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Resurfacing Kitchen Cabinets

This DIY Basic will provide tips on resurfacing kitchen cabinets.

More in Kitchen

Door Painted with Protective Topcoat

Watch an Overview Video

Gather Your Materials and Tools

Materials and Tools:

cabinet coating kit with deglosser, bond coat and protective top coat
scrub pads
stir sticks
pencil
measuring tape
(3) 2-inch angled or straight synthetic paintbrushes
smooth 2-inch painter's tape
drop cloths
disposable gloves
lint-free rags
disposable paint containers
screwdriver
wood filler
putty knife
plastic or cork bumpers
sketch paper and marker
plastic bags
sandpaper
dust mask
safety glasses

Take Measurements

Instead of replacing outdated kitchen cabinets, resurface them.

Apply coating when air temperature is 50- to 90-degrees F and humidity is below 60 percent.

Start by calculating square footage of cabinets.

Tip: Measure running length of top and bottom cabinets, including front and sides, and multiply by height; add totals and divide by 144 for number of square feet to cover. Online calculator can help compute correct figures.

Extinguish flames and pilot lights and turn off stoves and electric heaters; DO NOT SMOKE during installation, and wear dust mask and safety glasses.

Prepare Work Area

Cover countertops, backsplash, sink and appliances with plastic sheeting secured with painter's tape. Spread drop cloth on floor.

Prepare well-ventilated work area in garage or workshop, dirt and dust free, out of sun, and away from wind; do not use fan.

Cover work table with craft paper; cover floor and surrounding area with drop cloths.

Sketch and number cabinets and write number on bottom edge of each door with pencil.

Remove doors, drawers and hardware. Place hardware from each door in plastic bag with door number. Remove and discard door bumpers.

Clean the Cabinets

Carry doors, drawers and hardware to work area.

Fill nicks and gouges with wood putty, smooth, let dry and sand. Clean greasy areas of cabinet frames with soapy water and wipe clean.

Wearing gloves, fold scrub pad in half and apply deglosser liberally on scrub pad; scrub entire frame.

Tip: Follow grain pattern of wood; do not scrub in circular motion.

Wipe frames with damp cloth and dry with clean cloth. Repeat process with doors and drawers,

Let doors, drawers and frames dry for one hour.

Apply Bond Coat

Apply bond coat to outer cabinet frame, drawer fronts, front and back of each door.

Wipe frames, doors, drawers with dry, lint-free cloth.

Tape inside edges of cabinets frames with smooth painter's tape; press down edges so coating will not bleed through.

Thoroughly stir bond coat with stir stick and pour portion into clean, disposable container.

Using two-inch angled or straight brush, apply bond coat to cabinet frames. Use up-and-down brush strokes on stiles and frame sides, side-to-side strokes on rails.

Let dry 2 to 3 hours and apply second coat.

Elevate doors and drawers.

Using two-inch brush, apply bond coat to back of each door in following manner: If doors have inset panels, cover all four inside corners and sides, coat center panel with long, smooth, vertical strokes, coat top and bottom with long, horizontal strokes, cover outer sides in vertical motion; if doors are flat panels, use up-and-down, vertical strokes. Do not cover door numbers.

Remove excess bond coat in corners and crevasses with paintbrush.

Let dry for 2 to 3 hours, then apply second coat.

Apply bond coat to door fronts in same manner. Use side-to-side, horizontal strokes to apply bond coat to drawers.

Apply decorative glaze, if desired.

Mix and Apply Top Coat

Wearing gloves and safety glasses, thoroughly mix protective top coat and stir with stir stick.

Tip: To avoid fingerprints and smudges, keep children and pets out of room until finish dries.

Using two-inch angled or straight synthetic paintbrush, apply top coat to cabinet box and frame: use up-and-down strokes on sides and stile; use side-to-side strokes on horizontal rails.

Apply top coat to door backs. Only one coat of top coat is required.

Allow to dry two hours.

Apply top coat to fronts of doors and drawers.

Apply the top coat in the same manner as the bond coat. Using two-inch brush, apply top coat to back of each door in following manner: If doors have inset panels, cover all four inside corners and sides, coat center panel with long, smooth, vertical strokes, coat top and bottom with long, horizontal strokes, cover outer sides in vertical motion; if doors are flat panels, use up-and-down, vertical strokes.

When top coat is completely dry, touch up missed areas as needed. Let top coat dry for at least 12 hours before re-installing drawers, doors and new bumpers.

While top coat is drying, refresh old hardware with spray paint.

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