Sunday, June 2, 2013

Kitchen Cabinet Refurbish - 101

Okay, when I decided to paint the old kitchen cabinets white, I certainly didn't know what all I was in for. They are coming out looking pretty good and I am glad I got to train on these old beat up cabinets. I thought I would share some of the things I have learned so far.

The biggest issue was the cabinet doors had adjusted over time to the settling of the house -- the doors refused to hang correctly after we installed the new hinges.  This was a royal pain because I had already painted the doors. The paint job got pretty scuffed up with all the rough handling and sawing adjustments to get them to  hang properly.

Lesson 1 - From now on I will install all the hardware first. Then install the doors and make any necessary adjustments. When the doors are all hanging good -- take them down and paint them.

I am hoping this experience will help with the second set of cabinets - the ones under the sink and on the refrigerator side.

Lesson 2 - If you want a really smooth finish be prepared to earn it by sanding your butt off. I still have quite a bit of butt left so you can figure we didn't do much sanding.

Lesson 3 - It is much easier to hang doors if you have HELP. Doors are awkward to hold in place while trying to install them.  Having an extra pair of hands and eyes can save you a lot of grief.

Lesson 4 - Even on sale, cabinet hardware is expensive. This kitchen had 18 doors and 8 drawers -- That's a lot of knobs, pulls and hinges.

Lesson 5 - A rushed paint job is a bad paint job. Enough Said.

Lesson 6 - An 1/8th of an inch means something. It doesn't look like much, but if your measurement is off just this much it is enough to throw your cabinet doors out of whack, make that door pull look crooked or make it impossible to attach the pull. Precision is key to a good install.

Lesson 7 - Taking the time to make a jig or template for your hinges, knobs and pulls will payoff big time. Do Not Skip This Step unless you want to live with crooked pull/knobs or have to take the time to fill the hole/sand/prime/paint and re-drill. 

Lesson 8 - For a nice smooth finish use a Paint Conditioner, Foam Roller and sand in-between coats.

Lesson 9 - Take your time and expect to be without your cabinets for a week or two. Ours is going to take about four weeks. This is not a project you will be able to finish in one weekend.

Lesson 10 - DO NOT EXPECT PERFECTION. Our cabinets are going to look way better than they did before, but are far from perfect.

Bonus Lesson - It pays to scrub/clean before you paint even if you are going to sand them down.  Unless of course you plan on sanding them down to bare wood. I had some type of stain bleed through the primer on one of the doors even though I had sanded the shine off the finish.

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