How to Reface Kitchen Cabinets

Are you tired of looking at those outdated kitchen cabinets but know that remodeling is not even something you can begin to budget in right now? Have you thought about tackling the job yourself but lack the knowledge of how to reface kitchen cabinets? If so, then you’ve come to the right place! We’re going to explain to you step-by-step how to reface kitchen cabinets and in no time at all, you’ll be patting yourself on the back for a job well done.

Step 1: Remove all cabinet doors.

Be sure to mark them so you will know which door goes where when you put them back. Remove all hardware from doors. Remove all contents from inside cabinets. Cover all food areas, kitchen appliances, and counters.

Step 2: Remove current paint or stain from cabinets.

You may need to figure out exactly what type of finish is currently on your cabinets. There are a few tricks to help you figure out what you’re working with.

Apply a few drops of denatured alcohol. If you notice the finish dissolving right away, you’re working with shellac.

Testing a small area with a varnish stripper will tell you if it’s varnish or polyurethane you’re working with.
If it’s a wax finish, a small amount of turpentine will dissolve it.

If your cabinets are painted you’ll need to figure out if it is water or oil-based paint. You’re going to rub your cabinet quickly with a clean cloth and denatured alcohol. If the paint comes off its water based. You won’t be able to put oil based paint overtop of water-based paint so the entire cabinets will need to be stripped. You’ll also want to use a primer before repainting.

Step 3: Fill and smooth.

You can use wood filler to fill in and nicks your cabinets have gotten over time. If your cabinets have any designs grooved into them you can also fill them as well. Let the wood filler dry completely. Once dry, you’re ready to sand. Use a fine grit sandpaper to smooth out any excess wood filler or bumpy spots.

Step 4: Prime and paint.

A few experts say you can skip right over priming depending on the surface you’re painting on, but when painting over wood primer is the way to go. It protects the wood, as well as your new paint. Once your primer is on you’ll want to once again, take a break and let it dry. Then it’s time for some fresh paint. Be sure to apply the paint evenly and use a second coat if needed.

Step 5: Hardware.

If you’d like to reuse your hardware be sure to clean it thoroughly to remove any grease and grit build-up. A nice, inexpensive way to spruce up your kitchen is to buy new hardware. Choose something that fits your style. With your new hardware in place and everything dry, you can put your doors back on and start enjoying your new kitchen!

Now that you know how to reface kitchen cabinets you can have a whole new kitchen to enjoy in no time!