A Step-by-Step Guide to Refinishing Your Wood Kitchen Cabinets

Posted on: 20 December 2016

You've decided to take the plunge and renovate your outdated kitchen. However, there is one nagging problem: you don't want to part with your beautiful wood cabinets. Instead of wasting money on replacing your pricey wood cabinets, there is another option: refinish them. It doesn't take a lot of money or time to bring your exiting wood cabinets to life. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you refinish your beautiful wood cabinets:

Label & Remove the Hardware

After you empty out your cabinets, it's time to prepare the door front to be removed. However, before you begin pulling off the cabinet doors and drawer fronts, it's important to label each one. Grab a piece of masking tape or a sticky note and label each of the doors and drawer fronts. This will ensure you know exactly where everything goes when you are done refinishing the cabinets.

Next, carefully remove the hardware from the cabinet doors. If you want, you can save the hardware and reuse it. If the hardware is dirty, Simply Beautiful Kitchens recommends cleaning them with a simple mixture of white vinegar, dish soap and water.

Once all the cabinets and drawer fronts are removed, lay them out on a tarp or a layer of newspapers in a well-ventilated area. If you are refinishing the cabinets in your kitchen, make sure to open the windows and run box fans to keep the air circulating in the room.

Clean the Cabinets

Once the cabinets are disassembled, it's time to remove years of dirt, grime and grease. The best way to accomplish this is with TSP, or trisodium phosphate. Be aware that TSP is a very strong cleanser and should never come into contact with your skin or eyes. Make sure to wear rubber gloves and utilize in a well-ventilated area.

The Natural Handyman recommends combining one-half cup TSP and two gallons of water. Dampen a scrub brush and use it to clean the entire surface of the cabinets, including the doors and drawer fronts. Rinse away the TSP with plain water. Once the cabinets are dry, gently sand the entire surface of the cabinets with a medium-grit sandpaper. Clean off any dust created by the sandpaper with a damp rag and allow the cabinets to dry.

Paint or Stain

Now that the cabinets are prepped, it's time to make a critical decision: stain or paint. If you decide to paint or stain, begin by filling any holes in the cabinets with wood putty. Let the wood putty dry before sanding it down until its flush with the surrounding cabinets.

If you decide to paint, begin by applying a layer of stain-blocking primer. Let the primer dry before applying at least two coats of a semi gloss paint. For a more professional look, consider renting a paint sprayer from your local hardware store. Apply the paint by holding the sprayer a few inches away from the cabinets and use a slow, back and forth motion. Allow the paint to dry completely between layers.

To stain the cabinets, begin by applying a layer of wood conditioner. This will help the stain adhere more effectively. Next, apply the stain using circulator motions, which helps the stain work into the wood. The more layers of stain you apply, the darker the wood will appear. Once the stain is completely dry, apply at least two layers of finish.

When the finish or paint is completely dry, it's time to place the labels back on the cabinet doors and drawer fronts and begin reattaching them.

Refinishing your wood cabinets is a great way to save money your home improvement project. If you don't feel comfortable refinishing the cabinets yourself, don't hesitate to contact a company like Painting By Jerry Wind to tackle this task for you!