Painting Over Varathane Cabinets

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Varathane is a water-based finish for use on woods, paper, fabric and other materials. If it’s used as a finish on your cabinets, you’re lucky since it’s easier to prepare for painting than other finishes. Varathane doesn’t have to be removed from the wood in order to be painted over. You just have to rough up the Varathane surface to the point that paint will stick to it.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Drop cloth
  • Sponge
  • Grease-cutting dish soap
  • Steel wool or 200-grit sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Paintbrush
  • Rollers
  • Paint

Remove the cabinets' hinges with the screwdriver and unscrew all the hardware from the cabinets as well. Take all of your dishes out of the cabinets.

Set a drop cloth over the counter and floor to catch spills.

Wet a sponge and apply 1 teaspoon of grease-cutting cleaner to the surface of it to create suds. Wipe down the inside and outside of the cabinets with the suds. Rinse them well with a clean sponge and water. Allow the cabinets to dry.

Rub the steel wool or sandpaper over the Varathane cabinets, moving in the same direction as the wood's grain, to create a rough surface.

Apply the primer to the cabinets with the paintbrush. Coat the surface with the primer completely. Allow the primer to dry for at least 24 hours.

Paint the inside of the cabinets and drawers first with the roller and brush. Paint the outside of the drawers with a roller. Paint the backside and sides of the Varathane cabinets with the roller and brush. Let the paint dry. Paint the front of the cabinets with the roller.

Let the paint to dry for four hours for water-based paint and 24 hours for oil-based paint before you apply another coat, if needed. Allow the cabinets to dry again for at least 24 hours.

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