How To – Painting Or Refinishing Hardwood Cabinets

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    There comes a time in the life of any kitchen when upgrades or repairs are necessary. Just like the furniture in the rest of your home you may find that hardware or door faces don’t match your style or are in need of replacing but instead of throwing away thousands of dollars what is the best way you can make your kitchen function and look like new again?

    The original grade of cabinet will dictate what steps you must take and although many designers may suggest painting everything and replacing door pulls this is not always the best bang for your buck.

    If you are starting with particle board cabinets you should decide if you can replace with the same type  for a reasonable price. Replacing hardware or individual parts may not be worth it in the long run because lower grade wood doors and drawers will continue to give you problems over time.

    If you have a sturdy frame and a nice counter top you may be able to upgrade to oak or other hardwood materials for very little money.

    You should visit your local home store and bring a diagram of your cabinetry with measurements of door sizes and make note of the type of hinges you currently have and how they are mounted to the frames of your cabinetry.

    Drawer sliders can often be replaced easily to provide that soft soundless closing found in higher grade cabinets.

    In addition to your local cabinet shop you should find out if there are any sources for used materials in your area. You may find a nice set of hardwood doors or pulls that can be used in your project for 30% to 50% that of new.

    Paint or Stain

    As we started off saying the quality of the wood in your kitchen cabinets really is the dictator for how you should approach refinishing.

    Painting a cabinet made of hardwood is always a downgrade in cabinet quality. If you moved into a home that has dark cherry doors and you hate that they make your kitchen look so dark you should really count yourself as lucky because the cost of good cherry cabinets far exceeds any painted cabinet.

    You may want to replace some of the doors with doors that feature glass inserts.

    If you have extremely damaged doors from animals scratching them you may be able to find a set of matching doors or in this case you may want to paint the entire kitchen rather then upgrading.

    If you decide to re-stain your doors you may want to find a local cabinet shop that can do the work for you. If not then you should start by disassembling the cabinets and stripping the old stain off with a chemical stripper.

    Once your cabinets are stripped of the old finish you will need to decide what color of stain you will use. Often restained wood looks better if you go darker because old stain will be held in the grain of the wood making it difficult to reproduce or lighten colors.


    You should remember that there are different grades of cabinet doors and the difference between a vinyl clad, painted wood or hardwood cabinet can be thousands of dollars.

    If you make the wrong design changes you can lose value but if you take time to look at all of your options upgrades can cost much less then replacement.

    The YouRepair Store carries a full line of kitchen cabinets and refinishing materials. Items can be shipped to your home often free for orders over $25

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