The short answer to the question above is- because we don't just paint over your cabinets. On this page, we walk you through our Cabinet Refinishing Process so you can better understand what the "Right" prep work is.
Before you hire a company whose primary specialty is not cabinet refinishing, listen to how we do things and why. In an industry where many unqualified professionals are flooding the market to capitalize on demand, we want people to have a better understanding of what needs be done and why. If you like to learn by video check out The 3 Pillars of our process.
Dust Free Equipment and No Overspray in your Home
All power sanding will be done with a high powered vacuum attachment on the sanding tool so that there will be no dust circulating around your home. Our commercial grade Hepa Vacuum does not re-circulate the dust back into your home like a standard shop vac. Our vacuum has over 99% efficiency at capturing dust particles, that's pretty dust free! We do not need to bring sprayers into your home either to get a smooth finish on your cabinet boxes that blends seamlessly with your factory finished doors. Our customers always appreciate how clean the process is and the fact that we do not have to make a plastic bubble out of your kitchen to contain a huge mess. Once the plastic bubbles come down the dust escapes into your home anyway if it hasn't already through openings in the plastic or your vents.
In the pictures below you will see the edge you do not caulk and a caulk job done on this edge performed by an actual company.
Removal of existing coating for a direct to wood bond
Doing the right prep work is very important. Many companies announce "we do the all the right prep-work". But what does that mean? Are all professionals out there doing the same thing? The answer is No. Just sanding cabinets doesn't mean a thing if you don't remove the finish. Sanding a door could be 30 seconds of time or 30 minutes of time. Other professionals will spend less than a few hours prepping your entire kitchen, while we are spending more than a few days making sure everything is paint ready. So what are other professionals actually doing?
We cannot speak for them, but we can tell you about what we offer. We clean and power-sand all surfaces to remove the finish and maximize adhesion. This will remove all residue that has eaten into the finish over the years as well. You might wonder- how do they get into the contours of the door profiles for prepping? We have tricks for that too in our shop, but we can't give away all of our secrets. Our sanding process is the only way to end up with cabinets that will stand the test of time and be resistant to chipping. Who wants painted cabinets that paint flakes off of every time you touch them? Our process takes time and hard work, but it pays off, and we love to do it. The direct bond you get with our process offers product adhesion that simply cannot be compared to priming over the clear topcoat that is currently on your cabinets, and you won't have to roll the dice and hope you don't end up with a permanent mess on your hands.
Achieving a "Factory" Finish
The key to achieving an amazing factory finish on your cabinet doors is in the environment as well as the technique.
Having a "factory" where you do your finishing is a key part of the process! We spray your cabinet doors in our properly ventilated spray shop with a controlled climate. This allows all of the overspray to escape quickly from the shop preventing airborne particles from landing on your doors. Also, optimal temperatures ensure that the coating can dry and cure properly. You will never see a run or drip on your doors either, those problems do not exist in our shop.
Getting back to the process, the next step after the preparation is to prime the prepared surfaces with the necessary coatings of our premium primer. This will seal the wood (blocking stains and wood tannins) and allow for excellent adhesion of the top coat. The right primer is also a key factor in the final appearance of the finish. We always apply enough primer to do the job without overcoating which will weaken the finish and cause problems of its own.
Next, we hand sand the surfaces smoothing out the finish to prepare for the final coat. This step is important, after sealing the wood sanding it down is the only way to get a glass like finish. We then apply 2 to 3 coats of our finishing product. this is where all the hard work pays off. After the doors are all complete each one is examined to be sure it is up to our standard and brought into our curing room.
When we bring your doors back for installation you will think we left your old ones back at the shop and brought you new doors. But don't just take our word for it see what our clients are saying about us by visiting our Reviews Page!
Filling and caulking
Open gaps and nail holes do not look great on painted cabinets. We caulk open gaps on your cabinet boxes and trim molding to make everything look solid and complete when it is finished. Many times there are nail holes in the existing crown molding that did not show up before so we fill those too. We also examine the doors throughout the process and fill any joints or blemishes that need filling.
Access to your kitchen while we work
Did we mention that you will still have access to your kitchen if need be and you will not need to completely empty your cabinets? You can absolutely clear out your cabinets if you would like to, but we only need the front half of your shelves to do our work. Most of our customers do not clear out their cabinets completely, although it is a great time to re-organize while your doors are off if you choose to do so. We cover and protect countertops and floors and clean up daily.
No Caulking on Gaps shown below!
Caulking open gaps will make your cabinet boxes and their trim look great. But there is one gap that you don't want to caulk. Where the Stiles and Rails (the Frame) meet the Panel there is a gap that should not be caulked. This joint allows for expansion and contraction of the wood so if you caulk this and your wood shrinks or swells a bit you could have big problems on your hands! Caulk may also lock the panel into place and make it more likely for the wood to crack if it shrunk a bit due to dry conditions. A cabinet manufacturer would not caulk these joints on painted wood cabinets, so we dodge this potential disaster and make your cabinets beautiful without caulking this particular gap.
"Breaking" the edges
Experienced cabinet and furniture builders have tricks of their own when it comes to adding durability to a project. One known trick in the industry that we use on your cabinets is "breaking" the edges. The primary thing you don't want with painted cabinets is chipping, and sharp edges are a weak point on many cabinet profiles that were designed for stained finishes.
Paint coatings applied cannot properly adhere to sharp edges due to the lack of surface area, and you can also take a chunk of wood easily off of a sharp corner.
We take the time to "break the edges" on your cabinets during our prepping process. This technique slightly rounds off sharp edges on your cabinets adding an exceptional amount of durability to areas that are prone to chipping.
We use the leading products in the industry to achieve a long-lasting, durable, and rich looking finish while being much lower in odor and VOC content than comparable coatings. We do not use conventional paint that is used for trim and doors in a home. The products that we use can be refinished if you decide to years down the road or if you have trouble with a door. Some paint products do not sand well leaving you with difficulties if you needed or wanted to refinish them. We look out for the future of your cabinetry here. Another benefit of our product is that it will not turn yellow over time. Many paint products used by professionals can turn yellow leaving you with no ability to touch up a little ding that may occur and even worse your white cabinets are no longer white!
Below are Before and After Pictures of some of our Cabinet Painting Projects
Why Choose Kammes Colorworks for your Kitchen Cabinet Painting Project?
Putting it all together
When we begin your project our initial time on-site (in your home) typically takes 3-4 days.
The first day your doors will be removed and taken back to the shop. All on-site surfaces will be prepped and we will begin priming. This is the busiest day in your home, and there will be some noise with the vacuum and sander running. In another room, you should have no trouble conversating if you work from home.
The rest of the days we will continue to apply coatings to your on-site surfaces until we finish. This is a quiet process we just like to have some appropriate music on at a reasonable volume. We will keep your kitchen orderly at the end of each day and you are welcome to pop in if you need something. While we are in your home working we will also be working on your project in our shop. Once we are finished on-site you can put things back into your cabinets. We will only need the front half of your drawers clear when we come back.
The final day of the process will be scheduled approximately two weeks from the date we began your project. This date will be scheduled as well before we even start your project. On the day of installation, your doors will be re-installed and hinges will be properly adjusted. With painted cabinet doors suddenly the margins between the doors can look un-even and doors will look crooked. So knowing how to adjust the doors to make everything look it's best really matters. We take the time on your install day to make your doors open and close properly and adjust the hinges to get the best margins and make your doors line up with each other.
Once your project is complete we recommend that you check out our Cabinet Care page. Here you can learn about the characteristics of wood and how to best care for your "new cabinets".
It's the small details that matter when completing a project. When you schedule your project with us you can rely on us being there and completing the work when we say we will. We do not play balancing games with our scheduling, when you commit to us we also are committed to you.
We would love to hear from you, please contact us to get a free estimate!