Cabinet Refacing
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Cabinet Refacing

Seven Steps to Cabinet Refacing with Paint

One of the best and least expensive ways to freshen up the look of your kitchen is cabinet refacing. If your cabinets are structurally sound and the storage space is adequate, there is no point in going to the expense and hassle of installing new cabinets. There are a number of ways to reface cabinets. You can paint them, stain them, apply laminate or wood veneer, or add molding for ornamentation. If you have decided that painting kitchen cabinets is the way to go for a fresh look with bright colors, here are the steps you should take.

1. If your cabinets have been in place for a few years, there will be a buildup of grease and food residue. Empty their contents and clean them thoroughly with a good household cleaner. It will be easier to remove the cabinet doors for this and subsequent steps. Label the doors to make sure they go back to the right place.

2. Remove old hardware--hinges, pulls, knobs. If you intend to re-use them, clean them thoroughly and set them aside. If you will be using new hardware, discard the old.

3. Strip off the old finish. If it is shellac or water-based paint, use denatured alcohol. For wax, use turpentine. Polyurethane, varnish, or oil-based paint requires a paint or varnish stripper. If possible, use a semi-paste or gel stripper. Use a drop cloth or tarp to protect countertops, floors, and appliances during this operation.

4. Prepare the surfaces for painting. Patch holes, scratches, and nicks with wood filler and allow it to dry. If you are using new cabinet hinges, fill in the screw holes from the old hinges, because the new ones won't match up. When the filler is dry, sand it lightly. Wipe off all surfaces with a tack cloth and apply a coat of primer.

5. Choose your paint and apply to the cabinets. Use a low volatile organic compound (low-VOC) or VOC-free paint latex paint to reduce side effects from chemical solvents. You should apply several coats to get a nice glossy finish.

6. If you wish, you can add molding in a contrasting color to set off your cabinets. You can purchase pre-finished molding or finish it yourself.

7. Re-install the doors and hardware. If you purchase new hardware, select a style and color that will complement your new cabinets and the rest of the kitchen. If your kitchen drawers are sticky and don't slide well, you will also want to install new slider hardware for them.

Now you can take all of your dishes, glassware, and food items out of their boxes and put them back in your refaced cabinets. Then calculate the time and money you have saved by refacing rather than replacing your cabinets, and enjoy the fresh new look of your kitchen.