How To Refurbish Kitchen Cabinets

Lead Image for How To Refurbish Kitchen Cabinets
  • 8-20 hours
  • Beginner
  • 50-200
What You'll Need
Paint stripper
Hot air gun
Wood putty knife
Wood putty
Wood conditioner

Instead of replacing old kitchen cabinets, which can become quite expensive, it may make sense to simply fix them up or refurbish them. Refurbishing old kitchen cabinets restores their look and saves you the time and expense of replacing the cabinets.

Refurbishing the old kitchen cabinets requires stain, paint and some labor. This task can be accomplished alone or with another person if you want to save time. Here are a few steps to assist you in undertaking this project.

Step 1: Remove the Cabinet Doors

Use a screwdriver to remove the cabinet doors and hardware from the front of the cabinet. Pull all drawers out and place the doors and drawers to the side for refinishing work. Use the vacuum to clean up any loose material or debris that is found around the cabinet frames. The working area should be as clean as possible.

Step 2: Inspect the Cabinet Frames

Inspect the hanging and installed cabinets to determine if there is any damage that needs to be repaired. Any dents or holes can be patched with wood putty. Damaged pieces should be replaced with new pieces of wood or removed if badly damaged. You should also check for any water damaged caused by plumbing and rotting of the wood due to age.

Step 3: Remove Paint and Stain from Cabinet

Use a hot air gun or a commercial paint stripper to remove any old paint or stain on the cabinets. You can also sand the cabinets to remove old stain. This step is necessary to prepare the cabinet to be re-stained or painted.

Wipe the cabinets completely to remove any excess debris or paint once you have completed this process. Use the same procedure for removing the paint or stain from the cabinet doors and drawer fronts. The hardware can be soaked with detergent if you choose to reuse them.

Step 4: Apply New Stain or Paint to the Cabinets

Stain the cabinets, doors and drawers using the wood stain that you select for the project. Rub the stain into the wood using a rag, applying light pressure and working with the grain of the wood. Allow the stain to dry before applying a second coat of stain. When the second coat dries, apply a polyurethane sealer to protect the wood further and seal the stain finish.

If you choose to paint the cabinets, use a natural bristle brush and apply the paint in even strokes. It is not necessary to apply a polyurethane sealer once the paint dries.

Step 5: Attach the Cabinet Doors

Reattach the cabinet doors and place the cabinet drawers back into position. You can attach the new hardware or cleaned hardware, which are the handles and pulls that were taken off the doors and drawers.