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5 Things You Should Know about Unfinished Kitchen Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets come in various shapes and forms. Some prefer to take them finished, only to have them installed within minutes. Others prefer the unfinished kind for a variety of reasons. Here is what you should know about unfinished cabinets if you are renovating your kitchen.

  1. They Are Easier to Paint

If you are in for some DIY work and want to paint your cabinets yourself, the unfinished type is likely the best thing that you can go for. Since you will have a new, fresh surface to work with, you will not need to scrape the old paint away. You just have to smooth the surface of the unfinished cabinets for a bit.

“Unfinished, painted, and stained wood all work well, as does MDF, compressed/faux wood. In truth, any material that you can scuff up with sandpaper so that paint adheres is viable. That’s why laminates aren’t a good choice—you can paint them, but it won’t be long-lasting,” says Albert Rudge, painter in home décor. If you want to be creative and efficient, unfinished kitchen cabinets are the way to go.

2. You Can Add Them to Existing Cabinets

Perhaps you already have an existing cabinet color that you want to keep. With finished cabinets, you might not be able to find a color similar to what you have in mind. You might find something that is close enough, but when finished cabinets are involved, you might not be able to find an exact match.

Things are different for paint. Unfinished kitchen cabinets are highly customizable, so all you have to do is buy some paint in that exact color and create a matching extension. According to Cabinet Set experts, these cabinets are often the preferred choice when you already have a certain style in mind.

3. They Save Money

Finished kitchen cabinets, like their name suggests, are the kind that already received that final application of color and gloss. Unfinished cabinets, on the other hand, haven’t. Since even that layer of paint and gloss will add a lot more to the price, the unfinished kind of cabinets will allow you to save some extra cash in the long run.

You might want to steer clear of glaze as well. “A glaze is tempting since the small detail goes a long way in shaping the aesthetics of your cabinets. However, a glaze adds significant cost to kitchen cabinets. Since it’s more of a want than a need, don’t hesitate to take it off the table,” says Houzz interior design professional, Sam Ferris.

4. You Might Need More Prepping

If you are planning to buy unfinished cabinets, you need to keep one thing in mind – and this is that you’ll need more prepping for the surface. The chances are that before you go in with the paint, you will need one extra layer of primer.

Unfinished wood is very porous. With a finished kitchen cabinet, you already have that initial layer of primer that already went through the pores. That being said, with finished cabinets, you need to start from scratch and be thorough if you want to get an extra smooth surface.

5. Refinishing Can Be Tedious

The thing about unfinished kitchen cabinets is that they can be quite tedious to customize and refinish – that is, if you don’t want to leave them the way you bought them. If the cabinets are finished, all you have to do is install them. However, if they aren’t, you’ll have some extra work ahead of you.

“It’s a very tedious and time-consuming project, which can often lead to frustration and failure if done incorrectly. That’s why I highly recommend consulting with someone who specializes in refinishing projects,” says Project Expert of Lowe’s, Hunter Macfarlane. You can just as well do this on your own, but you need to be thorough in following instructions.

The Bottom Line

In the end, unfinished kitchen cabinets are a good option if you want to step out of the norms and experiment with colors and design. They are a money-saving option, but their customizing might also cause you to spend more time on the projects. Unless you already know how to do a good paint job, you might end up spending more on hiring professional cabinet painters.

Thomas P
I believe in making the impossible possible because there’s no fun in giving up. Travel, design, fashion and current trends in the field of industrial construction are topics that I enjoy writing about.


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