The content and opinions expressed on this Web page do not reflect the views of
nor are they endorsed by the University of Georgia Staff Council,
the University of Georgia, or the University System of Georgia.

    Recommendations on Re-finishing Kitchen Cabinets:

  • Thanks to all who responded. I had several folks that wanted the results. Seems like you MUST lightly sand first and then use a primer and then paint. Sounds like a lot of work but most say worth it.
  • Sand and make sure you use primer - the wood just soaks up the paint...
  • I "Googled" it and here's what I found. Good luck! http://www.doityourself.com/stry/paintkitchencabinets
  • I did. Never again!! What a nightmare. And the paint chips off whenever a fingernail hits it. I think I would replace them or have it done professionally if I could do it over again.
  • We did it and it was a good bit of work - but worth it and saved loads by doing ourselves. My husband used a chemical to strip the cabinets. Then I got a beige 'oops' paint, and thinned it with water and color washed it and then we put some kind of glaze on top that has an iridescent sheen to it. Then we covered with a clear matt varnish. They are now very easy to keep clean. We may have spent $50 to do it but we felt like we got new cabinets.
  • Just in case somebody else doesn't tell you--if it is stained you have to first paint w/a stain-killer or it will bleed through the paint you put on in a few months or so. Sand it lightly, then paint w/ a oil-based paint, I think, since it is kitchen cabinets and any oil will break down the paint where you touch it, so have knobs to open them. Sand lightly in between coats. (Remove the doors if you can and the hinges.) My ex- was a house painter and never liked anything but oil-based; however, since then maybe they have developed something that is more durable than latex paint. You will have to wait until you can open your house to let out fumes.
  • ALWAYS sand first! You also might want to clean them well before you sand to get any oil or grease off of them. I've not done it, but hope to in the near future. Also, use a good quality primer before you paint.
  • I did it, and was extremely pleased with the result. I would advise lightly sanding before you put your primer on. Kilz (spelling) is the best primer for the job that you can pick up at any paint store, or Lowes. I would advise two coats of kilz prior to painting. Be sure and let it dry thoroughly between coats. Kilz comes in a "low odor" and regular. It's essential to get the low odor if you are going to be working in doors. The regular has a horrible odor and is terrible to breath in. The paint adheres well to the kilz. Be sure when you remove your cabinet doors to number them and put corresponding numbers in the place where you took them from. It's really important to do that. Also be aware that they will warp if you only paint the front side. Get them put back up as quickly as possible to prevent any warping. High Gloss is the way to go in the kitchen for easy cleaning. It only takes about a gallon of paint (depending on how many cabinets you have). I love the way mine turned out, but it was a huge job. I changed out the hardware on mine too. Believe it or not, the hardware cost me almost $200.00. It was well worth the effort, as they came out great.
  • We did this a few years ago and for us it was well worth it. It was a lot of work, but made a huge difference once we were through. We have a 50's something house with "stick" built cabinets....not the most beautiful, but solid. We sanded and primed before painting and almost 3 years later the finish is holding up well.
  • I'm planning to do it to my cabinets also. I plan to paint the boxes and get new doors. I will also paint the doors. I saw a This Old House Show about this subject. If you go to their web site you can find out what they did. It looked like they turned out nice. They painted inside and out. The wood in the boxes of mine are great, but I want to change the design of the doors. I painted my bathroom vanity white and it turned out nice. I used latex paint. In my other bathroom I refinished the vanity and used dark stain. It turned out pretty but it was a lot of work. Yes, I sanded both of them before doing the painting and staining.