Kitchen Cabinet Refinishing Tips

Written By Arman Zulhajar on Thursday, March 22, 2012 | 12:59 AM

By Jewel Chesson


If you've shopped for new kitchen cabinets recently, you know that it's often much more economical to refinish your old cabinets than to buy new ones. Here are 8 tips that will make your kitchen cabinet refinishing a huge success.

If your cabinets are painted, remove the paint with a chemical stripper. If your cabinets are stained or varnished, either clean the surface well or remove most of the stain or varnish with a chemical refinisher.

Take the cabinet doors off and remove all hardware. You'll work better if you let the doors lie flat.

Take time to check how severe the damage in the cabinets are. If there is only minor damage, such as dark stains around the door handles, just clean these areas. Synthetic wool pads are ideal for use since you won't hurt your fingers that way and they also won't catch in the wood.

Dip the pad in paint thinner, mineral spirits, or turpentine, and scrub the stains. Then lightly scrub the whole surface, cleaning and dulling it so the new finish will stick.

Once you've cleaned the surface and removed the dark stains, wipe on an oil-based, clear finish such as Minwax. All clear finishes are low-odor and most are available in either glossy or satin finish. Several coats of finish work well.

A chemical refinisher can be used to clean stained areas again. You can ask advice about a good refinisher from an expert in a paint store.

You should do small areas at a time when you use chemical finishers, and use a synthetic steel wool pad to scrub the wood. The chemical refinisher will remove the finish and even out the colour of the wood and stain. You should rinse the pad with refinisher from time to time.

After scrubbing, you should have a smooth and even-coloured surface. If you find it isn't, just wipe the entire cabinet in long, overlapping strokes with clean refinisher and clean steel wool in long, overlapping strokes. You're just smoothing the surface here.

It's extremely important that you wear protective clothing and make sure that your work area is well-ventilated when you're refinishing your cabinets. And don't forget to follow all safety precautions on the refinishing product labels.




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