Wood Cabinet Finishes
Unfinished natural wood cabinets are a thing of the past. In today’s land of cabinetry, a transparent topcoat is added to your unfinished cabinets to protect the wood from dirt and grease and maintain its beautiful look. There are several different ways to finish your cabinets.
Stain: Staining your cabinets is a great way to add color to the wood without ruining the beauty of the wood grain. You want to be careful when picking stain colors because manufacturers use all different names. The same name might be a completely different color under another company. Your best bet it to select the wood you prefer and then consider the final look you want. At that point it will be easier for you to decide whether a stain with a light, medium, or dark tone will be best for you.
A stain alone will not protect your wood. You must apply a finishing coat over the stain to protect it. In most cases, a catalytic-conversion varnish will be used to give it strength and shine. You can actually choose how much shine you want by selecting a finishing coat that is matte or high-gloss or anything in-between. Once the varnish is baked on, it then catalyzes into a hard, protective finish. At this point, you may use glazes to achieve special effects.
Glaze: With a glaze you have the option of using it by itself or applying it over a base stain or paint. Once it is applied, it is then wiped off by hand. As you wipe off the glaze, it settles in the cabinets open grain areas and defines its details. Glazes can also be tinted any color. Contrasting the color of the wood with the color of the glaze creates a uniquely attractive look.
Paint: The wonderful thing about paint is that you have such an enormous range of colors to select from. You can also create an array of special effects. Whether you are looking for a smooth, glossy, sanded or textured finish, paint can do the job! The only downside to paint is that hairline cracks with eventually form as the wood expands and contracts. However, this can be avoided if you apply paint to MDF. MDF is a solid material that isn’t affected by humidity changes.
Polyester: Polyester is known for bringing durability and quality to automobiles, and it can do the same thing for your cabinets. In recent times, polyester is being used on modern-style cabinets to add extra protection and quality. It can be applied in a glossy or matte finish and special glazes and polishes can be applied for additional design and protection.
Polyester creates a more solid look feel compared to paint because it fills the pores of the door more fully. However, similar to using paint, several steps are needed to master the technique. Maybe even more so when it comes to polyester finishes. Lots of sanding and finishing is needed, as well as the application of a special topcoat. The final finish then goes through numerous oven curings and hand sandings with extremely fine abrasives. Due to all of the work put into achieving this finish, polyester is often a more expensive choice.
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