What Are the Pros and Cons of Two Pac Kitchen Cabinets?
You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing the cabinetry for your new kitchen, but your decision can have a big impact on the finished project in terms of aesthetics, durability, cost and the project schedule.
As full-service custom kitchen renovators, we’ve helped hundreds of clients across Melbourne work through the various pros and cons of various cabinet options and know just how popular two pac (2-pac) cabinets are. In fact, around 40 per cent of our clients opt to use 2-pac cabinets in their kitchens!
Before you settle on your choice of cabinetry, it’s good to understand the benefits and downsides of your preferred material.
If you’re considering using 2-pac cabinets in your new kitchen, here’s a run-down of the key advantages and disadvantages you need to be aware of when deciding if they’re the right choice for your renovation.
What are 2-pac cabinets?
Before we get into the pros and cons of 2-pac cabinets, it’s helpful to understand how they’re made.
2-pac cabinets are typically constructed from a strong substrate material such as medium-density fibreboard (MDF) which is shaped to the desired profile.
The cabinets are sprayed with multiple layers of undercoat, sealer and paint colour, and are sanded in between each coat to produce a smooth finish. The 2-pac paint that is used combines two different liquids together—a polyurethane resin which provides the desired colour and finish/gloss, and a polyisocyanate resin which acts as a hardening agent.
Finally, a top coat is applied and the cabinets then undergo an oven-fired curing process to produce an attractive and relatively hard-wearing finish.
The benefits of two pac kitchen cabinets
Suitable for flat, curved or shaped cabinet profiles
Profiled cabinets can be a great way to incorporate some extra detail and texture into your kitchen.
Right now, we’re seeing increasing demand for profiled cabinets such as shaker style cabinets, tongue and groove/VJ cabinets, cabinets with routed handles, and even ribbed, scalloped or fluted cabinet door profiles. However, a key challenge of profiled cabinets is that finishes such as laminate and vinyl wrap simply aren’t suitable, as they can’t be applied smoothly and seamlessly to the routed surface.
You don’t have that problem with 2-pac paint, as the paint can be sprayed onto any style of cabinetry, whether curved or flat.
The addition of a polyisocyanate resin hardening agent in 2-pac paint is what produces a harder, thicker, more durable surface. While using a polyurethane resin alone will produce the desired colour and finish, it’s the hardening agent that supports the curing process and produces a hard-wearing finish similar to what you see on motor vehicles.
2-pac paint is also UV-, heat- and moisture-resistant, and the polyisocyanate resin in 2-pac paint also works to prevent the yellowing of your cabinets to keep them in optimal condition for many years to come.
Endless colour and finish options
Another benefit of a painted cabinet finish is the extensive variety of colour and finish options you can choose from.
While alternatives such as laminate and veneer do still offer an extensive range of colours, designs and finishes, you will be limited to choosing from the catalogue options. In contrast, 2-pac paints can be matched to your desired Pantone or even a particular coloured object, giving you complete flexibility to match your cabinets to other design elements in your kitchen or home.
In terms of finish, you’ll also be able to choose between a textured, matte, satin, semi-gloss or high-gloss finish, again offering you greater flexibility to achieve your desired aesthetic.
A major downside of laminate cabinets is that you’ll be able to notice the joins or seams where the laminate covering the surfaces and edges of the cabinet meet. Over time, these joins can crack and peel, allowing moisture to seep into the substrate material and damage the cabinets.
As 2-pac paint is sprayed over the entire cabinet surface, the corners and edges of your cabinets will appear smooth and seamless.
Easy to repair
Another major benefit of painted cabinets is that if your cabinets were to become chipped or scratched, in most cases, the surface can be sanded back, repaired and colour matched to the existing doors, allowing you to get many more years out of your cabinetry.
The downsides of two pac kitchen cabinets
While it’s clear that there are plenty of advantages of a two pac finish, there are still some downsides.
Prone to damage
Just like any painted surface, 2-pac cabinets aren’t infallible. While the 2-pac paint and process used does produce a very hard-wearing finish, it can still be prone to chipping and scratches from sharp objects.
2-pac cabinets are also typically one of the most expensive finish options.
To give you an idea of how 2-pac compares to the alternatives in terms of price, you can generally expect 2-pac cabinets to cost around 30-40% more than laminate or vinyl wrap cabinets.
Longer manufacturing lead time
It’s also common for 2-pac cabinets to come with a longer manufacturing lead time, which can add to the total length of the project.
While manufacturing lead times can be affected by a range of factors, laminate cabinets usually take around 4-6 weeks to manufacture, whereas it’s not uncommon for 2-pac cabinets to take around 8-10 weeks.
Need help designing your new kitchen?
If you live in Melbourne and are toying with the idea of a kitchen renovation, contact the kitchen renovation experts at Mint Kitchen Group.
With more than 30 years of experience to share with you, we can help you understand how 2-pac cabinets compare to the alternatives while introducing you to a range of other design and finish options to help you create your dream kitchen.