Problems with white/off-white painted cabinets.


Old 02-20-05, 04:00 PM
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Question Problems with white/off-white painted cabinets.

We are planning a kitchen remodel and I've had my heart set on off-white cabinets - Schrock or Wellborn maybe. A cabinet wholesaler told me that painted cabinets develop (or even come with) small cracks or fissures at the seams on doors for example when the wood contracts and expands. Is there anything that can be done to prevent this - a process in the manufacturing for example? Is this true across the board, or are some manufactures better than others? I sure see a lot of white kitchens so it's hard to believe that all these people put up with this problem. Should I look at stained cabinets instead? Thanks.
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Old 02-20-05, 04:29 PM
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All wood expands and contracts as temperature and humidity levels fluctuate in the home. The gaps between boards tend to be more noticeable on white and light colored painted cabinets. Keeping temperature and humidity levels constant year round will minimize expansion and contraction problems. Beyond that, it really depends on the workmanship of the cabinetry whether the joint issue is obvious or not. A well constructed cabinet will eventually show a few cracks, but they will not be that noticeable.
Old 02-20-05, 07:42 PM
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A door made with an MDF substraight and the profile routed out using a CNC machine would be best, vs a stile and rail door. MDF will not expand and contract at a rate where it would crack the paint. If you make a MDF door in the stile and rail method, it will have a good chance of having cracked paint lines.

CNC machines have a router bit that comes down and routes the profile out of the door, vs it being a 5 piece door like traditional methods.

To truly get a high quality paint job, it would need to be done from a custom cabinetmaker.

Any store you go to and buy cabinets have them made on an assembly line and the finishes are a mass production.
Old 02-20-05, 09:41 PM
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You wanna rethink that one, Mike?

I just met with a homeowner who has those CNC cut MDF cabinet doors with a vinyl laminate. I'm guessing that it's attached with some kind of contact cement in a vacuum press. Anyway, the vinyl is peeling and we're talking about new doors 'cause the old ones look like dog doo-doo.

The cabinet carcasses are KD pine with a vinyl laminate and they're in fairly decent shape. She's trying to decide if she wants to try to save the carcasses (if they can be painted) and have me make all new doors/drawer fronts - or chuck the whole mess and start over.

Tatoo this on your forehead..........."MDF IS EVIL!!"
Old 02-20-05, 10:02 PM
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I feel that the overall quality of construction and finishing make a lot of difference. I have some cabinets that are painted, 14 years old with not a crack in the paint. The trick will be to find good ones.
Old 02-20-05, 10:03 PM
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No no Dave. I'm talking about those doors, but with a lacquer based paint applied to them. No Vinyl or shall I say, Thermafoil

I couldn't count the amount of times that I've seen where people use Regular Doors, painted them and ended up seeing it crack or the stile and rail connecting points were showing. "The vertical lines" Ugh, looks terrible.
Old 02-21-05, 06:58 AM
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Mike -
Would you remove the existing 'vinyl' before trying to paint? Does it come off cleanly - or is there a ton of sanding and scraping to get off the glue residue? How durable are MDF doors/drawer fronts with a paint job v.s. the 'vinyl'?

chfite -
Do you know what kind of 'prep' was done before painting your cabinets?

I'm asking all the questions because I told the customer (well, potential customer ) that I would do some checking around for her. They have two kids (elementary school ages) and I would be a little concerned about durability issues.
Old 02-21-05, 09:58 AM
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Thermafoil or vinyl doors is not something that is easily removed. It's a baked on fake finish.

Either way you go, they're both tempermental. The thermafoil doors are more user friendly, but one scratch, you'll have to replace the whole door.

With lacquer based paints, you can take it back to the shop, sand fill the area, spot prime and re paint the solid color.

If the finish will have a glaze, then it will need to be re-primed, re-painted and re-glazed in order to hide the damaged area.
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