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Cabinet Durability Information

Q: What kind of cabinets do you recommend?
When we build or replace cabinets we use 3/4" maple ply construction. The sides and back are also 3/4" maple ply. Cabinet doors are 3/4" solid maple. We prefer solid maple vs MDF for a few reasons but mainly because we have repaired enough kitchens to know that solid wood is by far the best option. Not only is it repairable and refinish-able (unlike mdf) but it simply withstands the test of time.
Q: What kind of cabinet finishes are there?
A: Cabinet finishes are different than the actual cabinet construction. When it comes to cabinet finishes there are a few main options: laminate, thermafoil, paint, or stain. Quality of each one of these can vary and actual construction matters as well.
Q: What is the best type of cabinet finish?
A: I realize I am bias but my honest opinion is paint or stain. Thermafoil and laminate will rarely allow for the finish to chip at all which is why it has become popular. But if you have ever had a thermafoil or laminate kitchen you know that it starts to separate from the material underneath and needs to be completely replaced. When it does fail by separation or if it does chip, it is not repairable. With care, a painted or stained finish will last longer and is usually on real wood where as the other options are typically on mdf or particle board.
Q: What type of finish am I getting?
A: You are getting a painted or stained finish. We paint our cabinet doors and drawers with an atomized spray gun after thoroughly cleaning and sanding. This is just how a factory would do it and we are likely using much better products. We use the appropriate primer for the project and a 2 part enamel paint with a catalyst for additional durability. All doors doors/drawers are dried under infrared lighting for additional hardness. On detailed cabinets or oak cabinets, we also apply by hand and sand smooth to fill in the grain as best we can. On frames, we paint by hand using a self leveling agent and other agents as necessary depending on humidity to prevent brush strokes. You can see our showroom kitchen in person which is painted the same way.
Q: What is your process?
A: All cabinets are dismantled and inspected. Frames are cleaned twice, sanded, primed, painted and sealed. This is typically done by hand, in the home, with a self leveling agent to prevent brush strokes. Doors and drawers are brought back to our HQ for further inspection. Joints are checked and often re-glued, rubber bumpers are removed and adhesives are eliminated. Handle holes are drilled and filled prior to paint application. Doors are cleaned a minimum of twice, sanded, primed, painted/sealed. We use an automotive spray gun for thin coats for added durability. Oak doors get a hand application to help fill grain, sanded again, and then the spray process is continued. During install, everything is checked over and touched up and the homeowner is left with a touch up kit. A kitchen renovation typically takes between 4-7 business days.
 Q: How durable will it be?
A: Typically when people ask how durable it is they are referencing chipping. The products and process ensures a very durable finish, however, chipping is a environmental condition. We use the best supplies we can to ensure a beautiful, quality finish for years to come. RF's showroom cabinets have been scratched and kicked (yes, really) and show no signs of wear. We do not exercise caution with our cabinets and can assure you the public puts our showroom through its own testing. However, as with all painted surfaces, typical wear and fading, and even chipping can occur so we have the following advice to protect your investment as long as possible.
    • Paint is still fully curing for the first 21-60 days (give or take depending on weather). A touch up kit is provided.
    • Taking extra care of your painted surfaces will lengthen longevity. Use a dry rag to wipe any saturated surfaces. Use warm water and a sponge for cleaning. Scrubbing cabinets or using cleaners is not recommended. Warm water and gentle wiping should soak and loosen hardened dirt/grime. If needed, highly diluted (a few drops to a gallon of water) soap that is gentle, non abrasive, and has no citrus in it can be used. Keep in mind, in kitchens we tend to have wet, soapy, oily hands and that does splatter on to the cabinets, wiping them down every now and then with a damp soft sponge helps to keep the finish from deteriorating.
    • When transferring from wood tone cabinets to painted cabinets there are a few things you want to consider:
      • Stain soaks into the wood so chipping of your urethane finish is not as noticeable. Wear takes longer to appear on a stained surface. If you can see wear on your wood cabinets, you will likely experience wear on your painted cabinets as well.  
      • Wood cabinets, especially oak, tend to absorb and hold grease and oils that we can not necessarily account for. While we treat each kitchen individually and do more thorough cleaning and sanding whenever necessary, not all kitchens will have the same durability when painting over an existing finish.
      • New/Raw doors tend to take paint more like a stain and therefore are more difficult to wear thus giving you a more a durable product.
      • We highly recommend all painted cabinets to have knobs and pulls. Using knobs and pulls properly will also lengthen longevity. If you start to see chipping around your handles, use your touch up kit so wear does not continue.
    • Chipping is a condition of environmental wear. If the paint were failing, it would be failing across all surfaces in sheets. If you experience chipping around the knobs, it is likely that they are repeatedly being worn when using the handles. If you change your habit to make sure you are only touching the handle, any potential deterioration will be greatly reduced.
    • If you experience chipping or water damage, be sure to touch the spot up right away. If chips are not repaired, the surface will deteriorate.  
    • You will have access to a client portal with videos for cleaning & touch ups.
Q: Are raw doors better than my existing doors?
A: Yes, raw doors will be more durable and with stand more abuse than a previously finished surface. The bonus is that if we are doing raw doors for you they are 3/4" solid maple (no veneer!) which means they are easily refinishable, super heavy duty and high quality. With new doors we also include soft close hidden hinges and can give you a full overlay door which hides your frame and makes it look like you gutted and replaced your kitchen without all the demo and install cost! We have never had a single touch up request from any client that went this route.
Q: What happens if I get a chip?
A: When a chip happens, it typically happens on an edge or right near the handle. It is important to touch up a chip when it is small as you can simply dab it on with a q-tip. If something more significant happened, reach out to us.
Q: Do you have a warranty?
A: Due to paint being affected by environments so heavily, we can not warranty our work. We do standby it though, and if a finish were to fail we would fix it for you. However, almost all paint issues will be an environmental or wear incident which is not the same as the finish failing.  

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