Painted Cabinets: 3 Things to Know

Painted cabinets are popular and also require a commitment from the homeowner to keep them in pristine condition, typically more maintenance than stained cabinetry. If you plan to select painted cabinetry for your home, here are three things to know about paint on wood surfaces.

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Paint characteristics are the same, no matter the brand, the surface, or the cabinet manufacturer. What can you expect when you buy painted cabinets from Showplace?

As described in our blog about stains, wood allows stains to soak into wood and take on some of the character of the wood.

Paint, on the other hand, just sits on top of surfaces, including wood used for cabinets. We go to great lengths to ensure your cabinets look like new for as long as possible, but here are 3 things to expect from painted cabinets.

Cracked paint from separated door joint

Open Door Joints

When we build our doors, we use glue and joint grooves to construct the doors. Then, we place all doors in a clamp that presses the joints together until the glue dries. This process ensures that the door construction is as solid as possible.

Change in climate, meaning high or low humidity, may cause wood to shrink or expand, causing paint to crack at those joints where there may be the most movement. This is normal and is not considered a warranty event.

Chipped paint on cabinet door

Surface Damage

Even though we move all finished parts through a large oven to bake on a top coat for all finishes, that is no match for life with kids and pets.

Toys, claws, pots and pans, utensils, and other hard, sharp surfaces can still do damage to our paint and this is not covered under our warranty.

Surface damage includes stain spots, chips, paint wear, scratches, and more.

Image of Water Damage on cabinet drawer front

Water Damage

Just like with the wear and tear from living around your cabinets, water and other liquids can also damage painted surfaces.

You may see abnormal wear to your paint on cabinets around a sink or waste basket cabinet.

Be sure to take care of your cabinets using the information in our blog post about caring for painted cabinets.

It’s important to note that touch up kits for our standard paints are an easy tool to help with maintenance on chips and blemishes. Be sure to ask your dealer to include a kit with your painted order.

Wood Grain and Stain: 3 Things to Know

If you plan to select stained cabinetry for your home, here are three things to know about how wood grain can affect the look of your stained cabinetry.

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No matter where you purchase your cabinets, you will most likely select a wood species that is universal among all manufacturers, so the results will be very similar.

Stains respond differently to the species of wood you choose. Each type of wood has a different level of density and grain characteristic that determines how the stain will soak in and appear. The pattern of graining is unique to each wood species.

Of course, light also affects the look of any finish. See our blog post on the effects of light on cabinet color.

Let’s take a look at some cabinets in our factory to see how the look of stain changes with different graining.

Grain Pattern

As you can see, this vanity cabinet has doors and slab drawer headers with varying grain patterns which change the look of our Thunder stain on red oak.

The slab drawer headers and door frames are made of solid wood. The customer opted to choose doors with veneered plywood center panels instead of solid wood panels. The grain is horizontal on the headers, causing the stain to appear darker than the doors that have vertical graining.

The door center panels are made of veneered plywood, which also have varying grain characteristics.

This look is acceptable and shows the uniqueness of stained woods.

Quartersawn White Oak Cashew drawer base cabinet

Cut Direction

The drawer headers on this three-drawer base cabinet are made of quartersawn white oak finished with our Cashew stain. We also used our Weathering process with Walnut accents to create a worn look.

Notice the cut pattern causes the stain to soak in differently, creating a beautiful look with the variety of graining.

The varying levels of light and darkness in the finish of this Character Stain show the true beauty of this wood and cut.

This look is also acceptable and typical of this type of wood.

Row of natural walnut cabinets

Heart or Sap Wood

Of course, even natural wood has a variety of looks without a stain to highlight those variances.

Grain varies, causing the look to be different on each piece used to build a cabinet, but so does the presence of sap or heart wood.

This pair of natural walnut cabinets highlights how wood color varies when light areas of sap wood are present.

This look is acceptable and shows the true character of woods like walnut.

Effects of Lighting on Cabinet Color

Many factors affect the appearance of color. So, when you’re investing in new cabinets from Showplace, you want to make sure they’re going to look as close as possible to what you’ve envisioned.

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No matter where you purchase your cabinets, you will most likely select a wood species that is universal among all manufacturers, so the results will be very similar.

Explore their color chip samples and our list of standard paint and stain colors. Then, when you think you’ve selected the colors you want, order a sample door from your dealer so you can see what an actual Showplace cabinet door will look like in your space. We highly encourage you to make your final finish selections based off a sample door, rather than a color chip.

Be sure to hold the door at the approximate location the cabinets will be installed and view the door with lights on and off, and at different times of day because light affects color in different ways.

Here are some ways light may change how your cabinets appear:

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Artificial Light and Color

The type of indoor lighting will change the appearance of the finish or surface of your cabinets because different bulbs have a different color temperature.

Incandescent, fluorescent, halogen, or LED lighting have different color and intensity.

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Natural Light

Natural lighting will also cause your cabinets to look different, depending on how direct the light is, whether clouds are dampening the intensity of the sun, or if window treatments are causing indirect sunlight.

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Sheen Level

The level of sheen (glossiness) reflects light, which may make the cabinets look a bit different in various lighting. Learn more below.

Sheen Level

If you’ve ever picked out paint before, you already know what “sheen” is. It’s the relative “shininess” or “glossiness” of a finish. Showplace offers all its finishes in your choice of two levels of sheen, no extra charge. 

“Satin” is what most people would consider normal sheen for home cabinetry. “Matte” is a little bit softer, a little bit flatter than Satin and is often associated with the finish on fine furniture.

Satin sheen tends to be a bit more reflective than matte, but adds more depth to the color.

Be Prepared

  • Be sure to purchase a sample door from your Showplace dealer so you can take it home and place it in your space to see how it looks in the lighting you have now.
  • If you plan to include different lighting in your space than you have now, go to different rooms in your home that may have similar lighting to view the sample.
  • Remember that colors on a screen will most likely not match the appearance of the same color in person, so consider this when viewing colors online.

Semi-Custom vs. Stock Cabinetry

You may be wondering how Showplace products differ from cabinets you can purchase from “big box” stores. Their stock cabinets may look similar from the outside, but there’s more of a difference than meets the eye.

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Here’s what you get from stock cabinetry purchased from a national chain store or stock cabinet company:

  • Standard-sized cabinets offered
  • Standard offering of wood species
  • Standard selection of finish colors
  • Standard selection of door styles
  • Limited or no ability to change cabinet dimensions
  • May be built-to-order, but often built ahead and sold from inventory
  • Priced most affordably due to limitations and materials used
Semi Custom Icon

Showplace is semi-custom. Although Showplace will build custom configurations and offers custom paint colors, we do not offer limitless species or custom door styles and custom stains. Here is a list of generally accepted semi-custom cabinet attributes:

  • Standard-sized cabinets offered; virtually any dimension of these cabinets may be changed to fit the kitchen or bath design and the available space
  • Standard offering of wood species with some specialty species offered
  • Standard selection of finish colors with some specialty finish treatments offered
  • Standard selection of door styles
  • Custom sizing and configurations available within standard wood species, color, and style offerings
  • Cabinets built-to-order for individual homeowner
  • Mid-priced to reflect flexibility and broad product offerings
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Showplace offers many custom features found with other cabinet makers who call themselves custom; since there are no universally accepted attributes to describe custom cabinets, we thought we’d share this list:

  • Standard sized cabinets may be available; specialty is “you draw it, we build it”
  • Standard offering of wood species, but will accommodate special requests
  • Standard finish colors offered, but will accommodate special requests for color matching and specialty finish treatments
  • Standard door styling offered, but will accommodate special requests
  • Special configurations of cabinetry are offered without restrictions on species, color and style
  • Cabinets built-to-order for individual homeowner
  • Most expensive due to limitless options
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Semi-custom Showplace cabinets were used in this modern kitchen design. Click the image to visit this gallery.

Showplace Flexibility: Drawer Header Choices

Flexibility is just one of many reasons why Showplace is the best cabinetry choice for your home or business. A semi-custom cabinet line means that you have many choices for the look and feel of your space. Drawer headers, or “drawer fronts” as they are sometimes called, are one of the many elements of a design that create that perfect look.

Showplace offers several header choices that coordinate with specific door styles to give you plenty of options for your design. Take a look at our various header selections below.

Five-Piece Headers

The drawer header that looks like a small door is called a five-piece header. The name comes from the fact that each header is constructed with five individual parts: two stiles and two rails to make the header frame, and a center panel that fits inside the frame to attach pull hardware.

Gray office cabinets

Slab Headers

Slab headers are a single piece made of wood or HDM material with an outside edge profile. Often a design will have slab drawer headers because of a few factors: look, price, or because of a pull hardware requirement. We offer several edge profiles for our slab headers that coordinate with a specific door style.

  • Slim Shaker Edge – for Slim Shaker door styles
  • Smooth Edge – for Aria, Pendleton and similar door styles
  • Decorator Edge – for Covington and similar door styles
  • Notched Edge – for Lancaster and similar door styles
  • Slant/Raised Decorator Edge – for Covington and similar door styles
  • Slant/Raised Eased Edge
  • Radiused Smooth Edge – for Cambridge and Arlington door styles
  • Square Edge – for Milan door style

So, as you can see, the sky is the limit when it comes to Showplace. Visit your local Showplace dealer to see examples of these header options and start dreaming about your Showplace living or entertaining space!

Effects of Humidity on Cabinets

Hardwood cabinet components like face frames, doors, and headers are made of a natural material — wood — which has great character and personality. But natural wood also has some inherent limitations that should be understood. This is true of all wood in the home: furniture, millwork and cabinetry.

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No matter where you purchase your cabinets, you will most likely select a wood species that is universal among all manufacturers, so the results will be very similar.

Things to Remember

Door Construction

Most cabinet doors are made of five parts: Four pieces that make up the outer frame, and the inner center panel. The notch that the center panel fits into is a bit oversized, to allow some expansion and contraction of the large center panel. This helps prevent warping, but can still open visible joint lines.

Material Matters

Paint grade doors use HDM for the center panel which minimizes expansion and contraction, but joint lines may still appear because paint grade doors have natural wood frames that will expand and contract more than the HDM center panel.

The Best Option

The Showplace HDM door styles are our most dimensionally stable. They are the best choice for painted cabinetry in coastal regions, or other areas of high humidity.

By its nature, wood is “hygroscopic,” meaning it naturally absorbs and releases moisture in its environment. These changes in moisture content may result in dimensional changes that can happen gradually over time, or happen suddenly with seasonal changes or changes in humidity within the home. When these natural dimensional changes occur, joinery lines can appear that were not visible before. For instance: As wood swells and contracts due to seasonal humidity changes, a joint where a stile and rail meet can open up slightly, showing a line that was not previously visible. When exposed to drier air, door center panels will contract, exposing a visible line next to the stile until moisture is restored. These are inherent characteristics of wood, are not considered flaws, and are not covered under the Showplace warranty.

Be Prepared

  • Be sure to purchase a sample door from your Showplace dealer so you can take it home and place it in your space to see how it looks in the lighting you have now.
  • If you plan to include different lighting in your space than you have now, go to different rooms in your home that may have similar lighting to view the sample.
  • Remember that colors on a screen will most likely not match the appearance of the same color in person, so consider this when viewing colors online.