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Hiring a custom cabinet guy. My wife wants to paint the cabinets inside and out. The custom cabinet guy did, which to my knowledge, the usual thing and got wood with a sealer on it. He then planned to just paint the outside of the kitchen cabinets. Which is normal? Is it taboo to paint inside of kitchen cabinets? Is there a benefit to sealing instead of painting the inside of the cabinet? We need to make a decision soon, so I appreciate everyone responding quickly. Thank you very much.
 

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Personally I hate finishing the inside of cabinets, it is very time consuming and labor intensive and makes the cabinets a lot more expensive without much visible benefit. My preferred method is to build them with pre-finished plywood. That way the insides are done when the cabinets are done.
 

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I guess it makes a big difference whether you are paying some one to do it onr doing it yourself. Personally, I like having the inside painted a light color (usually white) for two main reasons; it makes the interior easier to clean and also it makes the interior lighter/brighter and easier to see into. When I re-painted all of my old kitchen cabinets, I also painted the interiors. It is a pita, but I sure like it better. However, if I had to pay some one to do it, I'm not sure i would.
 

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+1 Prefer a white wood interior with clear finish, paint outside only.

Won't ever paint the inside of cabinets any white color in my house, unless it was painted previously.

Cans, tins, most any un-coated metal leaves gray rub marks on even best colored finish. In couple months, interiors look a decade old. Softer enamel pigmented finishes are the worst. Pigmented lacquer is only marginally better. Even harder pigmented 2K CV will eventually show metal rub marks as gloss wears down.

If you do use pigmented paint on cabinet inside; add a clear top coat for protection. IMHO - Nothing uglier than a scraped up colored interior that needs shelf paper to cover the marks.
YMMV
 

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Painted interior is not the norm, clear prefinished interior is standard with real plywood cabinets.

Nothing wrong with painted interiors (common enough for painted cabine with glass doors) Just expect to pay more.
 

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Melamine = no paint, durable surface. He'll probably snort if you even mention it.

Very much maligned and sneered at, people think it = "cheap cabinets" or say "I will NEVER use anything but plywood!"
 

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The pre-finish that's on cabinet plywood is so tough (UV cured) it's hard to imagine an applied paint being more durable or easy to clean. But I would think with custom cabinets you could do anything you want…after all, one reason to get them custom made is that they are NOT the "norm".
 

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Personally, I use melamine for cabinets under sinks, and the rest get either pre-finished plywood or I spray it with lacquer.

The fact is though, you can do whatever you like. There is no right or wrong.

If you do go with paint, a chalk paint (General Finishes labels theirs Milk Paint) topped with something like their High Performance Top Coat will look good and be durable. Just don't be a cabinet-abuser like CaptainKlutz and everything will be OK.
 

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I wouldn't paint the inside of cabinets but I have used Melamine for drawer bottoms and shelfs. It is pretty much "non stick", durable, and easy to clean. I refurbished the kitchen drawers and shelves in a rental house I own with Melamine and so far it has stood up through three tenants over the last 10 years. I have a rule for tenants….no adhesive backed shelf liners or the removal labor cost will be deducted from the deposit.

If the inside is to be painted I would insist on a catalyzed lacquer for it's hardness and durability…expecially on the shelfs and drawer bottoms.
 

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More about how you want them to look and the durability of finish you desire. As mentioned, the prefinished ply is much more durable. But, you may want the look of paint matched interior of cabinet…especially if you have any glass panel doors.
 

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In the three cabinet shops I've worked for, the standard material for interiors is prefinished ply, unless they're open bookcases.
Also, if you do paint the inside, I definitely wouldn't use latex to paint interiors, because it'll stick to stuff for the next umpteen years.
 

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Being grown ups, so having lived in a lot of houses, we insisted on painting the interiors of our cabinets.

First, there is that corn syrup passed off as syrup thing (the maple stays in the fridge). It does not play well with raw wood. As such, everyone puts some kind of finish on the interior of their cabinets, or they deal with occasional and repeating chaos. Even with liners, something always gets around it.

Next, there is that every time I painted the interior of someone's cabinet, it COMPLETELY changed them. The white reflected light all over the contents, rather than darker woods (even the light ones) absorbing it.

On ours, I went simple - oil paint interiors to avoid the latex problem of things sticking to the paint, and to not have to purchase more expensive mixes of acrylics said to be formulated to solve the problem.


I re-did a farmer's existing cabinets. He wanted new, but I pointed out to him the cost of building custom cabinets, versus refacing the styles and rails of his plywood cabinets and just buying the doors and drawer fronts. The sticker shock and idea of what it cost to get beyond particle to plywood, like his were, convinced him to update what he had.

When done, they were dark. He agreed painting the insides white would be a good deal. It was. The difference was "night and day."

Then came the fun. He had sheets of aluminum laminated over plastic he'd picked up at auction. I cut some to size and installed it under the cabinets so steam from coffee pots, crock pots and whatever would not beat on the plywood.

The same done on the inside bottoms of the shelves made for the ultimate (white) "liners." On others, I've used light colored laminate (thanks Re-Store (Habitat for Humanity)) for the same effect.
 

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Sealed and clear finish is done once and cleans easily. Painted will always need repainting when dirty or color change. Another thing to consider is that to prep and paint you will need to empty them for a day or more. So many negatives to painting insides makes me give it a thumbs down.
 

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I might add, finished chest of drawer interiors are not the norm either. It's not because not finishing the interiors of things makes for better products, it's because of cost and that businesses have to competed.

I have ALWAYS finished the interiors of everything I build for myself. In the end, my chest of drawers can be moved from the rain forest of Western Washington to my current home and will transfer moisture and a MUCH slower rate.

Of course, finishing the inside for someone else would more than double the prices it cost to finish just the interior. There is more area (drawer sides, backs, bottoms, interiors, cabinet or chest interiors with difficult to get to wood.

Not doing interiors is, in part, why the solid wood oak chests of drawers my wife bought at garage sales were up for sale - split tops, bad fitting drawer bottoms, etc. Now that they are torn apart and put back together, with finish on all surfaces, they'll live far longer than before.

Of course, flat stock is less problematic than solid wood regarding humidity changes.
 

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Huh. I must be a throwback cabinetmaker. I do whatever the client wants. Paint-grade is all the rage. I'll paint (shoot pre-cat) inside and out and can usually convince them to let me do the shelves/drawers natural. Of course, I always finish in the shop.
 

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The norm for kitchen cabinets is prefinished UV-cured plywood or melamine. The reason is because those options reduce labor costs and provide a more durable interior than anything most shops of capable of doing in-house.
 

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I cannot, for the life of me, see why people think the inside of cabinets must match the outsides.

My wife wanted painted cabinets, so that's what I made. As I said earlier, the insides are painted white and are an oil base. If she goes to another color, we will keep the white for its visibility advantages, which I've found to be huge over clean coated wood.

The shelves and drawers where plates and peanut butter jars land will last for years. Other things might be more durable, but like all finishes, they just last longer, not forever.

Many, like my wife, install the rubber liners. Not to keep the shelves clean or unmarred, but to stop things from shifting around when drawers are opened.

At $30.00 a sheet, at the time, for what was passed as 3/4", there was no real advantage to other products, SINCE I was building my own. I had less dust to deal with and a sixty year old man was able to install the much lighter cabinets by himself.

I have my four stage and a conversion Accuspray, so painting was no big deal.

IF I was farming things out, it would be another matter, but the insides would still get the white treatment, there would be none of this lip on the faces garbage, like nearly every cabinet I see in the big box places, and the shelves would have stiffners, so they could actually hold a stack of Fiesta Ware without bowing.

Meanwhile, it remains I've had to cut bottoms off cabinets and join solid wood where moisture from a one shot flood from a washing machine / dishwasher / french drain problem destroyed several inches of cabinet base sides and backs. In other words, advantages, often, have costs.

Obviously, such things are not a big problem on upper cabinets, unless the shower is over the kitchen. . . .
 
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