Gloss finish is basically a smooth finish with a sheen on it. The quality of the gloss finish can be defined on five factors. The first one being reflection. The quality of reflection means wether the light that is reflected back is mirror like or blurry. The second is the brightness of the reflection. The third is wether or not the finish has waves. Waves or the orange peal effect is the term used for the bending of the light over large surface area. So does your reflection bend and distort when it moves or not. The fourth is the indents. Indents mean the inconsistencies in a finish over a large surface area. The last factor that will be discussed is the perception to scratches. This will help you judge the durability of and resistance to damage. We will discuss finishes like gloss laminate, UV gloss, high gloss acrylic, PU paint and lacquered glass
High Gloss Laminates
Laminates are basically coloured and textured sheets of mica. They come in different finishes like matt, textured and of course gloss. Gloss in case of these shutters gives a great sheen to the kitchen. Their advantages are that they are easy to maintain since their scratch resistance is very high. But when you look at the reflection of light in it is is blurry. Since the reflectiveness is low the brightness is low as well. But because the reflectiveness is low there is no chance of discrepancies over a large surface area (indents) or waves.
They come is several colour and finishes and is perfect for use on the base cabinets of a heavily used main kitchen because it is easy to clean and gives the entire kitchen a light feel. The edge bending of the same colour is used to finish the boards. Thus there is a hairline joint at the edges of the shutter. But these edges are not visible once installed on the kitchen carcass because they are on the edges and get hidden.
UV Gloss Finish
This finish has many names from Gloss V to UV panels. This finish made by coating high gloss panels with PU coating. These are predominated boards because of which their finish is very consistent. Their gloss level is superior to that of the laminates that we have just discussed. Th reflection of the light is a little blurry but there are very minimal waves or indents. The scratch resistance is a little less than that of the laminate finish because it is a combination of PU paint and gloss laminates.
High Gloss Acrylic
These are made of 1mm thick acrylic sheets that are pasted on MDF, HDF or HDHMR boards. They come in pre-pasted boards as well. One way of figuring out wether the gloss finish is acrylic or not is its mirror like reflection. If you can see the light clearly with ought any indents you are looking at the gloss finish. The material is supposed to have medium scratch resistance but never companies are coming up with acrylic finishes with much better scratch resistance.
The finish can have some waves and indents if there was a problem during the manufacturing process. But mostly it is indent and with minimal orange peel effect. The scratch resistance of this material is less than that of a gloss laminate but its brightness and finish is better than the gloss laminate.
The edge bending of the same colour is used to finish the boards. Thus there is a hairline joint at the edges of the shutter. But these edges are not visible once installed on the kitchen carcass because they are on the edges and get hidden.
This finish is made by putting 14 coats of paint on HDHMR, MDF or HDF boards. The brightness comes from the polish that is used to lock in the paint and give it a smooth finish. Many of the architects and interior designers are attracted to this finish because it gives the entire shutter an edgeless look. But the scratch resistance of this finish is very low and hence not recommended to be used as kitchen shutters. Out of all the finishes discussed, the brightness of this finish is the highest.
Though its reflectiveness is almost mirror like there are still some dents and waves that are visible on a large surface. PU is a highly customised finish because almost any colour can be created. But because of this very reason that this is a luxury finish and a little expensive.
The last finish that we will discuss is back painted glass or better known as Lacquered glass. This is one of the best gloss finishes available in the market because its brightness and reflection are impeccable. This gives the shutter a very smooth and luxurious look. There are no waves or indents in the finish because it is glass. One needs to ensure that the lacquered glass is of a good quality otherwise sometimes the brush strokes can be seen when the box is lit from the inside. The few disadvantages of this finish are in terms of durability.
Since it is glass it is susceptible to scratches and is a little fragile. If the edges ever get damaged you will be left with sharp edges that can injure someone. Hence we recommend that this finish should only be taken in a a few shutters on the wall units in a rough and heavily used area as the kitchen.
When you are selecting any of these finishes for your kitchen or your home please do keep in mind the activities that would be done there. The function of the room will play a huge role is helping you make the right decision. For example you have an occasionally used crockery unit in your kitchen. You can definitely take one of the luxurious finishes like the lacquered glass or PU paint. But not for the cooking or washing area. We hope that this has helped you get enough information to make an informed decision. If you have any questions please let us know in the comments.