What Is Cabinet Refinishing And How To Do It


Cabinet refinishing is a method that allows you to get that brand-new feel to your cabinets at a fraction of the cost of replacing them altogether. In addition, this method is a good way of enhancing and maintaining the overall appearance of your kitchen cabinet. 

While this technique is familiar to most homeowners, some may still have no idea how to do it. 

How Cabinet Refinishing workscabinet-refinishing

When doing cabinet refinishing, you are restoring the original finish of the cabinets and repairing any damage, with the option of repainting it to give it a whole new look. This process can help your cabinets transform back to their original beauty and even make them last longer than expected. 

Refinishing the cabinets also means fixing sagging doors and replacing broken or outdated knobs and hinges to ensure longevity to every panel.

One advantage of cabinet refinishing is that it is more budget-friendly than replacement. You don’t have to replace the whole cabinet; instead, you can repaint the panels or add a new coat, and you have its new look. 

Refacing VS Refinishing

Cabinet refacing is the process of replacing the cabinet skins with something more dramatic and drastic for a new kitchen look. Homeowners also opt for cabinet refacing when the existing cabinets are scratched or cracked. 

While refacing is a great cabinet restoration, refinishing might be a better option if you want to do less work and spend less money. The latter provides the same impact, design-wise output with the former. 

Additionally, refinishing the cabinets can make a dramatic statement in a kitchen because the entire unit will be redesigned with a new color.

The right paint for your cabinet

When refinishing your kitchen cabinets, the best paint to use is one with a glossy or semi-gloss finish.

Paints with glossy finishes are more durable and easier to clean than flat or eggshell paint. However, considering that the kitchen cabinets are in an area with high traffic, you will need something more durable and can withstand dirt and stains. 

Some Tips for A DIY Cabinet Refinishing

If you want to go DIY on cabinet refinishing, the good news is that you can! Here are some tips to get that professionally-made results. 



  1. First, ensure that the cabinets are free from dirt or grease before starting the refinishing process; this will help the new paint to stick. 
  2. Scrub hard and wipe with a degreasing solution or dish soap. Remember to wear protective gear like gloves, goggles, and masks. 
  3. After applying, wait for the wood to dry completely. 
  4. Label the cabinet doors, so you don’t return them in the wrong place. 
  5. While you’re sanding or painting, make sure that you don’t cover the labels as well. This will help you identify the panel pairing.


Cabinet refinishing Procedure

  1. Use a more aggressive paint stripper to remove the old stain and finish. 
  2. After you strip the old finish of the cabinet, fix any cracks, holes, or scratches in the wood with a filler. 
  3. Sand lightly once the patches dry, and then sand the rest of the panels.
  4. Begin painting the cabinets with the color of your choice.
  5. Use two coats of gloss paint on your cabinets for a better finish. 
  6. After the first coat dries, sand it lightly and wipe off the dust before applying the second coat. 
  7. Wait for the paint to dry before installing the cabinets back in the kitchen. 


Additional Tips

Cabinet refinishing will take a lot of time and effort to pull off. So, it would be better if you set up a workspace to work on the cabinets. If the units are built-in, set up a temporary kitchen while you are still doing refinishing. 

Never rush in the process. Take time while applying the new coat of paint or varnish. Always let it dry first before continuing. 

When applying coats, sand lightly and wipe down for a cleaner and smoother finish; this is also important when varnishing.


Cabinet refinishing is a cost-efficient way to modernize your kitchen and upgrade old hardware. But it’s not always easy to know exactly where to begin. Fortunately, you don’t have to wing every DIY project at home. With painting, you can trust the professionals to help you out! 

You don’t have to go through the headache of choosing the right paint and applying the proper painting stroke. You just have to let them know your desired output, and they’ll take care of it. 

For four decades, the team behind El Gato Painting has provided affordable professional painting and restoration services in the San Francisco Bay area and beyond. They follow a 25-step procedure that allows them to check everything and plan. 

So if you’re looking for the right remodeling or repainting service provider, then El Gato Painting is the one to call. 

Contact El Gato Painting today! 

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