We sure are doing a lot of white cabinet transformations lately. And why not? They provide a fresh clean look to an otherwise dingy kitchen. Not all white finishes are the same, however. Anybody can slap on some white paint but there’s more to it than that. Ignore these three crucial factors and you’ll be disappointed.
For cabinets, you want the hardest finish possible because they will need to stand up to a lot of use. Latex paint will look good in the beginning, but will soon begin to fail. One way to obtain a hard finish is with a clear finish over the paint. We use waterborne polyurethane that also provides a luxurious high-end finish. It’s exceptionally hard and clear. A pigmented lacquer can also be used, which has the durability qualities built in.
Secondly, light colors such as white can be an easy target for stains and tannins on the surface to bleed through the paint. A good quality primer is a necessity, especially when painting woods like oak. The deep grain of oak will bleed through the paint with ease, seemingly no matter how many coats you apply. I have found that the older the cabinets are, the greater the potential for this to occur. A good primer will seal and block these stains from bleeding.
Lastly, a non-yellowing finish is essential. Even a slight color shift will be evident when you have a light colored finish such as white. Solvent-based urethanes and oil-based paints can have this effect over time. We have a fully compatible paint and topcoat combo that is guaranteed not to yellow over time.
White kitchen cabinets don’t seem to go out of style. This is another reason they are a solid choice when looking for a change. The key is to make sure you’re getting a good quality finish done right that will last.