Preparation for refinishing kitchen cupboards?

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Forum topic by dstenzel posted 04-05-2010 10:27 PM 1265 views 0 times favorited 3 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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5 posts in 2998 days

04-05-2010 10:27 PM

Topic tags/keywords: refinishing kitchen cabinets surface prep

We had a company out to give us a bid on recoating the cabinets and it was $3000! Ouch! They use a water-based poly and a microfiber applicator that looks like a kitchen sponge. I am planning on using a wipe-on poly or varnish, but need some advice on how to prep the doors for refinishing. What should I clean them with first? I have some gel-based stain to match the finish that I will use to touch up areas that need it. I just want to do a good job and have them look good and be durable.

Thanks for any suggestions,

3 replies so far

View interpim's profile


1170 posts in 3483 days

#1 posted 04-06-2010 04:43 AM

if you want to re-stain, i would recommend sanding down to the wood… be careful with the gel stain though, because a lot of beginners lay it on way to thick and let it streak. With it you have to lay it on fairly liberally then wipe it back off so there are no streaks.

After that dries (I would give it what it says on the can plus an hour or two) You can start with your poly coats. Wipe on poly goes on really well, and you should use old t-shirt material to apply. I usually use 3-4 coats sanding in between with 320 grit sandpaper to get rid of the bumps etc. On your final coat you can rub it down with some 0000 steel wool, and coat it with some Johnson’s paste wax. This will give it a satin sheen that I think looks nice. I used this method to finish my sideboard project

-- San Diego, CA

View wisno's profile


88 posts in 3036 days

#2 posted 04-06-2010 05:01 AM

Wipe with mineral spirit with rag to clean the surface.
After that you do your scuff sanding and you can apply stain and clear coating you want on it.
Make sure that your system is proper to the previous finish.

Good luck



View Dyidawg's profile


51 posts in 3037 days

#3 posted 04-06-2010 08:53 PM

We sanded ours down to the wood. cleaned them real well. Primed them. Painted them. distressed them and then glazed them. The whole process took 5 days for 20 doors. Total cost to us with new hardware…..less than $300

-- Wow, that was easy. Just follow the directions and use some common sense.

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