Process to Refinishing Cabinets

Refinished Cabinets

Refinishing Cabinets


Refinishing is a time-honored method of updating cabinetry.  With experience and the right equipment a trained professional can make your old cabinets look new again. In this article we will take a look at the basics of refinishing to determine if it is a good choice for your cabinets.


 The Realities of Refinishing


Refinishing an entire set of kitchen cabinets is a significant undertaking.  For best results a trained professional should undertake this project.  Whether you like the stained or painted look your cabinets can be refinished to reflect your personal style.

To determine whether the quality of your cabinets makes them worth refinishing you should check your cabinets over to make certain that the joinery is solid and in good condition.  Inspect the visible surfaces of the cabinets checking for  excessive wear.   Be sure that there are not numerous missing parts or repairs that need to be done.   Most cabinets are made of good materials and therefore are worth refinishing.

A word of caution:  not all painted cabinets hide beautiful hardwood cabinets waiting to be refinished.  Look for unpainted surfaces on the cabinets to determine the species of wood.  Consider stripping the paint off of a sample area to expose the wood underneath the paint.

If you are uncertain whether your cabinets are a good candidate for refinishing you can call Revive Cabinetry for a free consulation.

Refinishing Basics


Now we will discuss a broad overview of the refinishing process.  The quality of your refinishing job will depend in a large part on the preparation work to the doors and boxes.  This is a very important step and should be done by a trained professional to ensure the new finish adheres to the wood flawlessly.

Removing the Old Wood Finish


The first step in refinishing Cabinets will be removing the old finish.  Many times this is done by chemical stripping.  The type of finish that is currently on your cabinets will determine what kind of stripper is required.  For a more difficult job, such as removing industrial finishes or multiple layers of paint,  a more aggressive stripper may be required.

Preparing the Surface for Finishing


Before the freshly stripped wood can be refinished, there needs to be some prep work.  All the surfaces need to be cleaned with solvent or furniture cleaner depending on the stripper used. It will also be necessary to sand the raw wood surfaces to take care of any grain that was raised during the stripping process and to remove any small amounts of old finish left behind. This will ensure that the new finish has a smooth surface to start building from.

Finishing the Wood


The next step will be the application of the finish. There are many finish options to choose from.  To see some of the different types of finishes available please refer to our gallery page.   The most basic approach for cabinets is to stain the wood with a wood stain followed by a clear lacquer.  Multiple layers of lacquer will be necessary to achieve a high quality finish regardless of what style of finish you choose.  It is also necessary to sand lightly in between coats of lacquer to ensure the finish adheres well.  The process is the same  for the cabinet doors as well as the cabinet boxes however, the cabinet boxes are more complicated as they will remain in place throughout the refinishing process.