white paint or stain on custom cabinets

czecheartNovember 29, 2012

Planning on transforming our golden oak kitchen to a white Christopher Peacock type kitchen. With inspiration from GW Kitcheners, it will be elegant and timeless. I'm dreaming of BM dove white. I can't wait, wish it was finished now.

My question then is if cabinets would be hand-made, what are your experiences with painted finishes? I'm wondering how hand-painted cabinets hold-up versus factory painted finishes ? Did the cabinet maker paint your cabinets or did you get someone else? What made the painting work out well?

KD thinks we should consider having them stained with a white opaque stain (not pickling) instead of having them painted. He thinks they will look better, last longer, not chip and not start to show wear after 2 years ( for example , he claims from repeated openings rubbing near the handles ). KD, DH and sons all keep asking why put paint over beautiful hand-made cabinets ? Do you think a white kitchen could be achieved with white opaque stained cab? How do you think it would look? Has anyone done this?


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My DH agrees, painting over beautiful wood is horrible! With the stain you will see the beautiful grain in the wood. Why cover up real wood?

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 9:15PM
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I, too, think the stain will be beautiful! I'm getting ready to paint a 1939s kitchen, but these cabinets are already painted and looking very sorry :)

I admit I do prefer at least some wood in a kitchen, so I'm probably a bit biased.

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 9:43AM
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Can you be shown a sample of cabinet with the stain? See if you like the look of the grain showing thru. My old kitchen was old oak grainy cabinets, so I didn't want any grain....it's all depends on what's going to make you happy!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 10:28AM
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It depends on why you don't like the golden oak. If it is just the color, then a white stain might do the trick (I don't see how this is much different than pickling, though...). If you don't like seeing the swirly grain, then the white stain is not the way to go. Like the pp says, the grain will still show through. White stained oak cabinets will not look like a Peacock kitchen; they will have more movement and (potentially) look more rustic/country. The door style will make a difference as well. They could certainly be beautiful! Just look at a sample first to make sure it fits your vision for the kitchen.

You don't want to hear this [grin] but our old white cabinets were melamine (good-quality Euro) and there was no chipping at all after 20+ years. Our neighbors have a custom-built white kitchen and it does have dings and chips; it's probably about 5 years old now. I have no idea what kind of finish was used. Our new kitchen is also white and I went with Ikea thermofoil. No regrets at all and so far no marks on it (6 months with kids and counter-surfing dogs).

In case you haven't seen it yet, I'll link the Design Around thread for working with golden oak. It has some great ideas if you want to save yourself the hassle/expense of painting or staining. None of them look like a Peacock kitchen -- but then I always think that a mid-toned wood never looks out of style, even though the oak species (plain sawn) has been used in enough entry-level houses that people don't seem to like it anymore.

Here is a link that might be useful: Design Around: Keeping the Golden Oak

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 12:46PM
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I painted my current kitchen cabinets, with a brush, myself *ahem*... in BM white dove or dove white... (white dove?)in an oil base. 4 years now.. they've done amazingly well and we aren't careful. The only thing I don't like is that you can see brush marks on the doors because they are slab 3/4 overlay. And you can't really see them but I can in the right light and it slightly bugs me. If they had been sprayed, that would be the only thing I'd wish for different.
Love that color... has such a nice soft tone after some time goes by. Now, that was with oil. I also painted cabs in my 2 kitchens ago kitchen, some in oil and then had to match a couple others and used water based. The water based never quite achieved the same 'mellowness' in tone that the oil did.

As far as painting wood: doesn't it depend on the wood? Quarter sawn oak? Yeah, don't paint that. Paint grade maple? why not?

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 1:32PM
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