Find out how to repaint kitchen cabinets. Learn why you can't simply add a new layer of paint without prepping the surface first. Get tips on using a paint stripper, followed by sanding, and then a coat of good-quality glossy paint.
LESLIE: Juanita in Texas is on the line and needs some help with a kitchen-cabinet painting  project. How can we help you?
JUANITA: I have wooden cabinet and it had oil-based paint on it. And I put some water-based paint not knowing what I was doing and I want to remove the water-based paint. How do I do that?
LESLIE: Now, Juanita, when it came to prep work, did you remove or prep that surface of the existing finish on the cabinets in any way? Or did you just go ahead and apply the new paint to the old?
JUANITA: I just applied the new paint to the old.
LESLIE: Now, I think that’s what the problem is and not so much about water-based over oil-based . The issue is with the oil base, you’re dealing with a sheen, so you’ve got a slippery surface on the cabinet there. And then you’re dealing with years of use, so the kitchen cabinets are going to be a little dirty and slippery themselves. So, when you put the new paint on top, it didn’t really have anything to adhere to and just sort of slicked right off. So I imagine it’s probably peeling and rubbing off in areas, right?
LESLIE: So what you want to do at this point is – I mean because you’re dealing with different mixtures of paints here, you might want to invest in a stripping agent . One that I like to use when it comes to cabinetry is called Roc Miracle and it’s R-o-c Miracle. Comes in what looks like a turpentine can. And you apply it because it’s kind of – I would take all the doors off.
Did you do the boxes, as well?
JUANITA: No, I did not take the doors off.
LESLIE: OK. It might be easier for you, just because you’re going to be taking off the finish, to just unscrew the cabinet door from the hinges and leave the hinges on the box themselves and sort of label it. If you’ve got one door off, put a tape on the back that says “A” and put a piece of tape on the inside that says “A,” just so you know exactly where they go back to. It makes life a heck of a lot easier.
Lay them down on a flat surface, apply the stripper, let it sit there. Then you’re going to scrape it off. You’re going to give them a light sanding, clean them off well. And then I would personally use a very good-quality glossy paint , because that’s going to adhere well at that point and it’s going to be a good finish that’s very cleanable.
JUANITA: Alright. I appreciate it.
TOM: You’re very welcome, Juanita. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.