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How To Refinish Your Kitchen Cabinets

Posted by Beau Ueland on

One of the easiest ways to give your kitchen a major makeover is to refinish the cabinets. To better understand the process and get an idea of what this project entails, here’s insight on how to refinish your kitchen cabinets. These steps cover refinishing with paint, but there are other options. No matter what avenue you pick, before you know it you will be starting the process. In the end, your kitchen will be unrecognizable.

Take All Necessary Protective Measures

This project can be quite messy if you don’t prioritize this initial step. In order to make sure you don’t do any damage to the other elements of your kitchen, take the proper precautionary measures. Lay down floor protection and cover the countertops and appliances. You should always overcompensate on the protective measures; if you skimp on them you’ll only be devastated when you end up spilling paint on your new stainless-steel refrigerator.

Remove the Cabinets

If you don’t remove the cabinets, the entire project will go badly. So, to ensure the refinishing goes well, label the cabinets individually as soon as you remove them. This will allow for you to keep track of where the cabinets and drawers go when you’re done. Not doing this will make everything confusing when you put your kitchen back together. (Trust us, nobody wants that!)

Start Cleaning

This step is extremely important. Without cleaning the cabinets, you’re never going to achieve the results and overall look that you want. Food residue and just plain dirtiness are harsh realities that come from using your cabinets over the years. Cleaning them might take a little extra work than you would think depending on how dirty they are.

Start this cleaning process by using steel wool and soapy water to scrub the entirety of the cabinets. If this doesn’t get them clean, it might be time to try trisodium phosphate and water to clean the cabinets. This mixture will remove grease more efficiently than soap. Please make sure to remember the important of drying the cabinets when you’re done; they must be completely dry before the next part of the refinishing process can happen.

Project Preparation Starts Now

After you finish those steps, the real preparation can finally happen. Sanding the cabinets will remove the finish and allow for you to successfully repaint the surface. You don’t have to remove all the finish, but remove enough to promote adhesion. Once you finish the sanding, make sure to remove and get rid of all the dust. The best way to go about this is using a shop vac with a brush attachment. A shop vac doesn’t always grab all of the excess dust, though, so you should use a microfiber rag with water to get any materials you didn’t with the vacuum. Another note: don’t overlook how wet the rag is since any excess water can leave ugly water spots on the cabinet’s surface. Remember to dry thoroughly with a clean towel.

Time To Prime

Priming can make or break your project. Do not forget this step! Not only should you apply the primer as uniformly and evenly as possible, but also make sure you don’t skimp on the amount you’re using. Use a nylon bristled brushes or a roller to apply the primer without brush marks occurring. This step will help you cover the old paint or stain that made up your old cabinets and allow for a clean slate for your new look.

Once you have primed the cabinets and they have dried, repeat the preparation process in the section above. While doing this, please make sure that you caulk any cracks or deal with minor flaws you might’ve caught when priming.

Apply Your Topcoat

You’re going to want to do everything in your power to make sure that you coat your cabinets with an even and smooth coverage. Start this process by doing the back sides of the cabinet doors. Laying them flat makes this easier to do, as well as helping to level the enamel and allow for a smooth finish. Don’t flip the cabinets until they are completely dry. Once they are, paint the other side and repeat this process a second time. A nice second topcoat will give the cabinets a more solid look as well as added protection. You can also add gorgeous decorative accents using products like Glaze Effects by General Finishes.

Re-install the Cabinets

Once you have refinished your cabinets, putting them back where they belong is the first step of seeing the end result come together. (During this, you’ll be very grateful you labeled your cabinets earlier!) Install each door and drawer one by one until they are all back into their proper locations. If you’re replacing the hardware, please make sure you do so with hand tools. Be gentle so you don’t ruin any of the changes and improvements you have made.

After everything is re-installed, take off all of the protective measures you put in place to keep your space clean.

Enjoy It

This is the time for you to make any necessary, last-minute touch-ups. However, once everything is said and done, make sure that you take the time to enjoy your finished product. It will not only look great, but it will look like a new space. Maybe you could even make a comparison between the before and after to see how much your project has transformed the room! Just take a photo before the project and one afterwards.

If you’re considering another avenue of refinishing your cabinets other than painting, take a look at our inventory. We have options such as formica sheets for sale that will help you cover the cabinets in a new look. No matter the option you choose, refinishing your kitchen cabinets truly is the way to go. Your kitchen will look better than ever after following these steps on how to refinish your kitchen cabinets. After the refinishing, it’ll practically be as if you have a new kitchen. Relish the satisfaction that comes from knowing you did this project yourself! Now, you can enjoy your kitchen even more than before.

How To Refinish Your Kitchen Cabinets
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