I was asked a question by a blog commenter about finishes in kitchens, so I thought I'd write a post about this topic. When posting pictures of more traditional styled kitchens, and having mentioned in the past my love for laminate (don't knock it people, it's the best surface for a kitchen), the commenter was interested how to achieve this look with laminate. My answer in reply was, you can't. So I thought I'd run through each of the finishes available in Australia for kitchen cupboards, and the pros and cons of each, in order of my preferred finishes.



1. Laminate

This is my favourite finish. It's incredibly durable, is very hard to chip, does not change colour for a very, very long time (20-30 years maybe?) and is hands down the best finish all round. There are a lot of options other than the brands Laminex or Formica. I quite like the Abet Laminati range, which come with textures on them, such as fine ribbing or woodgrain or even mirror finish. You can also get some excellent high gloss laminates in those ranges, so if you want a plain door front with the look of high gloss 2 pak, then this is a good option. The only problem with laminate is the finishing on the door inside edge (the cut inside edge of a door panel). On 'normal' range laminate you use a product called ABS edgebanding, which comes in colours perfectly matched to the Laminex or Formica range. It's sort of very thick plastic edging, and when your door is opened you won't notice it on the edge. Unfortunately the other laminate ranges don't have this, so it means that you won't get a perfect match, especially if there is a texture involved. This doesn't particularly bother me, after all, you can't see this when a door or drawer is closed, it's only when it's opened. But it does bother some people so is worth mentioning. You also can only use Laminate on a flat door or drawer panel, so any traditional looking cabinetry with shaker profiles or decorative routing won't work with laminate. Laminex and Formica are the cheapest finish you can do to your cupboards, the Italian laminates can get as expensive as 2 Pak depending on which one you choose.

"titanium" laminate by Abet Laminati via


2. Hand painted

If you are looking at a decorative door panel, such as the shaker style, then I like to specify a plain MDF (medium density fibreboard) with a semi gloss enamel paint finish on site. I don't particularly love high gloss finish on these types of doors, I personally like a low sheen look (which is more traditional anyway), so on site finishing works well. High gloss would look like doing any other large surface (such as a door) on site. If you're looking for a perfect high gloss look, this won't work that well. The reason why I like on site painting is that it is very easy to touch up if there are any chips or knocks, or if you get sick of your cabinet colour in 10 years time, you can easily paint over it again. The cost is in the middle - if you choose to paint the cupboards yourself you can obviously save a lot of money, if you get a painter to do it for you, it can end up similar in cost to 2 Pak.


3. Vinyl Wrap

Vinyl wrap is another option I suggest to people who are looking for a reasonably durable finish. I have had a client who wanted a plain door profile, but hated the look of ABS edge banding, so instead we went for vinyl wrap as it is much more durable that 2 pak (the kitchen was to have a high gloss finish, which was her choice but with 3 little boys could have been a problem with 2 Pak). I've also suggested it to people who want a perfect glossy smooth look with decorative cupboard fronts. My main problem with Vinyl Wrap is that it only comes with a 7 year warranty, which is not that long in my opinion. Also, being plastic it does degrade over time, and can yellow off. Now, by in time I mean in 10+ years, but it's something to keep in mind. This is at the mid point in terms of pricing.



4 (equal). Timber Veneer

This is not a durable finish. It's really more suited to people that don't cook a lot and that therefore don't give their kitchen a battering. I have found in the past that it will fade where the direct sunlight hits it, and that it is very easy to get water or steam damage in panels adjacent to sinks, dishwashers and ovens. Veneer is also the most expensive option, depending on the veneer you use. Some veneers are very, very expensive, others are cheaper, but the finishing will push the cost up regardless.



4. (equal) 2 Pak

I've said it before, but I rarely recommend 2 Pak to anyone for a kitchen. 2 Pak is a factory sprayed and baked epoxy paint finish. It is a very brittle surface, and while it will stand up to the rigours of light to fairly normal use kitchen (meaning adults who cook a reasonable amount of time and who are reasonably clean/ careful with their use of the kitchen), anyone who does a lot of cooking or who has children (teenagers included) will find this a potentially difficult finish to deal with. Due to its brittleness it is easy to chip door and drawer edges. If it receives a hard knock to the front, it can delaminate in large flakes. There's no way to fix this, other than gluing back on the delaminated piece (which you'll of course still see the outline of the edges). If you have a door resprayed in 5 or 10 years time, it will never be the same colour as the surrounding doors, as over time 2 pak will yellow off a little. It can also be sensitive to temperature on the day that they spray the doors, and you can in fact get slight colour variation from panel to panel with some colours. 2 Pak is the most expensive finish, aside from timber veneer.


I have not included solid timber doors because they're almost impossible to source in Australia from anywhere other than Ikea. It's a great shame that we don't get to experience the craftmanship that the Europeans get to experience. If you try to ask for dovetailed drawers in your kitchen here the cabinetmaker will likely get big $ signs in his eyes. That's if he actually has the machinery to do it in the first place.

Finally, I thought I'd leave you with a bit of kitchen inspiration from a blog reader, V. in Melbourne. Some time ago, V. emailed me photos of her beautiful kitchen in progress. It was very similar in layout to the initial pencil sketches I had posted of my own kitchen design many months ago now. V's photos helped me enormously as I was grappling with my kitchen layout at that stage, and we did have a lot of similarities in our layouts. V. is not a professional designer, and did not have any help with her design - she did all the design and selection of finishes herself, and was very busy at the time we were emailing painting the house (!) as she had been unhappy with previous homes and the quality of the paint job the professionals had done so had decided that she would do it herself. Definitely a perfectionist! But I think you can see that - this kitchen is pretty much perfect. What a beautiful job she has done.


I love the contrast with the black granite and the honed white marble on the island and splash back, and I also really love the classic lanterns that she has chosen as pendant lights and the lack of overhead cupboards that really gives an open and uncluttered feel to the kitchen and lets the light bounce around.


This angle looks into the butlers pantry (which was on my wish list for my own kitchen, but I sadly couldn't make it fit!). I love her finish choices, everything is very much classically styled, but done in such a unfussy and consistent way. It looks like it would be a wonderful place to cook in and a kitchen that will look fantastic in 10 or 20 years time. There is another side to the kitchen, but V. told me that she was still painting the doors, so didn't send photos at that time - the kitchen was only finished a few months ago.

So I hope this post answers a few questions that others may have with kitchen surface finishes and has been helpful to those planning a kitchen reno.

38 comments:

  1. Really useful and comprehensive post!

    There is a lot to consider isn't it? I will definitely retread this and forward this to Mr CSW so he can have a think about all this. Am now more confused! But that is a good thing, would rather know the pros and cons before committing. I was thinking about a continuous wood grain along the cabinets but as you say those are rather dear so will wait for the quotes...

    V's kitchen is so nice! Love the surfaces and lights and pretty much everything! Really well done to her. I am so envious of that pantry section but that would be considered a studio flat in London so that is out of the question! Thanks for all the info Heidi xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'll have a lot more options in the UK as they do the solid wood doors, whereas we don't even get that as an option. Really, we pay so much for kitchens, and don't get a lot to show for it in Australia.
      Laughing at the studio in V's pantry... it probably would sell for a bit if it went on the real estate market in London! xx

      Delete
  2. Love this post Heidi! Such great timing for me.
    Friends of ours got vinyl wrap doors. I didn't like the sound of them from the start. The cabinets that are either side of the rangehood, that hang down a bit lower have experienced shrinkage.
    I want to try and go with mdf that is painted. You can get timber doors from this company. http://www.tesroldoors.com.au/solid-timber.php Not much choice. I would love to get some of those and have them come unfinished. I would love to try and do my own finish. I think I could pull it off, but not sure if I have the time to do it. Husband has also said no to the contrast wood island.
    I love that kitchen you posted V's one. What are her cabinets?? That is the look I would like. Loving the black and white marble. I would love to do that too. But scared of the white marble on the island with the sink. I dropped my big le crueset pot in the sink the other day trying to wash it (I need to work out more, it is too heavy) and imagined the edge of my imaginary marble chipping with the undermount sink) I'm also scared the undermount sink will fall through!!
    I kind of have a butlers pantry. It is called my laundry!! LOL!!!
    It makes me sad that no one here wants to make kitchens like the ones we see online. In Canada I continually see kitchens being installed that are all raw wood and then they are finished on site. I shed a tear and am also a bit jealous. WHY WHY!!! Why can't we have it. My husband works for a shopfitting company and I ask him why they don't do things the old fashioned way. I designed a bookcase to have mitered edges and that is not what I received. Too lazy to use biscuits and clamps. Is it lack of skills or lack of wood? There are times where I really feel like learning a trade, namely carpentry.
    Rant over. Love your posts Heidi.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's not good with your friends vinyl wrap doors... they should try to get them replaced under warranty. I'm not sure why our kitchens are all MDF and melamine carcasses, everywhere else in the world seems able to still produce proper kitchens. I suspect that as our labour costs are so high, the small extra work, plus materials cost make it too expensive? It's such a shame...
      As for the benchtop dilemma - you'll find that any stone or composite stone surface will chip if you have something hard go against it. Laminate probably won't, but for an underbench sink you need a surface like stone for your bench top... you can't use laminate or timber with it. You could look into corion or the equivalent (aussie made) Marblo. Or you'll just have to do some weights!! xx

      Delete
  3. Hadn't been in our kitchen a year before we had to have some panels in our kitchen resprayed due to beagle/tricycle damage....ours are in a matt finish with the tall cupboards the same colour as the walls (Dulux Berkshire White) and the island bench the same colour as skirting boards (Dulux White on White) so mercifully you can't tell. Wish that I'd had everything hand painted as there is v little in our kitchen that I would change except fix the new chips to the two pack! That Melbourne kitchen is gorgeous! Rx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is gorgeous. I had serious kitchen envy... especially as the view from my kitchen sink is a bricked up window at this point! Yes... with a family of 4, it would be very ambitious of you to try to keep the 2 pak perfect. I love your colour choices, and from the photos I've seen of your kitchen it does look pretty much perfect - the concrete bench tops are a wonderful contrast with the traditional style cabinets. xx

      Delete
  4. Excellent post Heidi. Thank you. I just wish I had read it a year ago! We have finished our renovations, and I went with 2 pak. I had no idea this was a high maintenance finish, having never had it before. Nearly every 'high-end' kitchen I have seen seems to have this finish, so that's what I went with. No warnings from any of the kitchen designers etc either. I am disappointed with the performance of the 2-pak in relation to chipping and would not choose it again. I am a very neat and careful person and even I have managed to chip some cupboards, let alone my husband and two kids. I think this is exacerbated by the fact that the finish on my lower cupboards is a low-sheen soft black, which does show up the chips much more than a white finish would do. If only I had known about the hand-painting of the MDF option. On the other hand, the marble benchtops, which I agonised over due to their bad reputation, have been brilliant. I went with a honed finish - no stains at all from anything - even with a splash of takeway Indian left overnight accidentally (this did stain my old laminate kitchen). There is some etching of course which is unavoidable, but this is easy to remove with a light rub of 0000 steel wool. It's so beautiful, I think it's worth a little extra maintenance! Good luck with your choices. Tammy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your kitchen sounds beautiful Tammy, I've heard such mixed reports on using marble as benchtops, but I think the honed marble is a little more forgiving than the polished for bench tops, and certainly from what I've read on the net the people that have it are thrilled with it as a surface and finish.
      What a shame about the 2 pak problems you've experienced... I'm not surprised that hand painted finish was not suggested to you. It just doesn't seem to be on the radar with most kitchen designers for some reason. I'm not sure if that's because they just suggest what they think everyone wants, or if they prefer to walk into a job, strip the old kitchen, put in the new one and finish it all off in 2 weeks? Hand painting adds a little time on after the installation. It's a mystery to me as well! I will say that I specified my parent's kitchen as a hand paint around 10 years ago, and it looks fantastic - no chips, easy to clean and has lasted well. xx

      Delete
  5. As you know we currently have the "tarted up" kitchen and it will go for another 5-7 years or so by which time the cupboards will have had it (but will be over twenty years old by then). Interestingly our doors are made of solid wood as it was a high end finish at the time. This was the reason it was worth tarting up to start with!

    Our current cabinet maker in town (the one who did the solid jarrah vanity for my quarters) will happily still do solid wood doors and actually loves that sort of work. He will also make furniture. You have just made me realise how lucky we are to have him in a smallish country town! I have arranged a couple of kitchen renovations in some of our other staff houses and once used a company in Perth and they told me that the average time people keep a cheaper kitchen is 5 years as people then tend to sell and it gets changed etc (at least a cheap kitchen - I would hope the high end ones stick around a bit longer). Hence the fact that vinyl wrap is everywhere!

    I love laminate - have used the high gloss stuff for some bench tops and it has been brilliant. More durable than my Caesar stone was to be honest.

    I am loving watching your kitchen take shape.

    Take care Heidi.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are lucky to have someone that can make a kitchen with solid carcass and doors!! I'd LOVE that. Your cabinet maker is right, most kitchens are lucky to be in for 10 years. Most people tend to do up their kitchen and sell within a few years, and most houses are sold every 7 years (on average). So it's hugely wasteful to think of all that plastic and glue in landfill. And of course the appliances are all changed out too. The reason why Vinyl wrap has a 7 years warranty is that builders were refusing to put it in as it originally had a 5 year warranty, and all builders are required by law to provide a 7 year builders guarantee. So eventually they made it 7 years... which means that 10 years is about all you'll get out of it. A good kitchen (like yours sounds like) will last 30 years. But I think there are very few like that now, even the really expensive ones that go into high end developments are probably only there for 10 years. xx

      Delete
  6. Dear Heidi
    Lovely now home again to have time to read your posts. So interested in all the renovations and advice. Love the kitchen above. Very different from mine, gutted and replaced over 10 years ago. Then you could still get solid wooden doors and drawers made in Canberra, exactly to the size and style you wanted. You wouldn't choose my colour but I'm still happy over ten years down the track, though have to admit occasionally wish I had another house to experiment with. The wood is W. Aust. jarrah and has slightly deepened and now warmer and richer in colour (have since had the same people make Jarrah built-in bookcases/drawers for dining room and lounge. Because it's a rather dark wood (we have a huge sky light above main kitchen bench) we chose bone corian for the bench tops (the same colour as the background to the Giverny kitchen splash back tiles and same colour for floor tiles. It's a more traditional and rather cluttered look (I love a bit of clutter, sorry FF), mixture of deep blue glass bowls and hand painted Italian majolica plates, and Waterford crystal and b and w Spode behind glass fronted cabinets.
    The corian has been magic. You can't put really hot pots down but there's a double stainless steel sink with drainers both sides so pots can go straight onto the stainless steel. In every other respect it's been brilliant. So easy to clean, more forgiving of heavy handed husbands banging crystal glasses down while wiping up, etc. And any scratches can be sanded back. Not that it scratches easily.
    Now a bit worried about the wrap - we have that for the bathroom vanity bases. So far though still looking good and doesn't seem to have yellowed yet.
    Just one thing about porcelain butler sinks. Lived in a couple of places in England with these. The big ones are awful - likely to chip if you dropped a big Le Creuset pot in them. But also they are so large that you need to use an enormous amount of hot water just to wash a few things (and the water gets cold really quickly). English women get around this by putting a plastic washing up bowl inside them (also safer when washing fragile things as the porcelain sinks are not forgiving). The plastic bowl doesn't look good in a handsome kitchen so you need a large cupboard to store the bowl when not in use. Of course back in those days, in the UK people also used their huge kitchen sink as the laundry tub so it served a double purpose, but nowadays, and certainly in Oz though probably not in London, most people have washing machines and a separate laundry.
    Best wishes, Pamela

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your kitchen sounds fabulous Pamela, and how nice to have solid cabinets. Jarrah stocks now are very red looking, as it's younger jarrah - all the dark timber is older growth forests and they got to the limit and then had to switch to farmed jarrah which is not as deep a colour. You were really lucky! I've heard a lot of people with corian say they love it, it comes in so many different colours too, such a great product.
      I've also noticed that English women will often have a plastic tub inside their sink, and thought it must be so that they don't scratch or break their dishes... seems a bit silly to have a sink you can't use as a sink?!
      Good to hear from you, I have heard from Romy and FF that you had a great time on the tour... wish I could have been there too! xx

      Delete
  7. What a great post Heidi! From a 'builder's' perspective ('cept I'm the wife of, not him!) the two-pac finish is what most client's request. We find the finish quite durable but our recommendations are definitely individually based...if you're rough and ready and allow trikes in the house, then it's not the appropriate choice. I think giving the option of a hand-painted finish is ignored because the finish cannot be guaranteed...if it's done shoddily it's asking for problems and who's to blame? Builder ? Manufacturer ? Painter? Sad, litigatious times we live in unfortunately. Solid timber and solid painted timber kitchens are still available in Australia through joinery companies or custom furniture makers. They generally take up more room, are 'bruised' / dented more easily and the furniture kicks more uncomfortable to stand at. The timber internals are dark and retain stains and odour...yes, I've had a kitchen like this and LOVED it because I was aesthetically rather than functionally driven. I personally dislike vinyl wrap as it tends to delaminate EXACTLY the month after warranty expiration! AS with most things, any decision must be made with acurate information that is juggled with the lifestle or circumstances of the individual family in mind. Everyones personal experience is different because of this too. Sh*t. I've bombed your blog. Hope my comments are not seen as negative but constructive. x KL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, very constructive KL! The painters and finish is probably difficult for a builder to manage, and I can see why they'd shy away from that. Funnily enough, my builder is fine with hand painted finish on cupboards, but there are other things he baulks at (such as Porters Paints on walls) due to problems he's had on site in the past/ warranty issues etc. That's interesting you've found many (?) companies that do solid timber kitchens... I know of one in Adelaide, but they tend to do very, very ornate traditional style. It's certainly something you have to search for, rather than is offered as an option with most cabinetmakers.
      I've recommended 2 pak in the past, but its been to people looking to renovate to sell. It is seen in the general market as the premium finish - I think that real estate/ property developers have really put it into people's consciousness (as they have brand names of european appliances... something that wasn't on most people's radars 15 years ago even). I also think a lot of people think laminate is down market. It's interesting... but it has its place, I'm surprised you 've not had any problems with 2 pak, almost everyone I know has experienced chipping and been very frustrated by it. Thanks for your comment KL, it's interesting to get the builders (wife) perspective too! xx

      Delete
  8. Loved seeing all the kitchens mine is really a disgrace needs an overheaul . The thought of attempting it gives me the heebies ..

    Though I want some colour in a kitchen those mininmalist ones do appeal rather like those brown doors though it wouldnt remain like that if I owned it ..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did a post a while back with some very colourful kitchens in it! I think most people go neutral so that it resells/ they can live with it in 10 years time... but it can be a very good thing to be brave! xx

      Delete
  9. Hi again Heidi. Interesting points from KL. I do wonder, though, why painting a kitchen is different in terms of liability to painting other internal and external doors, walls, skirtings etc in the house? Would it fall under a different type of warranty perhaps? Also interesting about you recommending 2-pak to people renovating to sell due to the perception of it as a high end finish. This is exactly why we chose it also (albeit without realising the maintenance issues). The area we live in will reward a renovation with an excellent price if it is done to the highest standard, but I have noticed that renovations which are done to a less exacting level seem to actually decrease the price point as people seem to feel that it is too good to rip out but not good enough to buy. They would prefer either completely unrenovated or renovated to the highest level. Which leads me to my next question - have you found a negative market reaction to the use of laminate in a high end property? The reason I ask is that a friend of mine sold her magnificent high-end home a couple of years ago. It was truly beautiful and was featured in several magazines, however, she told me later that the selling agent got a LOT of negative comments about her laminate kitchen with most buyers considering that it would require replacing and factoring that into the price they were prepared to pay. Apparently they made it clear that they expected timber, 2-pak or some other high end finish with stone benchtops at that end of the market. The kitchen was in no way dated and was an attractive and pleasant room, although probably not the shining start of the house in reality. Although not planning to sell our house, h were some decisions made with an eye to the market requirements, as you just never know. We got transferred to Melbourne from Brisbane eight years ago, and I didn't see that coming either!! Just interested in your viewpoint as an architect in relation to balancing choices between practicality, market expectations and your own personal likes and dislikes. I found it a balancing act in some areas and consulted a local real estate agent that I trust about a couple of things during the process. Kind regards Tammy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did think the same as you Tammy about the general painting warranty, but I'd say (and KL may come back and comment further) that there would be arguments between the builder and painter over the use of the cupboards - kitchens are high use, have water and heat, more so than other areas of the house. So if there was a problem with peeling paint or whatever, then the painter would likely argue that the use caused it to happen. I have done this in a couple of houses though, with different builders who have not had a problem with it, and longer term the cupboards have been fine. Kitchen Installation companies may have a problem with this too, but I'm just speculating now!
      In Melbourne high end houses definitely have an expectation of 2 pak. We sold our place in Albert Park a couple of years ago, but it was a small cottage, with a simple renovation. I think you can make money and sell easily with a laminate kitchen, but you have to be clever in offsetting the perception of a "cheap" kitchen. In our case, we had top of the range Miele appliances, stone bench tops and good quality handles. The cupboards were a neutral laminate in white, so it was not seen as a negative by the market. I also did a house in Melbourne that was a $4 Million build, and the client wanted laminate. We chose some of the really nice darker ones (stipple Seal was one), it had stone and Miele everything that opened and shut beautiful light fittings etc, and when we had the girl from Poliform (very upmarket Italian kitchen and built in cupboard and furniture manufacturer) come to give a quote for something, she actually pointed to the kitchen and referred to the 2 pak finish. I think it can easily be overlooked by people in a quick 5 minute house viewing, it's just the laminate you choose, and not doing laminate bench tops. I agree with your assessment about the top end market - houses that have been badly renovated or renovated 15 years ago and look dated don't sell as well as either everything spec'd out or completely unrenovated house that you rip apart. Most people at a certain point in the market are not looking to buy a renovated house that they then have to put a new kitchen or bathrooms into, so it will definitely drive the price down. It was definitely a good idea to consult an agent about what you were planning to do if you're viewing a sale in the near future. One other thing that was interesting when we sold our place in Albert Park was that the agents were pleased it had more simple/ classical styling - as most renovated properties in the area are quite aggressively modern they said there was a lot of demand from the empty nesters who hated the look of a lot of the places that would come on the market. So I guess, in summary, I think it's pitching the look to the market you'll sell into. If you're planning to sell very soon after renovating, then 2 pak is a good choice as you'll get your money back. If you're planning on selling in 5 years after renovating, then I'd go with a laminate cupboard front as you won't run the risk of the chips etc, but it would have to be balanced out with great light fittings, good benchtops and good brand name appliances (and going that bit extra, like a wide freestanding oven, built in coffee machine etc). Thanks for your comment Tammy, you raised some really interesting points! xx

      Delete
    2. If you look at 3 year old enamel painted doors / archs you will find grubby paw prints to clean off. ALL hand painted timber / MDF is porous and will mark need cleaning. Equally it will chip. 2 pac IS A PAINT FINISH too but one with polyeurethane which means the surface is smoother = less porous and harder = LESS likely to chip than standard hand painted finishes. Many companies that offer hand-painted timber cabinetry then apply clear poly over for this reason. Two-pac can be 'touched' up carefully and sanded re-painted when wanted too. The big elephant in this discussion is the cost of course and no matter what job sub-trades provide, the builder is responsible for any problems. We would be very wary (ask client to sign a disclaimer) for a hand painted kitchen as a $20K investment needs to last longer than a few years! I agree that the higher end of the market will tolerate laminate if designed well...Our Award winning Avoca Beach House a case in point. Laminate was used for the extensive joinery throughout the home too. This kitchen even features on the cover of the current TRENDS magazine. Links below:
      http://eternalicons.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/australian-interior-design-awards-our.html
      http://eternalicons.blogspot.com.au/2013/05/we-made-cover-of-trends.html
      x KL

      Delete
  10. OMG. I weighed in again with an epic NOVEL of a reply and think it disapeared into the ether of cyperspace! Will wait and see if it magically appears before I re-do. x KL

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, it popped up KL! I think the one difference with 2pak is that I actually find enamel less maintenance than 2 pak - the finger prints etc are all exactly the same with both finishes (just kitchens in general really, you get it on laminate as well), but in terms of repair, I've never seen a successful repair job on 2Pak - you can always see the colour difference/ a change in the surface of the chip etc. I also find it a very brittle surface compared to enamel. The house we rented for a year that had a lot of it had huge (10cm long) sections that had delaminated and fallen off (and been reglued into position, all by the previous owner who had twin boys. Overall the renovation was around 4 years old when we moved in). Obviously there had been significant wear and tear, but with enamel you won't find a section falling off like that, and the repair would be a much neater end result. I've not had a builder ask the owner (or me) to sign a disclaimer over the use of enamel in a kitchen, but builders have their own view on things... obviously your husband wouldn't be comfortable with the potential warranty issues. But there is always push/pull between Architects and Builders KL! My builder and I have had discussions where I get stubborn about something being done 'my' way and he tries hard to talk me out of it.

      That's a great kitchen, and a fantastic use of laminate - it also illustrates the point I was making to Tammy above, that if you have great light fittings and an overall 'designer' feel to a kitchen it will compensate for perceived market snobbery against laminate. Thanks for weighing in with your opinion, it's always interesting to hear your views xx

      Delete
    2. I agree with you about the builder v's architect opinions, though it can lead to great debate and better outcomes. The kitchen experience you had sounds so disappointing; no wonder you are wary... No paint finish should do that, perhaps it was the prep or substrate failing along with the knocks of a busy family. At such a huge expense, I can totally empathise with the finish choice dilemma. No one wants a crappy looking kitchen after only four years of use. X kl

      Delete
  11. ah Heidi.... also excellent timing for me... we are sending joinery drawings to the joiners on MONDAY!!!!! I have just instructed to quote in 'hand-painted' as well as 2Pac. We used 2Pac in Narrawallee and it looks wonderful and as yet is OK. However, one of our bedroom cupboard doors in Sydney has flaked twice!!!. Your posts are so comprehensive and educational - a true blessing at this time of our house build. Thanks so much xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. that was good timing! And I'm very envious that you have joinery drawings off to be quoted on... I'm still (ahem) finishing off mine!! I'll be very interested to hear how you go with the quotes and your decision xx

      Delete
  12. Thanks Heidi and Commenters,
    Not only was your post full of good info but the comments from other readers have been great too!
    I have found a good kitchen manufacturer that will do solid timber kitchen doors - I didn't think it was hideously more than MDF, but better go back and check my facts! I have been known to get excited and miss a detail or two...
    Cheers, and thanks again,
    Renie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great Renie! I'll be interested to hear what timber they're using too... xx

      Delete
  13. Hi Heidi,

    Oh wow! There's my kitchen. Thank you for including it in this post. Also, thank you for the lovely comments from everyone.

    Just to clarify the finishes, the black bench top is granite. According to my stonemason, who we have used for the past 15 years, the darker the granite - the stronger the stone. With marble, it's the opposite, the lighter the stone - the stronger the stone. We used Statuario Marble because I liked the veining. The backsplash is polished and the island is honed. We sliced through the solid brick wall to create the windows - best decision we ever made. The windows let in a lot of light, even on an overcast, drizzly morning (as pictured above). Please ignore the crap fence - we'll be tackling the outside towards the end of the year when it's warmer.

    My cabinet finish is 2 Pac - Taubman's White (straight out of the can - no tint). I chose a satin finish because I didn't like my high gloss 2 Pac kitchen in our first house. In our second house, we almost had the kitchen hand painted. Once I saw the workmanship of the painter - I opted for 2 Pac. I find 2 Pac easy to clean and the satin finish doesn't highlight the finger marks etc. Also, touch ups (if needed) are easy.

    Thanks again for including my photos.

    x





    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, thank you V for emailing me in the first place... you'd probably thought I'd forgotten about them, but I was saving them up for a good kitchen post. And thank you for your extra input on the finish choices and your reasons why you chose them - I'm sure it will help others with their selections too. I'll go back and edit the post to include your benchtop info. Hope the painting is all over, and you're enjoying your beautiful home. xx

      Delete
  14. Hi Heidi. I just found this post. Great read. I'm still unsure about what I should do with my cabinets. Most of my kitchen cabinets looks like the paint was brushed on. I am now trying to update the look without ripping them out and starting over. I think if I update the face of the cabinets, I'd be happy. I just moved here from America and I don't know what businesses are in Adelaide that can paint or vinyl wrap the doors. I'd love to hear someones option and advice. I live in an Apt with floor to ceiling cabinets in the kitchen. When I look up close at the cabinet doors I can see paint brush strokes. I want to update them and make them look like something out of a Decor magazine. I am OK with avoiding the high glass look.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi MS, If you can see paint or brush marks on the door you should be able to paint over the top in enamel paint fairly easily. Definitely go for a Semi Gloss enamel paint, as you just won't get a perfect finish with high gloss. You could just find any house painter to do this if you don't want to do it yourself, and they'd do it on site, so would just sand and repaint the doors in the kitchen in situ. This would be the cheapest and easiest option, and by changing the handles you will update the look even more (but buy them from the US, as they're much cheaper over there!). Otherwise you will have to have the doors replaced by a kitchen company to vinyl wrap them - they'd organise the vinyl wrap if that was what you wanted (they wouldn't reuse the existing timber door fronts), so you'll save on not having the carcass of the kitchen replaced, but it will likely cost a few more thousand than the painting. As for how to find a painter, if you're in an apartment your Body Corporate might have a painter they use for general maintenance? It might be a good starting point to contact them to see. Hope that helps?

      Delete
  15. Hi Heidi,
    I am enjoying reading your posts as we grapple with our renovations. I am interested in painting mdf doors for our kitchen. Do you know of any companies that supply unpainted kitchen doors in Adelaide? If you do, I would appreciate your telling me.
    thanks
    Clare

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Clare, I can't recommend any specific companies in Adelaide.. is it an existing kitchen or a complete new build? If you're just replacing doors, probably a joinery company could measure up and do them for you, otherwise you'll have to have a kitchen company have a look as you'll need plans for entire cupboards. The joinery company we used supplied it all as melamine doors, they routed out the door profile to create the panel look, and then the painter used an etching primer on the melamine that was left before undercoating and painting. You can paint pretty much anything, you just need to do the prep first by preparing the surface properly. The bonus of having melamine was that the interior of the doors is finished, and can be wiped clean. Hope that helps...

      Delete
    2. Thanks Heidi. That is a huge help. Much appreciated. Clare

      Delete
  16. Heidi this seriously is a wonderful article. You should post it around to get recognition. I know there are a lot of customers out there, who struggle deciding on what finish they want.

    ReplyDelete
  17. hi i please would like advise on the best and top quality finish? i need it to last the longest what is the best and top quality? laminate or 2pack?
    please i need professional advice thannks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anon, If you want it to last a long time I recommend Laminate. 2pac chips over time, and can't be repaired. Laminate is very durable. There are a lot of options around from very cheap laminates to very expensive ones so I'm sure you'll find something you like. Perhaps try visiting a kitchen showroom to have a look at the options available.

      Delete
  18. This has been a great read; thanks so much Heide!
    I am in the process of deciding what on earth to do with my kitchen. I have one quote so far but that is just for our butler's pantry - in a 2pac finish for a shaker style. By the time we factor in the actual kitchen it's going to cost a hell of a lot! I've now completely gone off the idea of 2pac. I'd still love a shaker kitchen but if we don't use 2pac we will need to hand paint; my concern with hand painted enamel is that it won't stand up well to heat and will need to be repainted too often. Thoughts? I love the idea of laminate but I won't get the shaker style I love. I was planning on using the silver half moon style handles you see on so many shaker kitchen cupboards and drawers; I hope you know the ones I mean? My question is if I use this style of handle on laminate will it give it more of a traditional feel? Or will it just look wrong? Also, if you think it would look okay, should I opt for matt laminate or semi-gloss? Thanks in advance :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The enamel paint is just as durable as the 2 pac, so I wouldn't worry about heat, it isn't a concern any more than for 2 pac. 2 pac just gives you a much more perfect finish, but as I said it can't be touched up when you get a knock. It is very expensive though.
      I'd personally not do those sorts of handles on a laminate kitchen, as you'll have a plain door front, so it won't look right. You could do a more traditional style handle, but you do have to make sure it's kind of a nod to the heritage styles, rather than a direct heritage style handle, as otherwise it will definitely fight with the laminate.
      Have you looked at the vinyl wrap? That might be the way to go for you as you'll save a bit of money when compared to 2 pac, get the traditional shaker look you want and won't have heat concerns etc.

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Search This Blog

About Me

My photo
Architect & Interior Designer. Mother of three. A sometimes Cook, Baker, Reader, Gardener, Fashion Lover, Renovator, Writer of random things in South Australia email me on anadelaidevilla@bigpond.com
Powered by Blogger.

Follow by Email

Follow this blog with bloglovin

Follow on Bloglovin

Followers

Things to read....

.