How to Refurbish Your Cabinets

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Are you tired of your kitchen’s old wooden cabinets? Try your hand at refurbishing them yourself! It’s as easy as removing cabinet doors, removing stains and repainting. This is one DIY project that you can tackle yourself. Just like staining wooden floors, refurbishing cabinets only sounds harder than it is!

What you’ll need:

  • Screwdriver
  • Paint stripper
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood putty and wood putty knife
  • Wood conditioner 
  • Wood stain or suitable paint
  • Primer (if you are painting)
  • Vacuum
  • Cleaning materials
  • Towel/cloth

Step 1: Remove old cabinet doors

Using your screwdriver, remove the cabinet doors and associated hardware from the hinges. If your cabinet also has drawers, remove them as well and place with the doors for refurbishing. Remove any handles from your doors and drawers. Use your vacuum to suck up any debris and give the inside of the cabinet a thorough clean. Be sure to wipe off any smudges and dirt from your cabinet doors and drawers.

Step 2: Repair and update

If your cabinets have any major damage, like deep gashes, holes or dents, use the wood putty to fill them in. If you can, use putty that is the same colour you plan to paint or stain to avoid obvious repair marks. If the cabinets hold smaller items, like spice bottles, install a lazy-susan or segmented drawers to make organising easier. There’s no use in updating the outside if the inside is still a mess!

Step 3: Strip paint or stain

If your cabinet is painted, use a paint stripper to remove the old paint from the cabinet shell, doors and drawers and then gently sandpaper to roughen enough for the primer to stick.  If you don’t have a paint stripper, or if your cabinet is stained, then sand off the old paint or stain using sandpaper or a professional grade sander. Both options will work. Once the paint and stain has been removed, use a damp towel or cloth to wipe away any debris or loose pieces left by the removal process.

Step 4: Repaint, re-stain and let dry

If you are choosing to stain your cabinets, apply the stain by rubbing it into the wood using an old rag or sponge. To give the cabinets the most natural look, apply the stain in even strokes going with the grain of the wood. Allow the first coat of stain to dry completely before you apply a second coat. Once your second coat of stain has been applied and has dried, you’ll need to apply a coat of polyurethane, which will help protect from fading or water damage. Repeat the same process with the doors and drawers.

*Pro Tip

If you plan to paint, apply a solid coat of primer before you apply your coloured paint. Use a soft bristle brush and paint in even, parallel brush strokes to avoid a sloppy look. Let your paint dry before you apply a second coat.

Step 5: Update cabinet hardware

Be sure your cabinet doors are completely dry before you replace the handles. Nothing adds some character to cabinets quite like cute handles and ornaments! To keep your kitchen’s feng shui in check, choose handles that go with the rest of your theme, whether that be sleek and modern or vintage and old-fashioned. You can also buy assorted cabinet to “mix and match” for a unique, eclectic look.

Step 6: Reattach doors

Using the screwdriver and set of screws you saved from when you removed the doors; simply reattach the doors. Remember to reattach inside drawers first so you don’t scratch any of the paint or stain on the newly refurbished doors.

And there you have it!

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