Common Mistakes to Avoid When Refinishing Cabinets Common Mistakes to Avoid When Refinishing Cabinets

While refinishing cabinets is hard work it can reign in the costs of a kitchen remodel considerably by sparing you the expense of buying new cabinets. But your refinishing project does require some skill and will only be successful if you avoid a number of common pitfalls. The following guidelines will save you time, money and aggravation.

Avoid Working in Extreme Weather Conditions

Do not make the mistake of starting the project in extreme hot or cold. On the one hand, it must be warm enough to keep doors and windows open for ventilation. On the other,  the finishing products will not set correctly in extreme heat.

Do the Necessary Prep Work

The number one reason for failed cabinet refinishing projects is inadequate prep work. Remove the doors from the cabinets and unscrew knobs and hinges. Surfaces must be thoroughly stripped, scrapped and sanded before being primed and painted or stained. Skipping any of these steps will result in cabinets that look worse than when you started.

Have the Correct Tools on Hand

In order to prepare the cabinets correctly you must have the right tools on hand, including a stripper, sander, brushes, gloves and primer, paint or stain.

Measure Correctly

Other common mistakes are the failure to measure the cabinet correctly and underestimating the amount of product needed to get the job done. Take measurements and write them down before going to the store.

Test Products before Applying

Set aside a test area on the cabinets to sample each finishing product and procedure. This will ensure that you purchased the right products, that you are applying them correctly and that the surface is absorbing the product as intended.

Be Prepared to Clean up Messes


Prepare the area for spills and mishaps by laying paper or plastic drop sheets or newspapers on the floors and counters.

Leave Adequate Time

Don't underestimate the time needed to complete a cabinet refinishing project. While the amount of time required will depend on the size of your kitchen and the number of cabinets involved, refinishing cabinets is always more than a one-day project.

Be Realistic About Your Skill Level


If you have trouble changing a light bulb, then refinishing kitchen cabinets may not be a realistic goal for you. It takes time, patience and a certain amount of elbow grease. If you aren't certain you can see it through, call in a professional.

Generally, any kitchen makeover is a great way to boost the value of your home, and you will enjoy the results even more if you invested your own sweat equity provided you avoid the common mistakes so many people make.

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