Refinishing Kitchen Cabinets Affordably

by Gina Blitstein · 0 comments

The kitchen would be considered the most-used room in many homes. It gets used like no other room in the house, enduring extremes of heat, grease, grime, humidity, smoke and splatters. Just by virtue of being the “furniture” of the kitchen, cabinets can be particularly susceptible to the ravages of the unique demands of the room. All that wear and tear can make kitchen cabinets look dingy and, by association, make the entire kitchen a dull and unappealing room.

While replacing cabinets is an option, it’s a pricey proposition. Most kitchen cabinets can be refinished very affordably, giving them and the entire kitchen a cleaner, fresher appearance. The most popular way to refinish kitchen cabinets is to paint or re-stain them.

Before you decide to refinish your cabinets

Determine the composition of your cabinets
Solid wood, wood veneer and metal cabinets can be refinished as a do-it-yourself project; however laminate and melamine finishes must be “refaced” which is a process generally left to professionals. Solid wood can be stained or painted and wood veneer and metal can be refinished using paint.

Decide upon the refinished look you desire
If your cabinets are solid wood, wood veneer or metal, start making definite refinishing decisions! Take plenty of time to decide the color you want. This is a substantial, albeit relatively easy, project, so make a concerted effort to find a shade you’ll be willing to live with for a long time. This is also an opportune time to update your cabinet hinges and pulls.

Do you have the time to refinish your cabinets?
Cabinets in a small kitchen may take only two or three days; but it could take a week or more to complete those in a large one. Your kitchen will be unusable for a good portion of the time you’re working on this project so make certain that you can deal with the inconvenience during that period.

Choose the appropriate refinishing products

I strongly suggest that, once you’ve decided between stain and paint and shade or color(s), you consult with a professional at your home improvement store to guide you to the most appropriate product(s) for your project. Select the highest quality refinishing products and application brushes you can afford; this is no place to scrimp. Choose the finish you like best, but bear in mind that satin and semi-gloss paints are the most durable and easily cleaned.

If updating your hardware, take an existing hinge and pull to the store to make certain that the new ones you select will fit the existing drill holes. This will avoid the need to add additional time to the project for hole-filling and drilling.

The basic process of refinishing kitchen cabinets

  • Cabinet doors and drawer fronts must be removed for refinishing. Unscrew the hinges and, if you’ll be reusing them, keep track of which came from where.
  • Clean all surfaces with a soft cloth and TSP (tri-sodium phosphate), available at home improvement stores, to remove all traces of grime and grease.
  • Sand all surfaces with 220-grit sandpaper.
  • Thoroughly wipe surfaces again to remove sanding dust.
  • Fill scrapes and holes in wood with wood filler.
  • If staining, cover worn spots in existing stain with a matching stain-repair marker.
  • Apply stain or paint as directed, allowing ample time for drying between coats.
  • Reattach, replace pulls and enjoy your “new” kitchen!

Cabinet refinishing resources
How to Refinish Kitchen Cabinets Without Stripping
Painting Kitchen Cabinets

Refinishing cabinets is an affordable solution to a dingy kitchen, providing a lot of “bang” for the buck.

Have you refinished your kitchen cabinets?

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