Cabinet Refinishing, Remodeling & Refacing FAQ
What are pros and cons for using rigid thermal foil (RTF) cabinets for new kitchen cabinets installation or doors and drawer fronts when refacing kitchen cabinets?
There is no pros or advantages to using RTF finished cabinets, doors or drawer fronts. RTF suffers from these flaws:
- They look OK after installation but over the time they start yellowing and discoloring.
- They can’t be touched up without noticing the difference.
- They are not perfectly smooth and have some texture.
- They come in a limited spectrum of colors.
- They only come in satin sheen--no semi-gloss or gloss sheen available.
- If you replace a door or drawer front under warranty, the new component will have different color since aging and oxidation process changes the color of RTF.
- They are not cheaper than other kind of cabinets and usually more expensive.
- The core is either MDF or particle board, which is easy to break and impossible to fix without noticeable differences.
- Edges of doors, drawer fronts and frames tend to peel off. Pretty often bubbles occur on flat surface of panels.
- MDF or particle board easily swell and disintegrate if exposed to wet conditions.
What are advantages of traditionally finished kitchen cabinets with primer and enamel?
- If properly done, they surpass any other finishes like RTF or lacquer in quality and durability.
- They are smooth, washable, and have a lasting finish.
- They come in an unlimited spectrum of colors.
- They come in all sheens: flat, satin, eggshell, semi-gloss, gloss and high-gloss.
- They are easily to touch up without noticing the difference.
- 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.
- If you use a proper stain blocking and bonding primer, enamel can be used on almost any kind of material that cabinets are made from.
- If solid wood is used for cabinets, doors, drawer fronts and panels, and 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.
Why do most contractors prefer tinted lacquer instead of enamel for cabinet finishes, new cabinets or cabinet refinishing or refacing?
Time is money for contractors, so lacquer is often used to finish a project more quickly. Lacquers and lacquer undercoats dry almost instantly. You can recoat the surface virtually in a few minutes, 15 min or so. Primers and enamel dry slowly and you can usually recoat the next day, or after a few hours if you work in a heated space. Cabinets can be finished with lacquer in one day, while enamel usually takes in 3 days.