Updated: Jun 15
With so many different painters in Oklahoma you are going to get a lot of different answers to this question; what products will you use to paint my cabinets in my home? This is an important question you need to ask because the answer will determine how long you will have to wait to using your kitchen or bathroom? Will you have to stay somewhere else while they are painting and sometimes even longer? Is my home and my family at risk while you are painting? Continue reading to learn about things you need to ask your painter.
What Are The VOC Levels In Your Coating?
One of the most important questions to ask your refinisher is what are the VOC levels in your coating. Usually you and your family are living in your home during your cabinet renovation. VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) levels are important because higher VOC levels are linked to health issues like headaches or dizziness and more severe issues such as kidney or liver damage or damage to the central nervous system. Some V.O.C.’s are known carcinogens. Carcinogens are chemicals that cause cancers.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined that VOC levels at 250 g/l or less is considered low VOC. To give you an example, Kem-Aqua by Sherwin Williams has V.O.C.’s at exactly 250 g/l. The most popular product that painters like to use on cabinets is solvent based lacquers which have VOC levels over 500. Conversion Varnishes are also popular with painters as well but their VOC levels are over 600. Another concern with solvent based coatings is that they are combustible and if not handled properly can cause significant damage or loss to you home.
Our clients health and safety is important to us and we researched to find the best products on the market. One of the main reasons we chose to use water- based polyurethanes is because of the low VOC levels. These coatings contain V.O.C.’s around 50 g/l or 5 times lower levels of V.O.C.’s than the standard set by the EPA. (These levels will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer). Our coatings are industrial grade and are used in commercial settings for benches, bar tops and of course cabinetry.
How Long Is The Full Cure Time Of The Coating?
While this question may not seem like a readily obvious question to ask, most homeowners overlook this question while considering a cabinet refinisher. The reason this question is important to ask is because the answer will determine how quickly you can regain full access to your kitchen or bathroom without fear of damaging your newly refinished cabinets.
There are some water-based paints that meet the KCMA performance standards that are used by cabinet refinishers such as Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane or Benjamin Moore Advance. While they produce a nice finish and are somewhat durable once fully cured, they can take 30 days to fully cure and could take even longer than that in the darker colors because they have less solids in them.
A paint that is dry to the touch but not fully cured will have a gummy or rubbery type feel to it and can be easily damaged until it reaches full hardness. Like I mentioned, some refinishers use these paints to great success and are an acceptable coatings but there are better options still available for your cabinets.
The coating we use is stackable in 8 hours and light colors are fully cured in 7 days. (We ask 14 days for darker colors) When we say stackable this means you can lightly use your cabinets 8 hours after the last coat is sprayed so you can be back in your kitchen the day after we finish.
Is the Coating Specifically Designed For Cabinetry?
Many painters will tell you that their coating is designed for cabinetry but is it really?
Lacquer and oil based coatings have been the go to for cabinet painters for years because of the low cost and quick application but they have many disadvantages. For starters they are not moisture resistant. If you have a small crack or chip in the coating and water gets through then lacquer and oil based coatings can quickly fail. They will also yellow over time. The other big disadvantages to lacquer and oil based coatings is the high VOC levels which can make you sick and cause permanent damage or even death, the long off gassing times of 30 days or more, and they are combustible which means there is an explosion risk.
Conversion varnish is a bit stronger than lacquer but you have the same health risks and there could be formaldehyde in your coating which can cause extreme health issues.
Many painters have moved to trim paints like Emerald Urethane or Advance but they can still yellow, do not hold up to moisture and hand oils, and they take 30 days or longer to fully cure. They will usually use BIN Shellac for primer to block tannins and dye migration but you run into the solvent based issues of possible combustion, high VOCs and lack of moisture resistance. There are one component coatings like Cabinet Coat but again, same issues.
We use an industrial two component product specifically designed for cabinetry. It is moisture resistant, chemical resistant, non- yellowing, fully cured in 7 days, no off gassing, and extremely safe to use in your home. We have done extreme testing with our coatings and are confident that we are providing you a long lasting, durable finish. We can wipe our doors with acetone and the coating will not come off. Try that with any coatings mentioned above and I know for a fact you will not have the same results.