How to Refinish Kitchen Cabinets – The 3 Step Easy Guide

How to Refinish Kitchen Cabinets – The 3 Step Easy Guide

The question of how to refinish kitchen cabinets cannot simply be answered in one short article but I will do my best to provide all the basic information that should get you started.

First you will have to remove the old finish and then prepare the surface by stripping and then sanding.

Stripping the kitchen cabinets

You can strip the old varnish off using with paint and varnish removal. Try Park’s furniture refinisher or anything else that suites you. You just rub the wood with the refinisher soaked steel wool until you are satisfied. Typically wipe until you get to the color you want then wipe it off. This process can be a bit messy. Some people choose to remove the doors and do them outside of the house.

This process can be quite slow and even though you can remove the paint and clear coat and even some of the varnish, sometimes it is hard to remove it all with the stripper. This is where sanding comes in.


You should then sand them down to bare wood. Just don’t start sanding until you are sure that all the paint is removed. You can use an orbital sander to remove the rest of the paint. You can get yourself a descent power sander at a nice price (around $70) at stores like Amazon. Don’t use a pad sander unless you are doing a final smoothing.


This is the last step on how to refinish kitchen cabinets. Once you get the cabinets to be satisfyingly light you can then refinish them. You have several options here. You can choose to re-finish the kitchen cabinets with a cherry stain and 2 coats of polyurethane or a coat of minwax. You can apply this with a foam brush.

You may need to do a light sanding in between the coats. You can sand with 400 grit and then when you have coated degloss the final coat with steel wool and a little wax. This of course applies if you choose to coat with gloss oil based poly.

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