Thursday, June 27, 2013

Refinishing Cabinets

Mint Juleps 'n Muddin': How to refinish cabinets


Several jars
Sand paper or sanding blocks
Paint thinner

Paint (Valspar with Kilz in it)

Cordless screw driver
Magic eraser

Dawn dish detergent

Sponge brushes
Roller brushes (short nape)

Paint pans
Drop cloths


First, let me say that the project of refinishing your cabinets is not something to delve into without giving it a lot of serious thought. It is a project that is going to take days not hours, so you must be willing to put in the time; not to mention the work.

It’s also a messy job. Your kitchen will be torn apart and junk will be everywhere. You’ll have sand paper, paint thinner, brushes, drop clothes, tape and paint lying around. You can pretty much forget about cooking unless it’s cooked in a crock pot.

Once you decide to refinish your cabinets yourself comes the next very important decision; what color to use. You must decide on a color that you think you can live with for several years. Very, Very Important:  The type of paint is everything. I would suggest Valspar with Kilz. It’s expensive but worth it.

Then, you must decide if your current hinges and knobs will work with the look you are going for.  Walk around a home improvement store. Find cabinets that you like and decide if you think you can pull that look off with some fresh paint and knobs.

Don’t get fixated on one set of knobs and hinges. Figure out the material and color you want and shop around. Also, look on the websites of the home improvement stores. They offer several more items online than they do in their retail stores and you might be surprised at how much cheaper some of the items are.

With all that said, if I still haven’t talked you out of refinishing your own cabinets, then, here is a step by step guide of doing it yourself.

Make sure you can have windows and doors open to allow for good ventilation during all these steps.

Day One:  With cordless screw driver, remove all hinges and knobs from doors. Use jars to store screws with their counter parts. Take all doors outside and wash down with Dawn dish detergent, water and a magic eraser. This is to remove all grease. Now, do the same to all the cabinets. Allow everything to dry. Make sure your doors are out of the weather, if you decide to leave them outside over night.

Day Two:  Take rags and wet down with paint thinner. It doesn’t matter if you start on the cabinets or the doors, but this is a long process. Rub down an area of cabinet or door with thinner, and then, sand. The goal here is to take the shine off the old paint. The old paint will still be there but it will be dull looking.

Day Three:  Put down your drop cloths because you’re gonna paint.  Very important:  Sponge brushes and rollers are less likely to leave streaks in your paint, so for this method, that’s all we used. I would suggest lying out all your doors and rolling the paint on them. Do one side and when it dries, flip over and do the other side. Make sure you use short nape roller brushes.

Paint cabinets starting at the top and working your way down. This way you can catch any runs above where you are working before they dry.

Day Four:  Paint everything again.

Day Five:  Now, you’re ready to put everything together. If you’ve bought new knobs and hinges, now is the time to break those out of their packages and install.

Sit back and admire all your hard work.


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