How to Refinish Cabinets
Replacing kitchen cabinets can be messy and expensive. Refinish cabinets with a fresh coat of paint and hardware is a budget friendly alternative perfect for intermediate DIYers. Here’s what you’ll need for this satisfying project:
- Phillips Screwdriver
- Rosin Paper
- Painter’s Tape
- Paint Brushes/Rollers
- Putty Knife
- Finish Sander
- Sanding Block
- Degreasing Solution
- Scrubbing Sponge
- 100 and 200 Grit Sandpaper
- Wood Putty
- Drop Cloth
- Tack Cloth
- Painter’s Tripods
When taking on this DIY task to refinish cabinets, be sure to equip yourself with the proper safety gear. Throughout the video, we’ll alert you regarding when you should and should not use the safety gear.
Protect counters and floors. Start by covering your backsplash and counter with strips of rosin paper, taping it to both walls and counters. Place drop cloths along base cabinets.
Remove doors, drawers, and hardware. Unscrew all hinges and remove them from both cabinets and doors. Empty drawers and remove them as well along with door and drawer pulls and handles. If you plan on reusing the hardware, store everything together in a safe place, along with connecting screws. Apply painters tape around cabinets to protect cabinets and the wall.
Clean the cabinets. Use a degreasing solution and a scrubbing sponge to thoroughly clean cabinets, doors, and drawer fronts. Be sure not to skip this step, as cooking grease that accumulates on cabinets will prevent primer and paint to adhering properly.
Fill holes and dents. To ensure smooth surfaces, fill any dents with wood putty, wiping away excess with a putty knife. If you’re replacing hinges and handles with new hardware that features different hole spacing, fill all screw holes with wood putty as well. Reapply putty in all dents and holes to ensure they’re completely filled.
Sand. You’ll need to sand your cabinets so they’ll have the right tooth for your primer to adhere to. You can use a sanding block for this task. But, a power sander will save time and effort. Whichever method you choose, be sure to use 100 grit sandpaper and sand with the wood grain. If your doors or drawers have raised panels, use a fine grit sanding sponge to get into corners.
Remove sanding dust. Vacuum all surfaces you’ve sanded. Then, wipe them down with a rag or tack cloth, which is specifically designed to pick up dust.
Prime. For the smoothest possible paint surface, start with a primer labeled as sandable or high build. Brush back and forth to work the primer into the surface. Start by painting the back of the doors. Once they’re dry, flip over and paint the front. Don’t worry about even brush strokes since you’ll be sanding the primer once both sides are dry.
Sand primer. Sand your primer with 220 grit sandpaper. Whether you use a sanding block or finished sander, be sure to sand with a light touch. Sanding too hard will remove the primer.
Paint first coat. Paint with the grain, using long even strokes. After painting all drawers and doors, check the edges for drips, brushing out any that may have formed.
Paint second coat. Allow the paint to dry per manufacturer instructions. Lightly sand and apply a second coat to all surfaces. Let the paint cure for a day or two before reinstalling doors and drawers. Failing to do so can cause the paint on doors and drawers to stick and chip.
Install hardware. Pre-drill new holes for knobs, pulls, and hinges. Whether you’re reinstalling old hardware or installing new hardware, take your time with the installation, making sure everything lines up and is properly centered.
Your project to refinish cabinets is complete. Step back and admire your newly refinished cabinets.
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