There are three ways you can restore your kitchen cabinets without the hassle or expense of buying and installing new kitchen cabinets. The options to consider are refinishing, replacing doors and drawer fronts and refacing the cabinets. Each has its advantages and drawbacks and requires varying degrees of skill.
Refinishing Kitchen Cabinet Doors
To refinish cabinets the first step is to remove the doors, drawers and hardware. This will make it easier to work. Next, remove the existing finish completely so the new paint will have a good surface to stick to. Use a liquid clear coat remover sold at the hardware store. This is much easier, faster and cleaner than sanding.
Use a good acrylic latex paint to resurface your cabinets. If covering stain or going lighter, you will need to use a primer. Otherwise, two coats of paint will work. Staining is much the same as painting. A wiping cloth is typically used instead of a brush, for better control. Use stain sparingly; you can always apply a second coat if you want the color darker.
Replacing Kitchen Cabinet Door and Drawer Fronts
Replacing the doors and drawer fronts is fairly simple and less expensive than a full refacing. Both local and online cabinet shops can be used to replace the doors and drawer fronts.
A local shop will do everything for you but you will pay more for the labor. An online cabinet shop will show you how and what to measure when ordering. For an added detail, order panelized end pieces or new "skins" for the exposed cabinet ends in your kitchen. Ordering new hinges that allow for adjustments is easier than reusing the old hinges.
Full Refacing of Kitchen Cabinets
Full refacing means you will re-cover every inch of the outside of your cabinets. Whereas the replacement method involves just the doors and drawers, this method includes the face frame also. The face frames are the stiles, rails and fillers connected to the front of the cabinet boxes.
If you do not want to keep the look of your old face frames, this is the preferred method. This is a little more costly and will require more experience or cabinetry skill. The online cabinet shops give instructions and make it easy to install, though, and this method can be fun and rewarding.
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