When planning the kitchen of their dreams, homeowners often wonder if they should select painted or stained cabinets. There is no right answer. The choice of stained or painted cabinets depends on the look and feel that a homeowner desires. Both paint and stain have pluses and minuses. The choice really depends on the style statement that you would like to make.

Paint offers a smooth surface with options for a glossy, matte or satin finish. There are unlimited color options, and paint can be applied to solid wood, plywood and medium-density fiberboard. Paint hides the features or grain of the wood used to make a cabinet. 

Unlike paint, stain allows the natural beauty of wood to shine through. While paints come in every color in the rainbow, stain options are not as plentiful. The most popular stain choices among homeowners are brown, red and gold tones. Occasionally, we specify kitchen cabinets with blue, green or grey stains. 

There is a cost difference between painted and stained cabinets. Paint is typically 15% more due to a more labor-intensive application process to cover the entire surface of the cabinet to achieve a smooth, clean, consistent look. 

Cabinet cleaning and preservation

Stained wood cabinets should be cleaned semi-annually or quarterly if you are an avid cook because wood grain tends to absorb grease and dirt. We advise our clients to clean their stained cabinets by mixing seven parts distilled vinegar with one part rubbing alcohol and a few drops of dish soap.

Using a microfiber cloth, wipe down cabinets with the alcohol, vinegar, soap mixture, and then rinse with warm water. Seal the finish with furniture oil to keep your sealed wood cabinets looking like new.

Painted cabinets should be wiped down with a damp microfiber cloth weekly. If you find that the cabinets still require TLC, then use the same alcohol, dish soap and vinegar mixture and approach recommended for stained wood cabinets.

Black and white cabinets serve as repositories for fingerprints, dust, dirt and grime. They should be wiped down weekly with a damp microfiber cloth. If you order white painted cabinets, request the showroom provide a small container of matching white paint that you can use to repair the chips and scrapes that often occur with regular usage.

The following products and ingredients can damage cabinets so avoid using them or any product that contains them: petroleum-based products, solvents, bleach, strong detergents and soaps, nail polish remover, paint thinners, plastic brushes, steel wool, scoring pad and ammonia.

Is paint or stain the right choice for your new kitchen or bath? Visit the Country Cabinets, etc. showroom at 95 East Conway Road in Center Conway, call (603) 356-5766, email ccetc@countrycabinetsetc.com or go to countrycabinetsetc.com.

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