Call Us Today

cabinet refinishing

Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refinishing Like a Pro

Looking back at the family photos last year, don’t you think its time to redo the kitchen? 

We wouldn’t recommend something big on a budget, but good old cabinet refinishing would bring a drastic change to your kitchen. 

Cabinet refinishing is easier, faster, and less hassle. But before you hop on the DIY bandwagon, check whether the wood panels of the cabinet are in good shape. 

In case you don’t know how to check, call the expert, who can tell you from one swift look if the cabinets require refinishing or a complete do-over. 

If you can get away with the simple refinishing kitchen cabinets, it is a straightforward DIY makeover.

Now grab the pen and paper because there is a lot to know about the process of cabinet refinishing, a lot to buy, and loads to learn.  

Preparations for Cabinet Refinishing

cabinet refinishing

Understanding Cabinet Refinishing

Cabinet refinishing goes beyond a mere aesthetic upgrade. It involves the detailed process of breathing new life into your existing cabinets. It can encompass staining, painting, or a combination of both techniques.

Cabinet refinishing enhances the visual appeal of the kitchen. It is a sustainable choice compared to a complete do-over. 

Assessing the Condition of Cabinets

Before diving into the cabinet refinishing process, thoroughly assess the condition of your cabinets. 

Check for any structural issues, such as loose hinges or damaged wood. Addressing these concerns beforehand ensures a solid foundation for the refinishing project.

Planning the Project

  • Set a Realistic Timeline: Understand that cabinet refinishing is a multi-step process. It will be consuming your time. Plan your project over a weekend or when you have consecutive days available to allow for drying times between coats.
  • Gather Necessary Tools and Materials: Make a list of tools and materials you’ll need for the project. This may include sandpaper, wood filler, painter’s tape, brushes or sprayers, and the chosen finish (paint or stain).

Labeling and Organizing

  • Label Cabinet Doors and Hardware: Use a labeling system to mark each cabinet door and its corresponding hardware. This step will streamline the reassembly process.
  • Organize Hardware: Place screws, knobs, and other hardware in labeled plastic bags. It will prevent them from getting lost or mixed up during the project.

Cleaning and Degreasing

  • Remove Grease and Grime: Thoroughly clean cabinet surfaces with a gentle cleaner. Make sure to remove accumulated grease and grime. This step ensures that the paint adheres to the new surface perfectly.
  • Consider TSP (Trisodium Phosphate): In some cases, a mixture of TSP can be used to degrease cabinets effectively. Follow the instructions given on the product for proper dilution in water.


  • Create a Smooth Surface: Use fine-grit sandpaper (120-220 grit) to sand the cabinet surfaces. This step removes existing finishes and evens out imperfections. It creates a smooth surface for the new paint to adhere to and result in a smooth surface.
  • Focus on Detail Areas: Pay special attention to corners, edges, and any decorative elements. A sanding sponge can be useful for reaching tight spots.

Filling and Repairing

  • Inspect for Imperfections: Look for dents, scratches, or other imperfections. Fill these areas with a high-quality wood filler. Sand again after it dries to create a seamless surface.
  • Address Visible Gaps: If there are gaps between cabinet components, use wood filler to fill them for a cohesive appearance.

Selecting the Right Finish

  • Consider Your Style: Choose between paint and stain based on your preferences. Also, consider the style you want to achieve and prefer. Stains enhance the natural beauty of wood. While paint offers a broader color palette.
  • Test Samples: Before committing to a finish, test samples on a small, inconspicuous area. Be weary that the colors you choose complement your kitchen’s overall aesthetic.

Acquiring the Necessary Protective Gear

Invest in safety equipment such as gloves, safety glasses, and a mask. This protection is especially crucial when using solvents, stains, or paints.


during cabinet refinishing, proper ventilation is essential while painting, staining, and other finishing. While painting work in a well-ventilated area. Use fans to promote air circulation and open windows so the fumes do not accumulate during the paint job. 

Let’s Start with Cabinet Refinishing

cabinet refinishing

Now that you have taken all the pre-painting measures, let’s move on to the painting or staining process.

Step 1- Prime the Cabinets

Materials Needed: High-quality primer, paintbrush or paint sprayer, and painter’s tape.

  • Apply a thin and even coat of primer to all cabinet surfaces. 
  • Use a brush for detailed areas and a paint sprayer for larger surfaces. 
  • Allow the primer to dry, or else it will mix with the paint and form a tacky surface.

Step 2- Sand the Primed Surfaces

Materials Needed: Fine-grit sandpaper (220-320), tack cloth, or a damp, lint-free cloth.

  • Lightly sand the primed surfaces to achieve a smooth finish. 
  • Focus on any rough areas or imperfections. 
  • Wipe all the sanding dust with a tack cloth or a damp cloth.

Step 3- Apply the First Coat

Materials Needed: High-quality paint, paintbrush, or paint sprayer.

  • Stir the paint thoroughly before use. 
  • Apply the first coat with a brush or a paint sprayer. 
  • Follow the wood grain for a smoother finish. 
  • Let the first coat dry completely, and then apply the second coat.

Step 4- Sand Between Coats (if necessary)

Materials Needed: Fine-grit sandpaper (220-320), tack cloth, or a damp, lint-free cloth.

  • If desired, lightly sand between coats for an even smoother finish. 
  • Wipe away sanding dust using tack cloth or a damp cloth.

Step 5- Apply Additional Coats (if necessary)

  • Depending on the type of paint and the desired finish, apply additional coats as needed. 
  • Allow each coat layer to dry completely before applying the next layer.

Step 6- Allow the Final Coat to Dry

Once you are satisfied with the coverage and finish, give the final coat time to dry completely.

Step 7- Seal and Protect

Materials Needed: Clear protective finish or polyurethane, paintbrush, or paint sprayer.

Apply a clear protective finish or polyurethane to seal and protect the painted surface. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying times and application.

Step 8- Reassemble Cabinets

  • After the cabinets are completely dry, reattach the labeled doors and hardware. 
  • Take your time to ensure proper alignment and proper fixing. 
  • Make any necessary adjustments, such as tightening loose hinges or handles.

Step 9- Final Touches and Clean-Up

  • Wipe down the entire cabinet surface with a mild cleaner and a soft cloth. 
  • To remove any residual dust or marks. 
  • Dispose of used materials, such as brushes, rags, and containers, according to local regulations. 

Protecting Your Refinished Cabinets

cabinet refinishing

Proper maintenance is essential to keep your painted kitchen cabinets looking beautiful for years to come. Here are some tips to help you care for your refinished cabinets

Regular Cleaning

  • Wipe down your cabinets with a soft and damp cloth regularly. 
  • Use a mild, non-abrasive cleaner to maintain their shine. This way, the dust and spills don’t accumulate.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

  • Stay away from abrasive or harsh chemical cleaners, as they can damage the paint finish.

Touch-Up as Needed

  • Due to constant use, your cabinets may experience wear and tear. 
  • Keep some extra paint on hand for touch-ups, and fix any small blemishes promptly.

Gentle Handling

  • Be careful with heavy or sharp objects, as they can dent or scratch the paint.

Protect Against Heat and Moisture

  • Use trivets and coasters to protect cabinets from hot pots and wet glasses. 
  • Adequate ventilation is crucial to prevent moisture damage.

Enjoy Your Hard Work

Refinishing cabinets is a rewarding and budget-friendly way to breathe new life into your kitchen. By following these step-by-step directions, you can achieve a magnificent transformation.

With a little planning, preparation, and patience, you’ll have beautifully refinished cabinets. These fresh cabinets will revitalize your kitchen and leave you proud of your DIY accomplishment.

No Drip Painting provides professional painting services in Grove City, Ohio. No Drip Painting gives clients satisfaction and the importance they need, along with a 5-year warranty for their services. 

They will guide you to help you choose the best colors to match your aesthetic, from single-room interior projects to commercial works. Each job will be completed to your exact specifications.

No Drip Painting never compromises on services and gives your kitchen cabinets a factory finish. They use a  combination of high-end products, processes, and extensive training. 

You won’t find any better cabinet painting or refinishing in Columbus, OH, other than No Drip Painting.

So, roll up your sleeves and get ready to enjoy the process of refinishing your kitchen cabinets. DIY or just contact No Drip Painting to do the needful and transform your kitchen in the blink of an eye!

Scroll to Top