3 Mistakes To Avoid When Refinishing Your Kitchen Cabinets

Posted on: 8 July 2015


Are you thinking about giving your kitchen a facelift? One of the easiest ways to dramatically change the appearance of your kitchen is to simply refinish your cabinets. Refinishing cabinets usually takes as little as a single weekend, can be done on your own without professional help, and is fairly inexpensive. Of course, keep in mind the fact that only solid wood cabinetry can be safely refinished -- though plastic and latex cabinets can still be painted with some care. Below are some mistakes to avoid when refinishing your cabinets.

Not Washing and Drying After Sanding

Before refinishing your cabinets, you need to sand them. You cannot simply paint over old paint or even the original surface -- the new finish won't adhere properly. Once sanded, you still need to wash the newly revealed wood surface and then dry it out thoroughly. Failure to wash the wood will lead to small, gritty particles being trapped in either the paint or the stain, dulling the surface. Not drying it will usually lead to peeling paint or uneven staining. 

Trying to Stain Using the Same Procedure as Painting

Most people have painted a few objects in their lives and would assume that staining is similar -- but it's really not. If you want to stain your cabinets, you should be aware that staining is much harder than painting. Stain soaks into the wood and colors it while still revealing the grain. This gives a lovely, natural appearance, but it also means that the stain has to be rubbed on properly (gently, in circular motions, with all excess swept up) or it will look uneven. Stain also reveals any imperfections in the wood, so the surface needs to be perfectly sanded flat. 

Painting the Doors Without Removing Them

When refinishing, you should ideally remove the cabinet doors first and lay them on a flat surface, painting one side after the other. If you leave them hanging, not only will you not be able to easily paint around the hardware, but the paint will very likely drip. Using painters tape, you can conceivably paint the doors without removing them (if you're in a rush, or have particularly difficult to remove doors). However, you'll need to be very careful not to lay on any excess paint, to avoid the unsightly drips at the bottom. 

If all of this sounds a bit complex, you can always hire professionals to refinish your kitchen cabinets for you. It will still be significantly less expensive than replacing the cabinets themselves. There's also a compromise option: you can simply replace the doors while leaving the cabinet boxes. Either way, a store that finishes kitchen cabinets in Milton can help.