Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Cabinet Restoration Can Save Face -- and Dollars

by Gabby Hyman
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

How much are you willing to spend for new kitchen cabinets? According to a survey by Better Homes and Gardens, Americans spend 40 percent of their total kitchen remodeling funds in replacing their cabinets. Ouch! If that seems just a bit too high, you might consider alternatives, including re-painting, refinishing or restoring your existing kitchen cabinets. If your cabinet hardware is in sound working order and the doors just look the worse for wear, a great place to begin is refinishing. Contrary to opinion, prepping and refinishing existing cabinets is not like putting lipstick on a pig. You're not hiding problems, you're rectifying them.

Kitchen Cabinet Restoration and Finishes

If you know who installed the original cabinets or a reliable kitchen expert at a home improvement store, ask for help in avoiding common mistakes. For example, it's a popular misconception that kitchen cabinets should be treated with sealant before applying new stain. Trouble is, the sealant closes the pores and fresh paint has no way of penetrating the wood. Try sealant afterward!

After stripping old wood, try applying an oil-based test stain in a safe corner hidden from view. Oil dries slower than modern latex stains, but oil has a warmer quality and is easier to use in coats to get the finish you're after.

Some people prefer to use decorative painting techniques in restoring kitchen cabinets. You should apply primer after cleaning, sanding, and prepping the wood. Then add decorative paint. The procedure is not all that different from the stippling or sponging technique used on wall surfaces.

An oil and wax sealant is perfect for completing the job when you're done painting. It's amazing what you can do to transform your kitchen cabinets without springing for a complete remodeling project.


About the Author
Gabby Hyman has written for print and online media for more than 20 years. He has created online content for eToys, GoTo.com, Siebel Systems, Avaya, and Nissan UK. He has also been a web consultant to the Governor of California. As an author of fiction, journalism, and poetry, Gabby is a former English professor for the University of Illinois, University of Alaska, and Old Dominion University. He holds an MFA in fiction writing from the University of Alabama.

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