Why are painted cabinets so expensive?

Decorating trends come and go but painted cabinets have been a standard in kitchens for the last 100 years.  Last year IBK built more painted cabinets than anything else.  We've seen an increase in the popularity of painted cabinets with the "rustic modern" design trend. Many people want to retain the timeless look of painted cabinets in their older homes as well. 

Over the first half of the year we worked on a farm house that was built in the 1950s in which the homeowners wanted to maintain the mid-century farmhouse look. The house now has two kitchens, one upstairs and one downstairs, with white painted cabinets.  

In the fall of 2017 we completed a kitchen renovation on a house built in 1920. The homeowners picked two different paint colors for their kitchen cabinets, the upper cabinet color they selected was Sherwin Williams Ivory Lace and the lower cabinet color was Sherwin Williams Retreat.  Needless to say painted cabinets can be a good way to refresh a kitchen in an older home without out-dating the rest of the home. 

So why is it so expensive to get new painted cabinets? All you're doing is painting right? Not quite. At IBK we have a very labor intensive process to make sure your cabinets are as close to perfect as we can get them. 

Each section of the cabinet that is painted, whether it be a door, drawer front, face frame or finished end requires a minimum 5 step process. The process begins with sealing each joint to ensure there are no gaps in the paint. Next at least two coats of primer are applied to both sides of drawers and doors. Each coat of primer/paint takes approximately 20 minutes (depending on the time of year) to dry before the next coat can be applied. 

Depending on the paint color selected for the cabinets a minimum of 2 coats of paint will be applied to each side of each drawer/door. If a darker color is selected, like the aforementioned "Retreat" green cabinets, it can take more than 2 coats of paint on each item. Those cabinets required 4 coats of paint. This is process can take two people a week or more to complete. 

The paint alone for an average sized kitchen's cabinets will cost at least $900.00. When you take that into consideration and the added time for the painting process the cost of your cabinet goes up significantly from clear and stained cabinets. 

Should you choose stain over paint? The decision is yours…

A few things to consider when you are faced with that decision might include:

The cost: Painted cabinets are more expensive than stained cabinets, and stained cabinets are slightly more expensive than natural wood with a clear coat of lacquer.

Variety: Painted cabinets allow for more variety in color options than stained cabinets do. If you are looking for something to really spice up your kitchen or mellow it out, painted cabinets might be exactly what you’re after.

Touch ups: Paint has the potential to be more difficult to touch up than stain. We spray the cabinets when we paint them, which means brushed on touch up paint is going to be much more noticeable.

Character: Paint tends to hide the character of the wood your cabinets are built out of. Stained and clear coated cabinets showcase the wood’s natural character. Of course, if you view the wood’s character as imperfections paint is excellent at hiding those imperfections.

Timelessness: Whether you are designing a modern home or updating a mid-century farmhouse both painted and stained cabinets are timeless.

 Stained Walnut Cabinets in New Construction

Stained Walnut Cabinets in New Construction

 White Painted Cabinets in Updated Farmhouse.

White Painted Cabinets in Updated Farmhouse.

 Clear Coated Sapele Cabinets

Clear Coated Sapele Cabinets