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Kitchen Remodeling: Everything you need to know about refinishing kitchen cabinets

Updated: 4 days ago

Refinishing kitchen cabinets is an excellent way to transform the look and feel of your kitchen without having to take out a second mortgage on a full remodel.

Whether you're looking to update an outdated style, revitalize worn-out cabinets, or create a whole new aesthetic, cabinet refinishing offers a more cost-effective solution.

Though cabinet refinishing isn't necessarily a cheap process, it will likely be less expensive than purchasing and installing all new cabinets.

In this article, we will explore the process of refinishing kitchen cabinets and outline the various costs associated with the project so that you know what to expect.

Cabinet Refinishing Process


Remove cabinet doors and hardware: Take off all the doors, drawers, and hardware, such as knobs and hinges.

Protection: Set up protection barriers to prevent dust and paint from getting places they should not be.

Clean and degrease: Thoroughly clean the cabinet surfaces to remove grease, grime, and any existing finish. This is an important step to ensure the surface is prepared and ready to hold new paint or stain.

Sanding: Use sandpaper to smooth the surfaces and remove the old stain or paint. This step promotes adhesion for the new finish, so it's important to get inside all of the nooks and crannies of the door and drawer faces.

Without sanding thoroughly, paint and stain may not adhere to the surface as well, or if the cabinet was stained wood with a grainy surface, these imperfections could prevent a smooth finished surface.

Repairs and Touch-ups:

Fill cracks and holes: Repair any cracks, dents, or holes with wood filler and sand them smooth.

Replace damaged parts: If necessary, replace broken cabinet components.

Priming (if painting):

Apply primer: If painting cabinets, coat them with a suitable primer to enhance adhesion that provides a smooth surface for the final finish and helps cover dark spots and imperfections before applying paint.

Painting or Staining:

Painting: Use a brush, roller, or spray gun to apply a coat or two of paint, depending on the desired coverage and color. Choose a high-quality paint that is durable, lays down smoothly, and is suitable for kitchen cabinets.

Staining: If you prefer a natural wood look, apply stain using a brush or cloth. Follow with a protective topcoat for durability. However, not all cabinets are suitable for stain, depending on the type and quality of wood.


Once the finish has dried, reattach the cabinet doors, drawers, and hardware. Ensure proper alignment and functionality.

Costs Associated with Refinishing Kitchen Cabinets:

The cost of refinishing kitchen cabinets can vary depending on several factors, including:

Size and Scope:

Larger kitchens with more cabinets will require more time and materials, impacting the overall cost. Price will largely be dependent on the number of doors and drawers.

Additional factors that will impact the cost are things like finishing inside the cabinets, built-in pantries, or other custom elements.

Material and Finish:

The type of wood or material used for the cabinets affects the cost. High-end woods may require specialized techniques and products, increasing the overall price.

Different finishes, such as paint or stain, have varying costs as each requires a different level of preparation. Specialty finishes or faux finishes may also come at an additional expense.

Professional Services vs. DIY:

Hiring professionals for the refinishing project will incur labor costs but ensures a high-quality result.

DIY projects can save money but require time, skills, and access to necessary tools and materials.

Additional Upgrades:

If you plan to replace or move cabinet hardware, install new hinges, or add decorative elements, these upgrades will contribute to the overall cost as well.

Refinishing kitchen cabinets can be a more cost-effective way to revitalize your kitchen's appearance.

So, if you're considering making any updates to your kitchen, refinishing your cabinets is a great place to start.

Just make sure you plan accordingly and understand everything that goes into the process before getting started.



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