Cabinet Refresh specializes in fine finishes on a ‘production’ level. We at Cabinet Refresh use the best finishing products. Due to the fact of being in the Los Angeles area, Cabinet Refresh was intent on finding the best products that are low VOC. In Los Angeles County, we are not permitted to use solvent based or toxic products.
This actually works in everyone’s favor! There was a time when I would agree that solvent based products were better, however, for the past couple of decades, most of the research and development has gone into water based finishes, and making them hearty and durable.
Solvent based products, besides being toxic when applied, can yellow with time, and change the look dramatically. With water based, the VOC (volatile organic compound) level is very low, we cannot actually say ‘no VOC’. The environmental laws in Los Angeles County has really kept us on our toes, since we have a very high level of expectation upon ourselves for our clientele. This ultimately means that our products will not be off-gassing fumes like the solvent based will. And, as stated before, the water based will not be off gassing or turning yellow like solvent based has a tendency to do.
In the case of staining, or a ‘straight refinish’, we use water based stains and water based clear coats.
We have used all the fine products, for instance General Finishes, Gemini, Renner, etc. Any of these are excellent, and we are constantly trying new products and perfecting our application. We do our best to offer a large array of colors in a multitude of sheens and finish.
For the very high usage kitchen, the next level of finishes would be conversion varnish, which is generally a two park product, a color and base with a catalyst or hardener, this would generally be what we would use in a restaurant.
Lately, in the past two or three years, matte finish has become very popular, where satin was more popular before. If you think of ‘sheen’ in terms of percentages, our standard sheen is 30%, but often use 10% for a more natural look. The sheen has nothing to do with clean-ability, contrary to public opinion! It only has to do with the look. Every once in a while, for instance 2 or 3 times per month, a client may want ‘shiny’, in that case we use a 60% sheen, which is pretty much the shiniest you can achieve in water based finishes. The shinier finish tends to show more defects, for instance if we are ‘re-finishing’ existing doors.
If, for instance, you have a distressed look or oak cabinets, and would like to paint to a uniform solid color, we would always recommend the more matte finish, to not telegraph and reflect the texture or defects found in existing doors and frames.
The other part of getting a good, factory finished level of look and feel with your finish, is the spray mechanism. In the field we use HVLP sprayers, which are the same sprayers used for auto painting. The main brand of sprayer we use is the Apollo, which comes with a powerful four stage turbine to power the spray. These units are portable and we use these on site in the field.
In the shop, which happens to be in the south central area of Los Angeles, not far from USC, we use an air pump unit, in this case we use a TriTech T$ airless sprayer which is high efficiency and very low over spray level. The Apollo also has low over spray, by the way.
So, the goal of Cabinet Refresh is to give you a professional, factory look finish, in an efficient, clean and low impact way, that we duplicate daily, and constantly are looking for ways to improve best practices.
Now that we have covered the look of the finished product, the products used for long term look and durability, AND the equipment used to achieve this, lets now look into the application process.
The Cabinet Refresh team will arrive to your home and first of all, protect all work areas and access areas. The next step will be to remove all doors and drawer fronts, basically all pieces that are removable. We will either set up a portable spray area at the job location or we will take all the loose pieces back to the shop. If we take the pieces to the shop, this could add a day or two to the process.
After the pieces are removed, we will mask all of the cabinets and openings, interiors are not generally included in the process unless SPECIFICALLY included as a line item on the estimate.
After the masking process, we then start our cleaning process, this is simply spray bottles with a cleaning solution and scrub pads. Our goal is to remove anything that wants to come off. In the case of staining, we would then go and color correct, or touch up all areas that need color. Then we would clear coat and then do a ‘toner’ coat which is a bit of the stain color and finish mixed, and sprayed over the whole space, to blend the new color with the existing color, and give an over-all ‘depth’ of look and bring out grain.\
In the case of painting or opaque finishes, we clean, lightly sand, then prime. After the prime we sand and prime again. Depending on the color we are starting with, we would generally do two double coats of primer. After this, we begin applying the ‘paint’, which is more like a pigmented ‘poly’ or finish coat. In the case of doors and drawer fronts, these are done horizontally, generally lying on a spray table, then put on a drying rack for drying and curing. We generally do 2 double coats on these also. NOTE: We generally do not caulk door gaps unless requested. Doors, other than flat, edge banded doors, are made from 5 pieces of wood, and will expand and contract with weather and, you will find, will eventually crack the caulking.
The same process is then done for the frames.
We take pride in our work and the way it is done.
We look forward to working with you!