We Know: How Cabinet Resurfacing Works

Why would you resurface cabinets?

If your cabinets are in good structural shape, then it makes sense to simply resurface or refinish them. The cost of resurfacing can be less than half of what you might spend purchasing new cabinets.

What are the steps for resurfacing or refinishing cabinets?

The process is easy when you follow these simple steps:

  1. Empty the cabinets. The chemicals you will be using are toxic, and you do not want your dishes exposed to them.
  2. Remove drawer pulls and knobs. You may also wish to remove the door panels. Hinges can be removed or taped over. If you were thinking about replacing any of the hardware, now is a good time. If you have to drill holes for the new hardware, do that now, and fill in old holes with wood putty.
  3. Prepare your working area with drop cloths on the countertop and floor, as well as any other nearby exposed surface.
  4. Protect yourself with a fume-approved respirator. Wear goggles, gloves, and a long sleeved shirt to protect your arms. Any exposure to the chemicals or fumes can be harmful. Keep pets and children away from your work area.
  5. Before applying a new surface to the cabinets, you will need to remove the old one. Paint can be removed with either a paint stripping heat gun or a chemical stripper. Chemical strippers can be used for removing paint, shellac, wax, or polyurethane finishes. Follow the stripper's manufacturer's directions for proper use. Depending on the cabinet's surface and condition, sanding or scraping may be necessary.
  6. Clean surface thoroughly with a soft brush or slightly moist rag. Take care to not wet the wood.
  7. If painting the new surface, you will most likely want to prime it first. Two coats may be necessary. After applying the primer, lightly sand with fine grit sandpaper, then wipe surface clean. Apply paint. Again, two coats may be necessary.
  8. If staining the new surface, apply the stain according to the manufacturer's directions. Avoid applying too much stain at once and wipe off any extra before it dries. To protect the stained finish, apply polyurethane after the stain has dried.
  9. If simply applying a polyurethane finish directly to the cabinets, follow the product's directions.
  10. Artificial veneers are also available as an alternative surface finish for your cabinets. They are available in a variety of styles, including faux wood grain.
  11. Safely dispose of empty containers, floor coverings, etc. Make certain that pets and children will not have access to them.


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