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Three Finishing Options for Cheap Kitchen Cabinets

by Greg Keefer

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If you want to improve your kitchen's appearance, but have limited resources, cheap kitchen cabinets are a great option. Hardwood cabinets may be too expensive, but unfinished cabinets can look as good as the high-end alternatives and add beauty and value to your home.

Even inexpensive wood looks great when covered with the right finish. But, because finish is a matter of personal choice, you won't find any hard and fast rules about which finish goes with which wood.

Consider trying a variety of finishes on small pieces of scrap to see which one brings out the life of the wood. A little experimenting can make your cheap kitchen cabinets shine.

  • Oils: Tung and linseed oils produce a natural effect and can add luster to wood cabinets. These finishes are easy to apply, and the results are often exceptional. Teak oils contain resins and provide solid protection against stains and everyday dingers. Rub an oil finish into the wood with a soft rag. The shiny surface eventually fades, you can revive it by reapplying more oil.
  • Wax: Apply a sanding sealer and wax for a quick and easy finish. The wax provides reasonable protection, but you need to periodically reapply it.
  • Polyurethane and varnishes: These clear or tinted finishes come in gloss, matte, and satin to produce varying levels of reflectivity. Polyurethane and varnish finishes enhance the flavor of various types of woods, and the resulting surface is tough and durable. If you intend to slide dishes on your cheap kitchen cabinets, consider using a polyurethane finish for maximum protection.

Cheap kitchen cabinets can look expensive if you pick the right bare-wood finish to create kitchen cabinets you're proud to own.


About the Author

Greg Keefer has been a do-it-yourselfer with lots of experience in how to do things right and how to do them wrong. He enjoys sharing his experience with the hope of helping others to

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