Pros and Cons of Sprayed Lacquer

Jul 4, 2023

Pros and Cons of Sprayed Lacquer as your New Cabinet Coating

Painted cabinets is a popular upgrade for kitchens and wood features in new homes and renovation projects. The smooth, soft sheen, consistent and durable finish of sprayed lacquer is both attractive and functional, maintaining its quality and colouration for years after. Naturally, there are both pros and cons to sprayed lacquer as a product, and today we will dig into the main aspects worth focusing on. If you’re considering hiring a company such as Distinctively Paint to spray lacquer in your home, consider the following list of general pros and cons and decide for yourself whether or not lacquer is truly the perfect option for your next project.  

Pros of Sprayed Lacquer

Durability

  • The best selling feature of lacquer as a paint product is its durability and long-lasting colour vibrancy. The cured, synthetic lacquer coating provides an exceptionally smooth, resistant finish that can handle heat, grease, moisture, and prolonged sun exposure and still hold up better than most other wood coatings.  A great independent source of durability testing is KCMA.  Always choose products that meet KCMA standards specifically when painting kitchens.

Attractiveness of the Finish 

  • The sheen, colour, and richness of a sprayed lacquer finish is another premier selling point. A kitchen sprayed in lacquer is immediately recognizable for its luxurious look and feel, and the vibrancy and depth of colour. Most new high-end homes and luxury building projects have traditionally lacquer to express a quality and expensive finish to any wood feature or accent trim.

Customization 

  • Your options truly are endless with sheen and colour choices for lacquer products. Our most common sheen is 20 degrees, which is enough gloss to create the desired effect without it being overpowering. From there, we can provide a high quality lacquer in almost any colour of your choosing, dark or light, a unique colour or a popular choice, or even a match to a colour already existing in your home.

Ease of Repair

  • Although lacquer is a tricky product to work with, and requires more technical knowledge than normal paint jobs, touchups and fixing common issues are easy with the right know-how. Cured lacquer sands down very well making it easy to repair small imperfections. The lack of long term discolouration allows you to blend in newly painted touchup spots even years after the project was sprayed. 

Wood Protection 

  • A cured lacquer finish creates an excellent synthetic coating over wood surfaces, especially popular older wood styles like oak and maple. Lacquer protects the wood underneath from moisture, heat, and general degradation. Old natural wood banisters, trim and doors can be revitalized with lacquer, adding an additional ten to twenty years of potential life on the integrity of the wood underneath. Even more common, less costly wood products like MDF – a popular choice for cabinet doors – can have a long lifespan with a professional lacquer coating over top. 

Cons of Sprayed Lacquer

Imperfections are Easily Seen 

  • One of the most common concerns for sprayed lacquer surfaces, especially dark colours, is that flaws are easily visible. A professionally sprayed lacquer project has, ideally, no visible imperfections in the final finish. However, minor issues in the wood itself, or dents and scratches that are not remedied, can be easily identifiable even from afar. These issues are fixable, often times it is just a spot that needs sanding and a fresh coat. It is also recommended to be as gentle as possible with newly sprayed lacquer surfaces, within the first month or so, while the paint is still curing.

Does it Chip?

  • We often tell clients that anything that will dent the wood will dent the paint.  There is no ‘painted finish’ that will be bullet proof.  Akin to the previous issue discussed, forces strong enough to dent through both the cured top-coat layers of colour will sometimes reveal the white primer layer underneath. Lacquer is still a coating, after all, which means it sits on top of the wood surface and binds to the primer underneath. Unlike a wood stain, which absorbs into the wood itself. We recommend being gentle with lacquer surfaces especially in the first month after spraying. Areas like cutlery drawers with forks and knives or surfaces that have objects placed on them frequently will wear down faster.

The Fumes

  • Although we use the highest quality VOC-compliant products, lacquer is still a smelly product and produces plenty of airborne fumes and dust. This is not an issue, but rather a factor to keep in mind. We have an industry-standard spray booth for the doors and removable pieces.  And we follow strict protocols for venting out in-home spraying. We ask our clients to leave the property while lacquer spraying is occurring, for their own safety and comfort. Distinctively Paint uses a rigorous protocol for minimizing fumes and dust, as well as sealing off the project area to separate it as much as we can from the rest of the home.

Lacquer is a Tried and True Cabinet Finish

In our professional opinion, the pros far outweigh the cons in most cases. Lacquer is a versatile product that, when professionally applied, creates a desirable and attractive finish. Lacquer will also helps protect the longevity of the surface material. The drawbacks of sprayed lacquer are dealt with through proper protocols and product knowledge. Nearly all surface issues, cracks or imperfections are easily touched up using the right materials, by the right people with the right skillset. 


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