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Thinking about getting your cabinets refinished? You may wonder what the refinishing process is. Whether you are tackling the project as a DIY or having professionals handle it, the refinishing process is the same. However, you can expect the project to take longer if you are tackling it as a DIY. Professionals will come in with a crew and get the job done in a shorter period of time.

The first thing you need to do is clean out your cabinets. You want them completely empty to start the refinishing process. Plus, the refinishing is going to kick up quite a bit of dust. So, we highly recommend covering your dishes so that they do not get dusty.

Once your cabinets are empty, you want to take your cabinet doors off of their hinges. You might think of this as a waste of time, and it is possible to do the project with the doors in place. However, it is so much easier to handle the refinishing project with the doors removed. Plus, the outcome almost always looks better. So, remove the cabinet doors, pull out the drawers, and remove all of the hardware.

Next, you want to sand all of the surfaces. You can use a sanding block or a mechanical sander. How you sand the cabinets depends on what is on the surface. You may start with a coarser grit paper, but you want to finish with a fine-grit paper. Sanding helps create a smooth, uniform surface for your next step.

After sanding, you want to fill in any holes in your cabinets or doors. Usually, you will use the same holes to rehang your doors or replace your hardware. However, sometimes you will want to move hardware. Plus, your door holes may be loose from years of wear and tear on the hinges. In those cases, you want to repair the hole and start over. So, patch any holes that you need to fix. One woodworker’s secret is to use broken-off toothpicks to fill in a hole, along with wood filler. It gives screws something to grab onto if you are going to reuse that hole to hang hinges or hardware.

Then, you want to paint or stain your cabinets. Stain the cabinets if you want a wooden look for your cabinets. A stain brings out the natural beauty of the wood’s grain and can give you a glowing, beautiful finish. Paint is perfect for if you want color on your cabinets. Paint is also a good alternative if your cabinets are made of a cheaper wood and do not have a pretty grain pattern. You can use paint to create a different finish, changing the whole look of your kitchen. If you are painting, we suggest beginning with a primer. In a kitchen, you can choose latex or oil-based paints, but oil-based paints will take longer to dry, which can be important in a kitchen.

Next, you want to rehang your doors and replace your drawers. After they are hung, select the location for your new hardware, if you have some. Voila, you have like-new kitchen cabinets.

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