We moved into our house about 2 months ago, it was a 2 year nightmare
renovation. We went all out in pretty much every room, but especially
the kitchen. Last week I was talking to our custom cabinet guy who had
come to adjust a sliding door and he mentioned on the way out to keep
water off the cabinets because it takes the finish off. At the time I
thought it was odd, but didn't say anything to him. Then the next day
I noticed that indeed the finish was gone in streaks (about 1/4" in
places) at the bottom of the doors to the cabinets that were near the
two sinks (one is a a prep sink). When I talked to him today he said
that there is no finish that is water resistant and that this is bound
to happen if we don't keep an eye on it. The problem of course is that
you can never keep the water totally off the cabinets, not to mention
that these are vertical surfaces, I guess you could make the argument
that standing water on the top of a counter is eventually going to
leave a stain or remove the finish. What I'm seeing is that water
drips down the face of the cabinet then pearls when it gets to the
bottom edge where it hangs. I want to know if what he is telling me
and what I am seeing should be expected? Remember we've only been in
this house for about 2 months and you can already see the finish
starting to go and what really frightens me is that we've got the same
cabinets with the same finish in all of the bathrooms where there is
even more water around.
A custom cabinet guy, 'eh? The finish didn't get washed off, it was
never applied to the bottom of the door. Someone started a rumor that
the tops and bottoms of doors should not be finished, so condensation
runs down, collects at bottom, and wicks into unfinished wood on bottom.
Check out your bathroom door, or the neighbor's.
Poly, paint or varnish are great finishes when they cover the wood. One
coat often does not, and standing moisture will seep into minute
openings on the woodgrain. Latex is my least favorite, especially in a
kitchen. Most varnish will seep into wood grain on the first coat,
leaving minute gaps in the finish that allow moisture to intrude. Read
up on finishes, materials and workmanship before you contract for
multi-thousand dollar work. Talk to different contractor and don't let
one drive a nail without a written bid, license, insurance, and lien
Thanks so much for your reply. These are solid maple cabinets with
maple veneers. I just went around and checked the tops and bottoms of
the doors and it's hard to tell whether or not the edges were finished
or not. When I wipe my hand across the front of the cabinets it's very
smooth, when i run it across the top, side or bottom edges it's
definetly go a surface to it. I wouldn't call it, rough, but it's not
as silky smooth either. Right now I'm just trying to get informed so I
can talk to the cabinet guy. Whenever I get him on the phone now, he
pretty much just tells me this is the way it is, blah, blah, blah.
I think we have to get someone else up here to look at the cabinets
and tell us what he thinks happened and what it will cost to fix. My
fear is that I'm going to have real problems with all the cabinets in
Have you ever heard of someone coating with clear car coat? if you
have what does it do to the color of the wood? I heard it's expensive,
but virtually indestructible.
I have never seen a finish that was totally water proof nor one that was
not water resistant. For normal kitchen and bath use, you don't need to
worry about any finish I have ever seen have a problem with water
resistance. There are good and bad finishes. Some wear better than
others. The real problem is usually wear from people opening and closing
the doors. More than water the oils from your hands are more of a problem.
Forget what that guy said.
You have a cheap finish and if a bit of water affects it now the oils
from your hands will ruin it as well. Ive never seen dripping water
affect a quality finish unless it is not cured which depending on type
of finish can take a month or so. I have seen a cheap Tiawan finish
cabinet fail, it was just a bad product used. If the cabinet guy
finished them find out the product used and talk to the company that
made it. Ive seen alot of kitchens, what you describe does not happen
with quality finishes even after 20 yrs. Get a few people out that know
finishes, they probably need to be sprayed-recoated before damage
requires stripping and refinishing. I hope you have not paid in full
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