# Refinishing Cabinets?

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#### AKPilot

##### Well-Known Member
As anyone ever refinished their cabinets; whether it be kitchen or bathroom? Was it successful

I realize the effort this takes and that it's no small task, however our home's been around for about 15 years now and they simply look worn out. To refinish all of the cabinets in our bathrooms and, later, kitchen will cost a ton of money and we simply don't envision being in this home forever.

So the question is, using simple elbow grease, sweat equity, and paint is it possible to refinish them ourselves. We'll be repainting them; no stain.

Experiences and thoughts appreciated.

#### sj_h1

##### Well-Known Member
Can't say I gave actually done this myself, but I have helped a few people. The 1st thing to do is to determine if these cabinets are laminated or solid wood. A great deal of the cabinets today are laminate. If laminated, you have to be real careful not to sand through the finish layer. In most cases this is very thin and easier to replace the door and self fronts. You can buy some matching laminate to cover exposed frame parts. Re-laminating the door and shelf fronts usually is more expensive than it is worth. If is is solid wood, it is definitely worth trying to refinish. Takes a lot to time and elbow grease but the results can be fantastic.

#### sunward

TRF Supporter
....So the question is, using simple elbow grease, sweat equity, and paint is it possible to refinish them ourselves. We'll be repainting them; no stain....
Lots of elbow grease or money. Or both. You can do it yourself.

I personally don't like the look of painted cabinetry. You need to have experience to do it right. And that is after prepping.

If you can, you may look at taking the doors off and having them professionally refinished. Or just get new doors.

Remember, painting shows defects - doesn't hide them.

##### Well-Known Member
Can't say I gave actually done this myself, but I have helped a few people. The 1st thing to do is to determine if these cabinets are laminated or solid wood. A great deal of the cabinets today are laminate. If laminated, you have to be real careful not to sand through the finish layer. In most cases this is very thin and easier to replace the door and self fronts. You can buy some matching laminate to cover exposed frame parts. Re-laminating the door and shelf fronts usually is more expensive than it is worth. If is is solid wood, it is definitely worth trying to refinish. Takes a lot to time and elbow grease but the results can be fantastic.

And if they're plastic laminate (Formica) make sure you degloss the surface and get the right paint .

Replacing the doors and drawer fronts is also an option you might want to consider.

#### Trident

##### Retired, plenty of kits
I've painted cabinets twice. You want to spray the doors for sure, brush strokes are going to really stand out on flat surfaces. Take the doors down, sand them well, and prime them. You want to make them incredibly smooth, since the doors are the most visible part of the cabinetry. I put down tarps in the garage,and set up 2X4 platforms to put the doors on.

Buy the best sprayer you can afford. I bought a Wagner Power Painter, but not the budget model. Spent maybe $100 or so. Also, use enamel, a latex paint is not going to hold up in the kitchen. This means cleaning up with turpentine, but I kept a bucket and lid to soak parts in. I had 20+ doors to spray, and that takes a lot of prep! Plus, you have to let them dry, flip them, and paint the other side. And it takes several coats. You can get by with brushing the face frames. For the end panels of cabinets, I tented the kitchen with plastic and sprayed them. We also used beaded board to dress up the back side of an island, so I rolled these. With the grooves, it was a broken surface, and looks fine. But 10 feet of smooth cabinet siding woulds have looked bad, so I would have sprayed this if we hadn't resurfaced them. I also do woodworking, so I cut and routed custom corner posts for all the baseboard, rather than having mitered joints. We brushed all the baseboard trim prior to installing. Then fil all the holes, sand, and paint ... We had recessed box with fluorescent lamps, so I gutted that, installed recessed cans, and did a tin tile ceiling for an old time look. Also lots of custom trim to go with the tin tiles. And all new hinges and knobs. You can spend hundreds of$ on new hardware. Oh yeah, new sink, faucet, disposer. WATCH OUT! It is easy to get carried away on what was going to be a simple remodel.

I am not sure I'd do this again, because it is a tremendous amount of work, but it looks great, and has held up very well. You will not have as durable a finish as if they were factory painted, but for a nice remodel, it is worth it. Some dings are iunavoidable over time, such as on the edges of drawers and doors.

My wife wanted a French country kitchen, which means painted woodwork. We now have a chip or two here and there, but I question if there is any need to fix the dings. Stressed furniture with dings and wear marks is in vougue, I guess, so it is looking authentic!

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#### troj

##### Wielder Of the Skillet Of Harsh Discipline, Potent
First, if they're stained, sand down to bare wood. Some of the nooks and crannies can be tough, but do it as well as you can.

Then use a varnish-based primer from Kilz, or somewhere similar, so that paint will stick decently.

Diamond Vogel sells a water-based paint specifically designed for cabinetry (Nu-Kote, I think is what they call it; not sure, and I'd have to go find a can downstairs). It's holding up very well in our kitchen.

Done properly, and with a good brush, you can prevent issues with brush strokes. The key is the brush -- cheap brushes aren't going to do a good job. A sprayer will be faster, if you have access to one, or don't mind buying one (or you may be able to rent one locally).

Regardless of how you paint, let it dry for several days before the doors go back on. Otherwise, you'll find the paint coming loose at the contact points on the doors.

-Kevin

#### sj_h1

The Kohler sink, Hans Groehe nickel faucet, plus the top-of-the-line InSinkerator disposer, new stainless braided water lines, etc. etc. -- over $800. Wife's happiness: Priceless. The dogs are happy, too. Here are the food bowl stands, with matching bead board paneling, and tiled surface for ease of cleanup. We've got a 12 year old Great Pyrenees, and a 10 year old Rottweiler, so they appreciate not bending over too far to eat. Last edited: #### sunward ##### At Mad Rocket Basement TRF Sponsor TRF Supporter ...Even at$2-$3 a piece .. Nothing less than$5.00, and just to start.

...AND IF SHE AIN'T HAPPY NO ONE IS!!! :roll:
Don't you have a 50-50 relationship? :bangpan:

#### kelltym88

##### Well-Known Member
Too bad you don't live closer, as this is what I do for a living. Well, sort of. I refinish, but I could do it all in laminate. Anyway, prepping is the most important part. As others have said, sand everything smooth. Get a little disc sander. I will not be easy, and it will take more than a day, but treat it like finishing one of your rockets, and when you're finished you'll be very happy.

Louis and Co. http://www.louisandcompany.com/storefront/

If you decide to go with laminate, PM and I'll be more than happy to work with you or help you out. Roll up your sleeves, put your favorite music on, have a good time. Let's see some pictures.

#### dedleytedley

##### Well-Known Member
As anyone ever refinished their cabinets; whether it be kitchen or bathroom? Was it successful

I realize the effort this takes and that it's no small task, however our home's been around for about 15 years now and they simply look worn out. To refinish all of the cabinets in our bathrooms and, later, kitchen will cost a ton of money and we simply don't envision being in this home forever.

So the question is, using simple elbow grease, sweat equity, and paint is it possible to refinish them ourselves. We'll be repainting them; no stain.

Experiences and thoughts appreciated.
I'm a professional painter and have done this more than once. Are the cabinet hinges old style(face frame) or European style(hidden hinges)? The answer will determine if you can paint them with the doors attached.
The first thing you need to do is empty them completely and clean the entire cabinets inside and out with an ammonia based cleaner to remove any cooking grease on the surfaces. Wrap a rag over a small putty knife to completely remove any residue from the cracks and corners as grease can cause paints to separate leaving fish-eyes etc.
Your level of experience with spray guns will determine how you will finish them. If you aren't very confident of your spraying skills I would recommend that you brush and roll Alkyd(oil/mineral spirits) base paint on them.
Is it an open-grain wood like Oak or Ash? If yes you may want to fill the grain with an easy sanding filler before priming. Conversely you may want to keep the grain's appearance, if yes it will require a sprayed lacquer finish best done by a pro.
If you can post some pics of the cabinets I can give you some better advice.
Ted

#### new2hpr

##### Well-Known Member
To clean years of scunge off the cabinets, scrub them down with T.S.P. (trisodium phosphate) from the hardware store. It's amazing what this stuff will strip off. Paint will once again stick. We've done greasy kitchen cabinets and never had paint issues afterwards. Good stuff.

-Ken