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Pre-con Kitchen Cabinets Dilemma

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  • Aug 29th, 2021 5:20 pm
[OP]
Deal Expert
May 30, 2005
47775 posts
8484 upvotes
Richmond Hill

Pre-con Kitchen Cabinets Dilemma

Looking for a different perspective on what you would do.

We're looking for a two-tone kitchen; light/white uppers and dark/espresso lowers. Decor centre advised that wood cabinets only have wood-tone colours available; beiges, browns, reds, etc., things like whites would be MDF/Thermofoil only. We are allowed to pick different uppers and lowers, and they advised we can pick white MDF uppers and whatever we want in wood for lowers.

I'm not a big fan of that, or MDF in general. I'm secretly thinking I can just get uniform uppers and lowers, and just paint the uppers white. Is this a bad idea? What would you do?
6 replies
Deal Addict
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Aug 5, 2003
2544 posts
467 upvotes
North York
I haven't seen home painted cabinets look good long term - they are a high touch surface and need better paint then your interior doors/trim.

IMO - I'd take the doors off and take them to a shop that does refinishing (although I haven't done any research in that area)
Deal Fanatic
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Dec 4, 2009
7420 posts
3160 upvotes
Agree with the other poster. Before making a decision with your builder, visit or call a couple of cabinet refinishing places and ask them.
"I'm a bit upset. I've been grab by the back without any alert and lubrification"
Lucky
Deal Addict
Dec 5, 2009
1765 posts
2076 upvotes
We had a similar two-tone colour theme (white on top but light wood on bottom/wall, all flat cabinet fronts) and we had to make a similar decision.

My wife selected white oak for the bottom cabinets/wall pantry, and our cabinet maker was able to accommodate matte white "soft touch" panels from AGT. I was a bit concerned about MDF panels too but my wife has used this company before for other projects and they turned really great. Not sure how "soft touch" the MDF panels are (lol), but they sure are smoooooth.

Have you seen the MDF samples in person or can your company accommodate outside products? Maybe there are MDF options that you haven't seen/felt before that could change your mind...
Deal Guru
User avatar
Nov 18, 2005
11667 posts
3170 upvotes
Kingston
We were told the same thing by our builder. Their concern is that natural wood may eventually dry, the glued wood pieces may separate slightly and cracks will show through the paint. It may also be difficult for them to get a perfectly flat surface for painting. We asked them to paint the wood anyways and it is all looking good 9 years later. Seems like the risk of splitting would be the same with stained doors (it may be less noticeable, but I'm not too sure about that).

So you may have to sign off on that risk.

One step that happened in between was that they built the wood-style doors (top and side rails with panel in between, all separate pieces glued together) out of MDF. Our first day in the house we spilled some water on one and it expanded badly (as wet MDF does). Gladly they replaced all those doors with painted maple doors.
[OP]
Deal Expert
May 30, 2005
47775 posts
8484 upvotes
Richmond Hill
Alpine84 wrote:
Have you seen the MDF samples in person or can your company accommodate outside products? Maybe there are MDF options that you haven't seen/felt before that could change your mind...
It's not the look that's the problem - I've seen the samples and they look fine - but rather the idea of MDF itself versus hardwood. First, it feels like I'm getting an inferior product, and second, I know that if and when the coating wears, getting it near moisture is going to be disaster.
JWL wrote: We were told the same thing by our builder. Their concern is that natural wood may eventually dry, the glued wood pieces may separate slightly and cracks will show through the paint. It may also be difficult for them to get a perfectly flat surface for painting. We asked them to paint the wood anyways and it is all looking good 9 years later. Seems like the risk of splitting would be the same with stained doors (it may be less noticeable, but I'm not too sure about that).

So you may have to sign off on that risk.

One step that happened in between was that they built the wood-style doors (top and side rails with panel in between, all separate pieces glued together) out of MDF. Our first day in the house we spilled some water on one and it expanded badly (as wet MDF does). Gladly they replaced all those doors with painted maple doors.
Thanks, this is exactly the problem with MDF that I want to avoid. Granted, since this will be for the uppers, it's probably less of a risk, but a risk nonetheless.

I'll have to check with the builder if they would do this at all even if I were to sign off on it, but thanks for the suggestion.
Deal Addict
Feb 26, 2016
1461 posts
463 upvotes
Vaughan
not sure if this will help but check these guys out:

https://prosteppainting.com/about-us/

reviews seem pretty good. can't vouch for them personally as I've never used them but somehow they showed up on my instagram and thought this might help your dilemma - to at least contact them and ask for their advice and cost to paint after delivery from the builder.

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