So, here we are, about to spend 10s of thousands of dollars and not getting a clear answer. This is to be our "forever" home.

Some other threads here on GW talk about this. People who have had chipping of paint were told it wasn't primed correctly. Also, so many different points of view. Someone here must know the truth....I suspect it is not tricky for anyone in the cabinet industry who is nonbiased.

Which is better? Made out of state by a large cabinet making company or locally & custom with catalyzed lacquer?

Thank you!!

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I live in CA and was told the same thing when I ordered cabinets, although I live in a very expensive city and never considered local cabinet makers who undoubtedly will be very expensive. I think even if your local cabinet maker can use the same catalytic conversion varnish, he probably don't have the same expensive equipment to apply the paint. I think factory finish is superior.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2012 at 4:00AM
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Hi, I live in CA and had custom cabinets made for my very small kitchen two years ago. While I'm happy that I was able to get the cabinets the exact size that I needed, the paint is chipping off on the cabinet under the sink and the paint has cracks on the dishwasher cover. I'm very disappointed in the paint quality and if I had to do it over again I would order from out of state. When I contacted my contractor, he told me that he has seen a lot of paint fail, even on expensive brands. It didn't make me feel any better. The kitchen is only 2 years old and we will need to repaint before it is 5 years old! We do not have children, so it's not like we have been hard on them. One final note though, I don't think our cabinet maker was a master cabinet maker and I didn't think he put a lot of care in the cabinets, for example he didn't completely paint the inside of the fridge panel and said no one could see it. I can and thought this was lazy and not detailed on his part. I would ask for referrals from the cabinet maker from someone who has painted cabinets by him from at least a few years ago. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 4:02PM
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As part of your decision process get a sample door from each.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2012 at 8:16PM
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Thanks everybody for sharing your experiences and the great suggestion of a sample door from both.

The custom cabinet maker was less than the Kitchen Designer by $8,000. I have seen his finished work....it's fabulous, sturdy etc etc.

But I am still agonizing over the finish.

Maybe I need to find another Kitchen Designer to compare prices.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2012 at 11:36PM
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Do yourself a favor and run from anything with a finish from CA! We made sure our cabinets were finished out of state. (yes, we live in the sunshine state) Four years now and our factory finished cabinets are holding up beautifully.

BTW, wish we could get our (outside)house trim paint factory finished! Even with FPE (new formula), only get 2 years at most.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 6:21AM
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However, having said that, my mother's cabinets (also in CA) were finished with Fine Paints of Europe (old formula) and still look great today!

    Bookmark   November 7, 2012 at 6:30AM
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I am also in CA. I remember reading a thread a while back about a lady in southern CA going to an autobody shop for her cabinet finishes, which I thought sounded like a good idea (but I haven't tried it). If it is good enough for cars though, it probably will hold up well in a kitchen. Anyway, might be worth looking into for you?

    Bookmark   November 8, 2012 at 8:26PM
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Thanks everyone - sounds like factory baked finish is the way to go!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 9:15PM
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I am in California, and had my cabinets finished 2 years ago. There is serious chipping and scuffing along the edges already. Since the refinishing was only a temporary fix for me, and I'm about to replace the cabinets now I am over it. If they were new, I would be seriously angry. I agree that California finishes are unacceptable. The irony is that I am definitely an environmentalist and support laws that keep toxicity and pollution to a minimum. However, IMO the dumb paint laws in this state work against us because they just make you repaint or replace far more often than you ever would have otherwise.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 9:51PM
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Is this a California issue or a factory finish vs what a local cabinet maker can do? Just wondering since I'm in Texas.

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 10:06AM
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Msrose, This is a California issue. Texas doesn't have the strict environmental laws that Calif has. I'm certain all cabinet makers in Texas are able to use the longer lasting and baked finishes that are outlawed here. Everytime they offer any environmental issues on our election ballots, we all vote for them....me included. Can you believe, since we are doing a large remodel, we will have to tear out our perfectly fine cement driveway and change it over for a permeable one? I voted for that one, too....wanted our town to be proud that it was "green". LOL

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 5:53PM
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