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Brush & Roll Painting Learning Center


Which Cabinet Finish Should You Choose? - Brush & Roll Painting

Which Cabinet Finish Should You Choose? - Brush & Roll Painting

Refinishing cabinets is a great way to freshen up spaces like a kitchen or a bathroom. Cabinets can be refinished to fit any style because of the various finishing options. But which finish should you choose?

Finished to be durable, cabinet refinishing has many benefits. Not only do the cabinets look great but the finish also protects the wood. The protectant coat makes the cabinets easier to clean and the finish lasts a long time.

Brush & Roll Painting has been refinishing cabinets since 1996. We have both expertise and experience in making every cabinet and woodwork refinish durable.

In this article, we will discuss each type of finish. After reading this article, you will have the confidence to choose the best finish for your cabinet refinishing project.

Types of Finishes

Protective Finish

The most affordable option for refinishing cabinets is applying a strong protective finish over the top of your current finish. This finish is for people who like the look of their current cabinets currently but want an extra layer to help eliminate further damage to the finish. 


Island kitchen cabinets painted grey

Painting cabinets is also a frequently used finish. This is also the second most affordable option for refinishing cabinets. 

By applying this 5-6 layer process, your cabinets will look flawless. You will only see your choice of color and not the grain of wood.

You can also decide to add a glaze on top of the paint to increase the depth of the door features.



Stained kitchen cabinets with green countertops, a stove, and a dishwasher

By using stain, you keep the natural and traditional look of your cabinetsStaining is used on the natural wood and makes it stand out by enhancing it. This option is the best for showing the natural grain of your cabinets. Cabinet staining is extremely long-lasting, especially with a durable protectant, lasting anywhere from 20 to 30 years.



Dark, toned kitchen cabinets with a vase of roses on the granite island countertop.

Toning is similar to staining, but with darker dyes. Toned cabinets are great for those who want their cabinets to be darker and have a more modern look.

The darker the color, the less grain will show through as it closes the gap from the blonde wood to the dark grain.

You can also do a combination of toning and glazing. This leaves a darker stain on the features of the doors. This combination is one of the most expensive options, because it requires the most steps to apply but looks excellent. 



Warm-white, glazed and smooth kitchen cabinets with warm granite countertops and backsplash.



Glazing is the perfect option if you want an antique, vintage look to your cabinets. Glazing applies a highlight on the molding and corners of cabinets to accentuate their style. Glazing works best for any cabinets with intricate detail and design. Glazing is also a traditional, classic cabinet look. 

Glazing is typically done in addition to painting or toning because it adds extra detail to the color or finish. 



Clear Protectant 

None of these finishes would be durable or worth the money without a clear protectant finish on top, like a 2K poly. This sealer makes the cabinets easy to clean and withstand scratches and nicks.

At Brush & Roll Painting, we use and stand by Milesi. Milesi is a clear or pigmented poly that uses a two-component (2K) water-based technology.

Milesi is chemical, moisture, and abrasion resistant. Milesi leaves a fine and durable finish.

We have spent years of trial and error searching for a product that can withstand wear and tear while still looking great on top of any finish. We have found that any other type of cabinet or woodwork paint is not durable and breaks down easily. 

Clear finishes found at hardware stores also get soft after a while, which makes the finish peel and chip off within a few months of applying. 

In addition to a clear coat protectant, a great cabinet refinish job also requires a lot of prep work like cleaning, sanding, caulking, and a resurfacer. 

The Ultimate Guide to Cabinet Refinishing.

What finish would you choose?

When made to be durable, any of these finishes add tremendous value to your kitchen or bathroom. Cabinets are one of the first things people notice when they look in a kitchen.  

Something to keep in mind when thinking about refinishing your cabinets is hardware. What do you want your handles, hinges, and knobs to look like? It’s essential to think about how you envision the final product and what you think would be best for your space. 

Now you know the differences between the five cabinet finishes. Next, learn how to properly clean your cabinets to help them stay beautiful even longer.