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Steps for Refinishing Kitchen Cabinets Correctly

January 13th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

I found a pretty good video at Youtube that demonstrates the steps involved when refinishing your bathroom or kitchen cabinets. Although it is a little different from what I may have filmed, I think this handyman did an excellent job. What I really liked about his demonstration is that it shows how much work would go into doing refinish work on your cabinets. You can watch it below.

Prior to refinishing everything, you must test a small area to make sure that the new finish is going to0 be compatible with the old. I would do this on the side of a cabinet that never gets seen (next to range or refrigerator) or on the back of the refrigerator upper cabinet door.

The most obvious place to start is always taking the doors off of the cabinets. This is generally done with a cordless drill. The handles or knobs can be removed at this time as well.

Clean all of the surfaces that need to be refinished with mineral spirits. This will remove any old greasy grim so that when you start the sanding process it doesn’t get forced into the grain of the wood.

You will need a sanding block, sanding sponge and a vibrating sander. Using 100 grit sandpaper take all of the old finish off of the doors and the face-frame cabinet. This is a time-consuming process that can be sped up by using a paint stripper. The key to getting great results with this cabinet refinishing project is in removing All of the old finish.

Next sand everything with 180 grit paper and then finish it off with 220 prior to starting to add the new finish.

Refinishing Your Kitchen Cabinets With Stain

Using rubber gloves and a foam brush, you can start the refinishing process by applying the stain to your kitchen cabinet doors on one side. Allow the stain to soak for a couple of minutes and then wipe off the excess. Repeat the same process on all of the kitchen cabinet parts that are being refinished.

Let the stain dry for twenty four hours before applying the finish coats to the cabinet parts. In the video he uses a sprayer and polyurethane clear coat. I personally like to use a lacquer based finishing system.

I would first apply a sealer and let it dry. Then, I would lightly sand all of the areas with 220 sandpaper. Next, I would spray on another coat of clear sealer and lightly sand the areas after the finish completely dried.

Remember to wipe all of the kitchen or bathroom cupboard parts off with a cloth after sanding.

They key to refinishing kitchen cabinets correctly is in not being in a hurry. You must allow your finish coats to dry long enough. When people get in a hurry that’s when things get messy.

After sanding the second coat of sealer, I would then apply two final finish clear coats of finish. In the video he did not use any type of sealer.

I’m guessing that the finish on the door was rather rough when the guy in the Youtube vid finished the project. The reason I say this is that when you apply a clear finish over wood, it causes the grain to rise up. Perhaps he didn’t have that problem because the grain had been sealed when the original finish was applied to the kitchen cabinet.

If it took him an hour to sand one cabinet and it was a small one. If you are thinking about refinishing your kitchen cabinets, it will take you a lot of time to do it correctly. Refinishing cupboards is not a fun project. It never has been and never will be.

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