Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing
Restore wood cabinets by stripping old paintby Karl Fendelander
Face Your Kitchen Columnist
Whether it's because owners or renters were lazy, or because it was a crazy fad like covering gorgeous hardwood flooring with hideous linoleum, the cabinets in older homes are often paint-caked eyesores. Rather than adding your own layer of paint or ripping out antiques to install new kitchen cabinetry, you can bring your cabinetry's old glory back with some tools and elbow grease.
Before you start stripping
Be sure to test your method on a small section (on the inside of a door if possible) to make sure the wood underneath is worth saving and restoring. In an old house, chances are pretty good that it will be -- and if it is, you'll have that much more motivation to go full-steam ahead.
When you set things up to start stripping, make sure you're prepared for lead paint. This is not a project that will allow you to use your kitchen during the process, partially because of the lead paint possibilities (definitely not a good topper for cereal in the morning).
Techniques for stripping old paint from cabinets
Once you've determined that it's going to be worth the effort and removed all of the doors, drawers and hardware, it's time to get down to business. Here are some popular options:
Sand paper, scrapers and patience are required for all of these methods. Do a little at a time, so you don't get in over your head -- and good luck!