What are the pros and cons of cabinet refacing and refinishing?
Can any  type of cabinet material be refinished or refaced?

Is refacing cabinets cheaper than replacing them?


New Kitchen Cabinets or Kitchen Cabinet Refacing With RTF (Rigid Thermo-Foil) Material

QUESTION: What are ADVANTAGES for using RTF material for new kitchen cabinets installation                   or doors and drawer fronts for refacing kitchen cabinets.


ANSWER: There is no ADVANTAGE for using RTF finished cabinets, doors or drawer fronts for                   cabinet refacing or new cabinets.


  1. They look ok after installation but over the time they start yellowing and discoloring.

  2. They can’t be touched up without noticing the difference.

  3. They are not perfectly smooth and have some texture.

  4. They come in limited spectrum of colors.

  5. They come only in satin sheen, no semi-gloss or gloss sheen available.

  6. If you replace a door or drawer front under warranty, the new component will have different color, aging and oxidation process changes the color of RTF.

  7. They are not cheaper than other kind of cabinets, usually more expensive.

  8. The core is either MDF or particle board, easy to brake and impossible to fix it so it is not noticeable.

  9. Edges of doors, drawer fronts and frame tend to peel off.

  10. Pretty often bubbles occur on flat surface of panels. MDF or particle board easily swell and disintegrate if exposed to wet or very warm condition


Solid wood cabinet doors, drawer fronts and panels are the best choice for any cabinet project, new or refaced kitchen and bathroom. The can be finished with solid color enamel or stained.

QUESTION: What are ADVANTAGES of traditionally finished kitchen cabinets with primer and                        enamel?

ANSWER: There are plenty of advantages of using traditionally finished new cabinets, or doors                 and drawer fronts for refacing.


  1. If properly done, they surpass in quality and durability any other finishes like RTF or lacquer.

  2. They are smooth, washable and lasting finish.

  3. They come in unlimited spectrum of colors.

  4. They come in all sheens: flat, satin, eggshell, semi-gloss, gloss and high-gloss.

  5. They are easily to touch up without noticing the difference.

  6. They don’t yellow like RTF or lacquer. However, they get a little bit darker. Even after touching up, a new spot will blend with the old finish.

  7. If you use a proper, stain blocking and bonding primer, enamel can be used on almost any kind of material cabinets are made from.

  8. If solid wood is used for cabinets, doors, drawer fronts and panels, if right primer and enamel is used for finish coating, you get the best product available. Finish is smooth, washable, durable, lasting and easy to touch up.

Traditional finishes with primers and enamels surpass all other finishes as: lacquers, conversion varnishes or tinted polyurethanes.

QUESTION: What are ADVANTAGES for using lacquer finishes for new kitchen cabinets, or                            doors and drawer fronts for refacing kitchen cabinets.


ANSWER: Not too many.

  1. Initially, lacquer finishes look good but after a short time they start changing the color due to aging and oxidation process.

  2. They are not durable, they easy to scratch and chip off.

  3. They crack due to the core expansion, especially on joints.

  4. They can’t be touched up without noticing the difference.

  5. Lacquer finishes, if damaged, require hiring a professional finisher and redoing the entire door or panel. Enamels on the other hand, can be easily applied with roller and brush, so touch ups, when necessary, can be done by anybody without noticing the difference between old and new finish.

  6. Please notice that 1 layer of lacquer has 1 mil thickness, thus lacquer finishes have only 2 mils o thickness.

  7. On the other hand, 1 layer of primer and enamel has 1.5 mil, thus, enamel finishes have minimum 6 mil thickness.

  8. Enamel finishes are smooth, washable, durable, lasting, and they surpass in all aspects lacquer finishes.

    See what can happen with RTF cabinets

       See what can happen with RTF cabinets

See what can happen if you install new cabinets or reface them with doors finished with tinted lacquer or conversion varnish, or if you  refinish existing cabinets with tinted lacquer or conversion varnish.





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Tags: kitchen remodeling, kitchen renovation, custom kitchen cabinets, kitchen cabinet installation, cabinet refacing, cabinet refinishing, cabinet painting, cabinet staining, kitchen countertops, cabinet modification

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