Ideas for Refinishing Kitchen Cabinets

When reworking or remodeling a kitchen, the greatest expense likely to be incurred will be in the kitchen cabinets. Unless the homeowner chooses to reface or refinish the existing cabinets, the cost of new cabinets can run into the thousands of dollars. However, a truly custom look and feel can quite easily be achieved without completely replacing the cabinets. By painting or refinishing a kitchen’s cabinets, not only can a tremendous amount of expense be spared, the result can be equivalent to new. Additionally, refacing a set of cabinets can bring about an improved custom look that could otherwise cost a fortune.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets

One of the easiest and most cost effective kitchen cabinet improvement projects is painting. Proper preparation, that includes cleaning and sanding the old cabinet finish, is key to not only the resulting durability of the finished product, but the quality look and feel afterwards.

Kitchen cabinets should be cleaned with a product such as a TCP substitute and old rags before, and after, the cabinets are sanded. TCP is an acronym for Trisodium phosphate. While the product in its pure form is not recommended, many biodegradable substitutes are available that perform equally as well. The cleaner will remove all waxy build-up and grease that may be present which could otherwise compromise good paint adhesion.

Sanding the cabinets before painting requires that only the existing surface be slightly scuffed. Generally if all the shiny finish is removed through sanding, this is adequate. As a rule, paint will not adhere to a glossy or shiny surface.

Refinishing Kitchen Cabinets

Stained and hardwood kitchen cabinet refinishing involves staining and re-sealing with much the same preparation requirements as painting. Often the sealant on older cabinets will begin to form cracks and start to flake or peal. Instead of extensive sanding to remove the old coating in preparation for new, try using a stain/sealer remover instead. Follow the label directions on the product and observe all safety precautions. Once the old coating is removed, lightly sand the entire surface of the cabinets to be refinished to improve adhesion of the new stain and sealant.

Refacing Kitchen Cabinets

To achieve a more complete custom look, cabinet refacing is certainly an option to consider. Refacing kitchen cabinets can include replacing cabinet doors with new or updated designs, or simply refacing the existing cabinet doors with a hardwood or beaded board veneer. Many options are available in thin hardwood and pressboard paneling that can be easily adapted to refacing the cabinets and doors.

With drawers and doors removed from cabinets, measure the outside areas of the cabinets to be refinished and cut the paneling to size. The paneling can be installed using a construction grade adhesive applied with a caulking gun. For professional looking finished corners and edges, cut the paneling slightly larger than required and block sand it to size. Do the same with drawer fronts and door inserts to achieve the desired custom look.

Not only will refinished kitchen cabinets enrich the look of the home, the entire project can be completed by the homeowner at a fraction of the cost commanded by professional cabinet refinishers or custom cabinet makers.