5 Tips for Refinishing Kitchen Cabinets

By Robert Robillard on Kitchens

Refinishing Kitchen Cabinets

kitchen remodel

While shiny new appliances are nice, nothing will vibe in your kitchen if the cabinets aren’t in tip-top shape.

This doesn’t mean you have to spend thousands of dollars to get the updated look your kitchen needs.

In fact, you can completely transform your existing cabinets by refinishing them yourself.

1. Start with the bare bones

First, make sure your cabinets are completely stripped of all doors, hinges, handles, drawer fronts and shelves. This allows you to work on individual pieces in your garage (or other area that can handle a mess), rather than put the rest of your kitchen at risk for stains.

2. Get Your Cabinets Spotless

Cleaning might be the most important part of this process. Cabinets that haven’t been scrubbed and sanded won’t hold the stain or paint nearly as well—if at all. Use both a citrus-based cleaner and solvent-based cleaner for best results. Then, sand away.

3. Have All Materials on Hand

If you aren’t quite sure how much paint or stain you’ll need to refinish your cabinets, ask a professional at your local home improvement store. By having everything on hand before it’s time to start painting, you can rest assured that you won’t run out the door half-finished.

4. Protect Yourself

Remember, you are working with chemicals that can easily irritate your eyes and lungs. Make sure to use gloves and a protective mask so you don’t spend the better part of a weekend ingesting harmful fumes.

5. Don’t Move Too Fast

Even though refinishing your kitchen cabinets may not be the most exciting task, all that extra work will be in vain if you rush through the staining or painting process. Make sure that each door and drawer is completed properly. That way you won’t have to start again from square one.

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About the author

Robert Robillard

Carpenter / Remodeler / Editor

Rob Robillard is “The Concord Carpenter” Rob is a builder, general contractor, carpenter, woodworker, and editor of Concord Carpenter and ToolBoxBuzzr As a General Contractor and carpenter, Rob owns and operates Concord Carpenter LLC. A full-service remodeling and construction company. Rob is a recognized leader in home building best practices and a source for how-to information for building professionals. On this website, Rob covers all aspects of home construction, building science, home improvement, woodworking, remodeling, and some of the best product and tool reviews. Rob is in charge of our Tool and Product Review series - Concord Carpenter Videos where we post all of our tool reviews and video tutorials. Rob approaches remodeling and building construction with a pragmatic and problem-solving approach. He enjoys using his knowledge and experience to help and educate building professionals as well as DIYers on best practices in the construction and remodeling industry. He's a strong advocate for "raising-the-bar" in the construction trades and promoting the trades to youth. #BeAMentor #Green2Great Craftsmanship, quality, and pride guide his journey on this channel The Concord Carpenter's motto: "Well done is better than well said!" : Read more about Rob

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