Frequently asked questions

What are advantages for using RTF material for new kitchen cabinets installation or doors and drawer fronts for refacing kitchen cabinets?

There is no advantages to using RTF finished cabinets, doors or drawer fronts for cabinet refacing or new cabinets.​ Here's why:

  • 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 limited spectrum of colors.
  • They come only 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, 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, easy to break and impossible to fix so it's not noticeable.
  • Edges of doors, drawer fronts and frame tend to peel off.
  • 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. Here's the kind of damage we commonly see to RTF cabinets:

What are advantages of traditionally finished kitchen cabinets that use primer and enamel?

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

  • If properly done, they surpass in quality and durability any other finishes like RTF or lacquer.
  • They are smooth, washable and have a lasting finish.
  • They come in 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 noticeable differences.
  • 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 cabinets are made from.
  • If solid wood is used for cabinets, doors, drawer fronts and panels and the 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 enamel based finishes are the best choice for refinishing kitchen or bathroom cabinets with solid color application. Below you can see what can happens 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.

What are advantages for using lacquer finishes for new kitchen cabinets, doors, fronts when refacing kitchen cabinets?

Lacquer finishes don't have many advantages. Here's why:

  • Initially, lacquer finishes look good, but after a short time they start changing in color due to aging and the oxidation process.
  • They are not durable and are easy to scratch and chip off.
  • They crack due to the core expansion, especially on joints.
  • They can’t be touched up without a noticeable difference.
  • Damaged lacquer finishes 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.
  • Please notice that 1 layer of lacquer has 1 mil thickness, thus lacquer finishes have only 2 mils of thickness.
  • On the other hand, 1 layer of primer and enamel has 1.5 mil, thus, enamel finishes have minimum 6 mil thickness.
  • Enamel finishes are smooth, washable, durable, lasting, and they surpass in all aspects lacquer finishes.
​Lacquer, conversion varnish, or tinted polyurethane are not the best materials to use for kitchen or bathroom cabinet finishes. Use traditional materials for primers and enamels instead.

If you still have unanswered questions...

Knapp Consultants, Inc.

Estero, Florida 33928

Tel: (239) 898-0941

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