We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Cabinet Finish?

M. McGee
By
Updated May 21, 2024
Our promise to you
About Mechanics is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At About Mechanics, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A cabinet finish is a substance placed on the wooden components of a cabinet to complete it for construction or sale. In general, these finishes fall into one of three categories: paint, varnish or laminates. Each of these three types of cabinet finish provides a different feel, appearance and set of properties to the underlying wood. In most cases, painting and varnishing may be done after the cabinet is constructed and delivered, but laminates must be applied when the cabinets are constructed. A laminate-finished cabinet may still be painted, but it cannot be varnished.

Applying a cabinet finish is often the last step in its construction or the step before assembly. When paint or varnish is used as the main cabinet finish, it is usually applied after the cabinet is assembled. If the wood is laminated, the process takes place before the cabinet is put together. After a laminated cabinet is assembled, it is usually ready for sale.

Paint is often used on older cabinets. Paint both allows a cabinet to match the existing room and provides a small amount of protection from damage. For many consumers, paint is one of the least attractive options for a cabinet finish, mostly due to its tendency to fade and chip. The chief advantage of paint is that it may be used on any type of cabinet, regardless of the previous finish. This allows users to repaint, rather than replace, their cabinets if the kitchen is updated.

what is cabinet finish

Varnish is a common finish on more expensive cabinets. There are two types of varnish: stain and lacquer. Stain enhances the natural wood pattern of the cabinet by creating uneven darkening on the grain of the wood. Generally, darker areas become much darker, while lighter areas don’t change very much. Stains come in a huge range of glosses and colors, but most simply amplify existing colors in the wood.

Lacquer is a colored varnish that has an appearance similar to paint. Unlike paint, lacquer is considered to provide exceptional protection to the wood. It bonds with the wood itself, creating a shell-like outer covering. While many lacquers are colored, translucent and even completely clear lacquers are available. These work like stain, except they are not bound to the color of the wood. The cabinets may have a totally natural appearance or may appear to be stained with non-natural colors like orange or green.

Laminates are the most common type of cabinet finish. These are layers of wood that are sealed on top of the cabinet. The cabinet may be made of unattractive wood or pressboard and then covered in a laminate to improve its appearance.

Many laminates are pre-compressed. They are thicker pieces of wood that are placed in a press until they are very thin. This protects the cabinet from impacts, as any impact would need to hit with more force than what was applied by the press in order to penetrate the coating.

About Mechanics is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
M. McGee
By M. McGee , Former Writer
Mark McGee is a skilled writer and communicator who excels in crafting content that resonates with diverse audiences. With a background in communication-related fields, he brings strong organizational and interpersonal skills to his writing, ensuring that his work is both informative and engaging.

Discussion Comments

M. McGee

M. McGee

Former Writer

Mark McGee is a skilled writer and communicator who excels in crafting content that resonates with diverse audiences....
Learn more
About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

About Mechanics, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.