Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Know Your Kitchen Cabinet Finishes

by Amy Fanter
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

Could your kitchen use some sprucing up? Whether your kitchen cabinets could use a good "spring cleaning" or if you're looking to completely refinish them, it's important to not only test your cleaning products, but know exactly what kind of finishes are on your cabinets.

Here are some tips and tricks to help you care for your kitchen cabinets, no matter what kind of finishes are on your home's cabinetry.

Understanding Cabinet Finishes

Between the grease, moisture, food stains, dust and fingerprints, is it any wonder that your kitchen cabinets tend to get dirtier faster than other in-home cabinetry? If you want to keep your kitchen cabinets looking great, it's important to keep them clean. For most finishes, soap and water is the best choice. If however, grease is a problem, a multipurpose household cleaner can be effective and less time-consuming. Before you spray it on your cabinets though, be sure and test the cleaner in an inconspicuous spot to be sure it doesn't damage your kitchen cupboard's finishes.

Different Cabinet Finishes

If cleaning your kitchen cabinets isn't enough, you may consider refinishing them. Before beginning a refinishing job though, you'll want to confirm what kind of finishes you have, so that you do not damage or destroy your existing cabinets.  For example, if your kitchen cabinets have an oil-based paint finish, you will need to lightly sand and then prime the surface before applying a latex paint, while a polyurethane or varnish will require a paint or varnish remover as well as some sanding. If your cabinets have a penetrating oil finish, the wood is not strippable since the oil is in the wood, but if the wood is dry you can wax, clear-coat or paint it. If, however your cabinets have vinyl or Formica finishes, the best choice is to let a professional refinish your cabinetry for you. 

About the Author
AJ Fanter is a freelance writer based in Reno, Nevada.

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