White cabinetry has become extremely popular and continues to be the most common selection our clients gravitate towards. Magazines, movies, and television shows on networks like HGTV tend to feature white kitchens regularly and in a prominent fashion. There are good reasons for this. A white look is clean, it brightens up the room, and it can literally function as a blank slate to accommodate other color selections, such as the countertop, backsplash tile, and paint. Before shopping around, however, there are a few factors you should be aware of so you know which questions to ask.
Firstly, “white” is a subjective term, and we all know there are many different shades of white. Each manufacturer will have their own version of white, which may look very different next to another claiming to be white. Stock companies will save you money, but they usually only have one color representing “white” and this may not be what you had in mind. Custom manufacturers almost always have multiple whites, and the shades vary from cream colored, to slightly grey, and everywhere in between. Have an idea ahead of time on what other colors you may be incorporating into the room, so you can make an educated decision on which white works for you. You can even bring a color swatch from a paint store to compare with the manufacturer’s offerings. Also, inquire about what a custom color match would cost. It’s usually under $1,000 and you can match any color you can find.
Maintenance can be a major downside to paint, and white paint especially. Any damage to the cabinets through wear and tear over time is highly noticeable. Touchup paint can be used, but it never looks the same as the factory finish unless you pay to have it professionally restored. Dirty hands also leave quite a mark, and you will notice if the kitchen cabinets haven’t been cleaned recently much sooner than a dark wood grain cabinet would show. Manufacturers typically used paint grade wood, and recessed and raised panel doors are made with five different pieces of wood. The seams where these pieces join naturally expand and contract slightly over time due to changes in temperature and humidity. This causes slight hairline cracks that don’t necessarily get progressively worse, but are noticeable. This may or may not bother you but it is certainly something to be aware of.
… Unless your cabinet doors are made out of MDF (medium density fiberboard) or some other type of fibrous material. Manufacturing in this manner, doors can be made without seams, so there are no joints which separate. MDF looks fine, however, the quality of material varies depending on the manufacturer. Additionally, if there is any damage to the cabinet, and the MDF underneath is exposed, it is much more difficult to repair than regular wood. Good luck in your search for perfect white!