Kitchen cabinets constantly stay exposed to water, oil, moisture, heat, and debris. They lose endurance rapidly unless preserved well. Staining, followed by an added layer of wood finish, can ensure maximum protection. It is the easiest way to secure a cabinet and make it more appealing while giving the wood a dramatic look from the natural grain. It’s our point of discussion today. However, we will also point out other facts related to the protection and maintenance of cabinets and countertops.
Stain Finishing – Why is it Best for Kitchen Cabinets?
A good understanding of staining benefits can help you realize it is more suitable for kitchen cabinets. But remember, Only finishing is not a complete solution for extended durability, but an added finish can turn it exclusive. They combinedly make the surface more protective against swelling and cracking while keeping the natural wood look glowing constantly. A stained and finished cabinet enjoy all these fascinating advantages:
- Prevention from rotting,
- Protection against water, moisture, dave and grease,
- Endurance against heat,
- Visibility of wood color, grain, and texture,
- Preservation of aesthetics,
- Nearly no marks or scuffs;
- Durable service;
- Easy to touch-up, and
For a new and live wood-look cabinet, staining, followed by the glaze, is the way to go. You may consider other finishing approaches, as we’ve explained below under a separate paragraph, but nothing can provide all these benefits alone. Yes, you may think of painting as opposed to staining wood finish. But we still prefer stains, especially when it is a natural wood made cabinet. Why? – also explained later in this content.
But, What is Wood Staining Finish?
Staining is a proven savior, whether you’re protecting a kitchen cabinet or any other wooden object! It preserves the structural integrity and appearance of wood. But what is staining finish? And what makes it good for wood?
It is a type of wood finish or wood stains that generally contains volatiles, pigments, resins, and additives. Volatiles act as a carrier that delivers solids onto the substrate wood surface. They evaporate once the stain is successfully applied to the surface and forms a film. Generally, they are classified as harmful. To stay safe, ensure well ventilation while applying and let the stained surface dry fully.
Quality wood stains contain pigments – tiny iron oxide particles – that play a vital role in bringing a dramatic look to the natural grain of your wooden cabinet. Iron oxides act as a great protector against radiation, particularly the UVs, converting your wood free from fading.
Now comes the essential ingredient of a staining wood finish – resin. It binds pigments together while, in the next step, binding the pigments to the wood substrate. Acrylic, alkyd, or epoxy – manufacturers may choose any form of resin depending on their purpose of use, nature of wood, and other facts. When you stain your cabinet with such a finish, you get a highly-durable protective coating, which owes only to resin.
Additives add extra value to a cabinet stain. They mainly play an essential role as dispersants and thickeners. Credit for prevention from foaming, wetting, and mildewing also goes to additives.
When applied, all these ingredients perform combinedly to ensure smooth, stunning, sturdy protection to your kitchen cabinet.
Different Forms of Staining Finish
You’ll find finishes built for staining in different forms, such as polyurethane, penetrating oil, lacquer, sealer, stain, and varnish. They have varied methods of application, for instance, brushing, wiping on, or spraying. It’s not unknown to a woodworker or craftsman. Staining is a form of art, more than just a finish. The finished surface comes out entirely changed based on several factors like wood type, airflow, humidity, temperature, the thickness of coatings, and age of that finish. These determine how durable the object would be. If things go as instructed, you can expect to have a finish full of endurance.
Some Selected Staining Finish for Wood Kitchen Cabinet
You can’t refurbish or replace your kitchen cabinet frequently. Protect once, but let it serve in the long run – that’s the principle here. That’s because we think it’s best to stain with a wood finish. Choosing the best possible finish is vital considering wood type, cabinet structure, and desired look. Here we want to have confidence in our research, and we ask you to do the same. Following that, we have made a list below. Consider those for an updated appearance of your kitchen.
Best Stain – General Finishes Gel Stain
Best Polyurethane – Varathane Ultimate
Best Poly & Stain – Minwax PolyShades
Best Clear Coat – General Finishes High Performance
Best Cabinet Sealer – Waterlox Original Finish
Best Lacquer – Watco Clear Lacquer Wood Finish
Best Restoring Finish – Howard Restor-A-Finish
Best Conversion Varnish – General Finishes Enduro
Best Penetrating Finish – Minwax Penetrating Wood Stain
Best Water Based – General Finishes WXQT Espresso
Best Cabinet Top Coat – General Finishes Oil Gel
Other Methods of Cabinet Finishing
It is clear that staining is best for kitchen cabinets, but several other finishing methods are used in cabinet protection. Knowing those will help you understand why you should choose staining solvents.
- Laminate Cabinet Finishing
This type of finishing includes a thin or mid-thin layer of lamination on wood cabinets. They are super-resistant against any scratch or jarring cleaning. You can even clean it super easily using any chemicals or cleaning solvents. They are denting free. But, they are very vulnerable to heat, and they require quick drying after cleaning. Laminate finishing, thereby, is not suitable for kitchen cabinets.
- Glazed Finishing
Glazed finishing is generally used as an additional layer over paint or stained cabinet to obtain a better texture and glossy look. For a deep and dimensional view, there is no alternative to glazing. But it does not provide any additional durability to objects like kitchen cabinets. You can use it for other indoor structures except for mass traffic areas.
- Opaque Cabinet Finishing
For those who like regular wood cabinets with natural grain, opaque finishing is a good idea. It will help you get your desired color over the cabinet. But only opaque finishing can not give the required protection; if it’s applied after staining the cabinet, only then it adds some value to your kitchen spots.
- Paint Finishing
Paint is always a good choice regarding protection, even for a kitchen cabinet. You’ll have boundless freedom to choose colors when painting your cabinet. But do not coat in a heavy pattern, or avoid it if you prefer a visible-grainy look.
Choosing the right and durable finish for kitchen cabinets should consider many factors, especially the wood’s nature, the type and dimensions of its use, and the desired outlook. Despite having a few options, wood stain is our first preference because of its availability, cost-effectiveness, ease of use, varied and attractive appearance, and most essentially, its ability to provide adequate protection in the long run.