Testing Cabinet Finishes

Tips & Tricks

Have you ever wondered what goes into bringing a new cabinetry finish to the market? Once the idea goes from concept to testing, it must pass several key steps in order to ensure your beautiful new cabinetry will stand the test of time in your home. This four step standardization process is set by the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association and we work with our coatings partner Sherwin-Williams to execute this testing process.

Testing Cabinet Finishes


This cabinet finish testing is a controlled process done in a hotbox. A finished cabinet sample is exposed to heat at 120 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of 70 percent for a 24 hour period. This process fast-tracks the general wear and tear the finish might experience over its lifetime. If no discoloration, cracks, blistering, checks or failures occur it can move on to the next step.


The finished sample is again exposed to a heat of 120 degrees Fahrenheit with a relative humidity of 70 percent for one hour. It’s then taken out and once it reaches room temperature, it’s placed in a coldbox at a temperature of -5 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour. This process gets repeated 5 times and will only move forward if no visible failures occur.


Household testing is very important. Different substances are placed on the finished cabinetry sample for 24 hours. These substances include coffee, olive oil, 100 proof alcohol, various acidic juices, and citrus juices just to name a few. After 24 hours the substances are wiped and polished off and the finished sample will only move ahead to the final stage of testing if no visible failures or whitening occur.


This last step is to see if the cabinet finish can weather long periods of exposure to water and a standardized detergent formula. The liquids are placed on the finished cabinetry sample for 24 hours and must not have any visible failures or discoloration.


If you have ever wondered why it takes so long to bring out new colors, this should help solve that riddle. A rigourous testing process is important to ensure you get a world-class cabinet finish that not only looks beautiful, but lasts for many years.

We always recommend you take good care of your cabinetry and immediately wipe up any spills or stains. Use a soft, non-abrasive cloth with warm water and mild dish soap, followed by drying the cabinets with a different soft clean cloth. Always avoid the use of harsher cleaning products. For more information, please see our Caring for your Cabinetry PDF.


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