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Tips on How to Refinish Kitchen Cabinets

Posted by Melanie Daniels

Painting and refreshing your kitchen cabinets can transform your kitchen for much less cost than the price of fitting new units.

However if you want to refinish your kitchen cabinets like a pro, you have to take a professional approach and that means taking time and care to do it right. Refinishing your kitchen cabinets might seem like a quick and easy job but you do need to give yourself enough time to thoroughly prepare and complete the project.

So take a look at our tips on how to refinish kitchen cabinets to ensure the best results.

First up, preparation.

Remove grease. The kitchen can become coated with grease so you need to remove this before you start. Use sugar soap or white spirit as a degreasant and clear away the grease before you start.

Many professional decorators use TSP (trisodium phosphate) for this purpose and it is very effective. Be careful and always follow the instructions and dilute this with plenty of water, ensuring your skin and eyes are protected first.

If your kitchen cabinets are already painted, you will need to sand them down to enable the paint to adhere to the surfaces. Choose sandpaper between 120 – 220 grit so that you don’t damage and scratch the surface. Sanding creates dust so make sure you wear a mask. It is also a good idea to cover other surfaces to keep them dust free.

Some tips on how to refinish kitchen cabinets advise that you should remove the cabinet doors before you start. However in our opinion, it is far easier to paint the cabinet doors in place because it means you can cover both sides of the door without having to wait for each side to dry.

Masking is important. Use masking tape to protect areas such as hinges from paint and although it is a good idea to remove handles and other door furniture, if you cannot, make sure these areas are protected with masking tape.

The next step is to apply wood primer. This is important because it provides a stable base for your paint and will prevent the grain of the wood from showing through.

Tips on how to refinish kitchen cabinets often don’t include the type of primer you should choose, but we recommend any wood primer that contains shellac as it is quick drying and effective. You should use two coats of this and leave it to dry thoroughly.

Finally, it is time to start painting. Choose a gloss or satin paint as it is easy to keep clean. Try painting a small area first so that you can see that the colour is right for your space.

Your painting technique is important and so is your brush. Choose one that enables you to get into the corners and don’t overload it with paint. Avoiding streaks and runs is important for the overall effect, so don’t rush and try to keep your paint strokes even and neat.

You should aim at two coats for the perfect finish.

If you need tips on how to refinish your kitchen cabinets or anything else, check out HGTV – a Discovery home channel that is fantastic for giving you creative home ideas as well as practical advice on how to achieve excellent results.