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#4812112 - 07/12/18 10:27 AM Installing bathroom cabinets- finishing
Walmill Offline


Registered: 02/06/18
Posts: 41
Loc: FLORIDA
This is a question that stems partly from laziness, saving waste, and saving time.

I have some unfinished cabinets that I am going to install in the bathroom. Is it necessary, important, or even recommended to finish the back/sides/inside of cabinets? This is not for aesthetics but for potential protection. Can't seem to obtain an answer on google.


Edited by Walmill (07/12/18 10:28 AM)
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#4812141 - 07/12/18 10:51 AM Re: Installing bathroom cabinets- finishing [Re: Walmill]
pandus13 Offline


Registered: 08/12/11
Posts: 3309
Loc: Chicago,IL,USA
[off-topic]
Have your exhaust fan wired in parallel to a humidistat + on/off switch.

You control humidity, you have less expanse/mold/mildew problems...
[/off-topic]
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#4812164 - 07/12/18 11:06 AM Re: Installing bathroom cabinets- finishing [Re: Walmill]
Vuflanovsky Offline


Registered: 12/15/14
Posts: 1196
Loc: California
You might have to clarify their location. My bathroom could have cabinets that are subject to steam/humidity or ones that are outside the toilet/shower area and separated by a door.

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#4812168 - 07/12/18 11:09 AM Re: Installing bathroom cabinets- finishing [Re: pandus13]
maxdustington Offline


Registered: 01/21/17
Posts: 899
Loc: Toronna
Originally Posted By: pandus13
[off-topic]
Have your exhaust fan wired in parallel to a humidistat + on/off switch.

You control humidity, you have less expanse/mold/mildew problems...
[/off-topic]

They have fans now that are moisture sensing, and if you are going to install a switch make sure it has timer functions. Honestly, bathroom mold problems seem to be related to poor construction and lack of waterproofing in shower/tub areas. Cold basement three piece baths without windows compounds this.

It depends on the material. MDF is very sensitive to moisture, if it gets scratched it will swell in the area and look bad. Melamine seems to be relatively water resistant, not as bad as MDF.

A coat of primer on all exterior sides is probably enough. I would do a decent job painting the inside because you are going to be looking at it all the time.
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#4812193 - 07/12/18 11:31 AM Re: Installing bathroom cabinets- finishing [Re: Walmill]
Walmill Offline


Registered: 02/06/18
Posts: 41
Loc: FLORIDA
-Good idea on the exhaust fan.

-Cabinets are in the bathroom with a shower nearby. Three cabinets, two sinks. Approx 3 feet from shower. One cabinet against exterior wall.

-Florida, tend to get rather humid.

-Cabinets are solid wood, don't know what wood just off the top of my head. Backing cover about 1/8 inch engineered kind of product, name escapes me right now. Counter to be solid stone.

-1990ish house, not as weather/energy efficient as a modern house, but not a sieve either. Have had occasionaly mildew here and there, but no widespread problems.



Edited by Walmill (07/12/18 11:31 AM)
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#4812201 - 07/12/18 11:40 AM Re: Installing bathroom cabinets- finishing [Re: Walmill]
pandus13 Offline


Registered: 08/12/11
Posts: 3309
Loc: Chicago,IL,USA
Wallmill/OP,

General finishes makes some gel stain. it can be used as wipe-on regular stain or just plain painted as an oil paint(self level), then some poly/varnish on top.

Also , put some vinyl sheet on the bottom of the cabinets, rolled around on 3 sides (left, right and back) to protect from the spills or liquid accumulation.
I think homedepot/lowes has some cabinet protectors for this.

Also for the exhaust fan, make sure it has enough CFM/flow for the bathroom's area. Panasonic fans have good name in the industry.

Re: MaxDustington: pretty good knowledge for a young guy. Keep it going, be a PRO, and you will retire on your own terms. Hat off!
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#4812264 - 07/12/18 01:14 PM Re: Installing bathroom cabinets- finishing [Re: Walmill]
pkunk Offline


Registered: 03/19/11
Posts: 261
Loc: NM, USA
Wood, of any kind, once finished on one side should be finished on the other side as well as any exposed edges. This is to prevent moisture from entering and causing the panel to warp.
In the case of a cabinet, it also makes it easier to clean.
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#4812294 - 07/12/18 01:42 PM Re: Installing bathroom cabinets- finishing [Re: Walmill]
dave123 Offline


Registered: 01/13/09
Posts: 2342
Loc: wi
Wood finishing for 25+ years and supply OEM cabint and custom builders in bathroom answer is yes yes yes including bottoms and tops of entrance door if also doin Conversion Varnish is recommended for this app.

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#4812342 - 07/12/18 02:56 PM Re: Installing bathroom cabinets- finishing [Re: Walmill]
SubieRubyRoo Offline


Registered: 05/14/12
Posts: 1236
Loc: Winchester, Indiana
What about on wood that has dried for 20+ years? My friend gave me some black walnut planks that were done with the bark intact (that live-edge stuff) and it dried in barn for over 20 years. I ran it through the planer a couple times to flatten it out, and my wife wants me to turn it into a shelf. Do I still need to worry about warping after the long drying times and planing afterwards, and what should I use to leave the most natural finish? Do I need to worry about sealing the bark edge?

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#4812418 - 07/12/18 04:00 PM Re: Installing bathroom cabinets- finishing [Re: SubieRubyRoo]
dave123 Offline


Registered: 01/13/09
Posts: 2342
Loc: wi
Originally Posted By: SubieRubyRoo
What about on wood that has dried for 20+ years? My friend gave me some black walnut planks that were done with the bark intact (that live-edge stuff) and it dried in barn for over 20 years. I ran it through the planer a couple times to flatten it out, and my wife wants me to turn it into a shelf. Do I still need to worry about warping after the long drying times and planing afterwards, and what should I use to leave the most natural finish? Do I need to worry about sealing the bark edge?
if it was my own because of the unique nature of the woodI have materials not available to general diy guy but I would give a recommendation or look into Tung oil for this job for the diy person.

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