How To: Refinish Kitchen Cabinets

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How To: Refinish Kitchen Cabinets

Refinishing kitchen cabinets is a very rewarding project. With a little effort in preparing the job and the use of California Aqua Borne Ceramic Finishes, kitchen cabinets can be made to look like new.

  • Cover up counter tops and mask any areas that might be damaged by cleaning and painting.
  • Clean the cabinets thoroughly with a good household cleaner such as Fantastik or 409. Rinse off the cleaner with water. It is very important to remove all traces of oil, dirt and grease. Paint will not stick to oily surfaces. Kitchen cabinets typically build up oils and grease over the years, so it is really important to make sure all oil and grease is removed. Pay particular attention to the area around handles. It may be necessary to use a product made specifically to remove grease.
  • If the old finish is glossy, it must be sanded to remove the gloss. Use sandpaper, not steel wool. Steel wool will leave small steel fibers that may rust from the water in the finish causing brown rust spots. It is usually a good idea to sand to make the surface smooth and dull. After sanding remove the sanding dust with a rag moistened with water or use a vacuum. So not use tack rags as they may cause poor adhesion of the finish coat.
  • It is not absolutely essential to use a primer since in most cases the California Aqua Borne Ceramic Finishes will adhere well to the cabinets without a primer*. However, if the cabinet is not perfectly smooth, it may be desirable to use the 320-00 Aqua Borne Acrylic Primer/Undercoater to fill in small cracks and surface imperfections. This primer can be sanded to achieve a very smooth surface. Either with or without a primer, it is suggested that a small area be coated first and the adhesion checked after the trial area is thoroughly dry before coating the entire job.
  • Apply a coat of California Aqua Borne Ceramic Satin or Gloss finish with a brush, roller or spray equipment. Do not reduce the finish for brush or roller application. Two coats will give maximum protection. Reduce with water as needed for spray applications. Allow to dry overnight before using cabinets.
  • Clean up equipment with soap and water.
  • Step back and admire your gleaming new cainets!
  • Note: Some very old kitchen cabinets may have been coated with shellac. Aqua Borne Ceramic finishes will partially dissolve shellac-causing cracking of the film. If cabinets to be refinsished are coated with shellac, first prime the cabinets with Acryplex #4 Oil Stain Sealer. You can test to see if the cabinets have been shellacked by rubbing the cabinet with alcohol. Alcohol will dissolve shellac.