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

February 6th, 2023 | 3 min read

By Kaylea Kuhlman

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

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 hundreds of color options and techniques, which can be overwhelming. 

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, clear 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. 

Painting Cabinets (Solid Color)

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.


Staining Cabinets


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.


Toning Cabinets

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. 


Glazing Cabinets 

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. 



Durable layers

None of these finishes would be durable or worth the money without a strong product, like a 2K poly. High-quality products will make 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 for any finish. We have found that any other type of cabinet or woodwork paint is not durable and breaks down easily. 

There are many products on the market for protective coatings for cabinets. Many 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 resurfacing. 

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? If you're remodeling your kitchen, what finish do you like best with your countertops or backsplash?

It’s essential to think about how you envision the final product and what you think would be best for your space. These decisions can be overwhelming. With Brush & Roll Painting, we offer an hour of free color consultations to ease the decision-making process of your cabinet project. Get started with your cabinet transformation by hitting the button below.


Next, learn more about Cabinet refinishing with The Ultimate Guide to Cabinet Refinishing.


Kaylea Kuhlman

Kaylea is the Brush & Roll Painting Content Manager.