Guest Blogger #593, Entry #1381, July 11, 2012
If you’re keen to do some aesthetic upgrades to your kitchen but you’ve discovered that the cost of replacing (or even re-facing) your cabinets is a little beyond your budget, then you might wonder just how you can kick it up a notch when it comes to your grungy, old cupboards. In truth, there’s not much you can do with laminates. But if the structure of your cabinetry is sound and the facing happens to be actual wood, then there are a couple of good options that will allow you to completely change the look of your kitchen without blowing a huge amount of dough. This is especially true if you adopt a do-it-yourself mentality. The only question you really have to answer is whether you want to paint or stain your cabinets, and there are a couple of pros and cons associated with each avenue.
Way the options of price
For starters, you’ll probably want to think about how much the project will set you back financially, and believe it or not there can be a pretty big price difference between the two options, depending on what you’re starting with. Suppose your cabinets have wood grain rather than a smooth surface. Although paint and stain are comparably priced products, only one can be applied directly to the wood grain (that would be the stain). If you want to paint these cabinets you’ll first have to create a smooth surface, and this could mean purchasing tools (like a belt or circular sander) to create the grain-free surface you need. The other option is to use a primer or wood grain filler of some kind to create the glass-like surface needed to make sure the paint finish comes out smooth. Either way you’re going to have to purchase additional materials that will make the painting process more expensive.
How much labor is involved?
Of course, there is also the labor involved to think about, and while both may require preliminary elbow grease (removing any varnish or other finish that happens to be on the wood already), the painting process will definitely take longer to complete thanks to the many extra steps involved, including sanding away or filling in wood grain to ensure a tight bond and a smooth finish once the process is complete. And totally aside from the amount of work you’ll have to do, multiple coats of filler and paint will require additional drying time, stretching out the length of your project. On the other hand, there are so many more options available in terms of color and finish when it comes to paint that it may be well worth the additional effort.
Which option is more eco-friendly?
However, there is one last consideration, and that is the relative eco-friendliness of your options. While it’s easy enough to find low- or no-VOC products when it comes to paint, and you’ll even discover a wide range of colors and finishes to choose from, it’s a bit more difficult to find stains that fit the bill. But it’s not impossible, and more and more companies are striving to meet the growing demand for products that will do less harm to the environment. Although the average cabinet now comes in a wide variety of finishes and options to suit every buyer, painting or staining the wood you have could save you a ton of money in the long run. You simply have to decide which look you want and how much you’re willing to put into the effort before you settle on the product that best suits your sensibilities.
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