Home builders in Kansas City love putting lacquer finishes on custom kitchen cabinets. Lacquer finishes are fast, easy and cheap. A moderately skilled painter can spray lacquer on kitchen cabinets and woodwork and get good-looking finishes. Your new kitchen cabinets sparkle like a jewel. The difference is that a jewel looks good even after 10 years. Your lacquer finished cabinets won’t.
Once your house is ten years old you will notice the kitchen cabinets looking shabby. The original lacquer starts to break down, especially around your sink, stove and coffee maker. Lacquer doesn’t hold up to water and steam. And if you have the yellow oak cabinets so common in the Kansas City area, your yellow cabinets will now be some shade of ugly orange. Any wood with a stained finish will change color with age. The yellow oak changes to orange. The orange color will come even with an oil poly finish. The problem we see is that lacquer finishes also break down after 8 years or so.
Kansas City is full of yellow oak kitchen cabinets. You may have inherited the kitchen cabinets when you bought your home. However it happened, you end up with a worn and dated kitchen.
Doing the same thing and expecting a different result.
Refinishing kitchen cabinets is a big deal in Kansas City because so many people want a cost-effective solution to yellow oak cabinets. Some companies decide the best solution is putting more lacquer on your cabinets. Of course, the lacquer industry has come a long way in the past 20 years. Now the trend is to use water-borne lacquer with a catalyst hardener. It comes in colors as well as clear. And it can be tinted dark to let you keep the wood grain yet make your cabinets appear to have a walnut or darker stain.
One of our suppliers started using and selling a water-borne lacquer and raved to us about how well it worked. We decided to test it out. We weren’t impressed. It might stand up better to water better. But the big problem is that it dries brittle.
We’ve just repaired one of these lacquer finishes. It looked great when the painter finished. But it’s chipping off now. And he chipping started less than a year after they paid to have the work done.
Any finish will mar if you hit it hard enough. But lacquer chips too easily. We also saw cracks in the finish at the joints in the doors. Wood expands and contracts depending on the humidity in your home. The Kansas City dry winters always cause kitchen cabinet doors to shrink. The brittle nature of lacquer causes it to break when this happens.
Our process gives better results
We’re willing to look at new products, but we value durability and long-life over ease of use. Companies that use lacquer like it because it’s quick for them, and it looks good when they’re finished. But it might not look so good a few years down the road.
We’re doing more work for a client we helped 8 years ago and their cabinets still look great. You have to remember there is still wood under our finish. It will dent or gouge if you hit it hard enough. But we’ll continue to use tough, durable finishes and do our work by hand. Our products and processes give great looking results that last.