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3 Easy Tricks to Spruce Up Your Old Kitchen Cabinets

#1: Make Your Old Cabinets Look New

old cabinet

There are a lot of unique types of cabinets. Everybody has kitchen cabinets, some folks have built-in cabinets, there are medicine cabinets, toy cabinets, garage cabinets, curio cabinets and bathroom cabinets. No matter where the cabinets are positioned, however, they all provide one function – to store items.

Sometimes we store items in a cabinet for an extended period of time and they seldom get opened like a curio cabinet. Other kinds of cabinets are more functional and receive a lot of use on a daily basis like the kitchen, garage or bathroom cabinet. No matter how a cabinet is getting used or what it is getting for, after a while they start to need some work to look new again. The most popular cabinet is the favorite kitchen cabinet so let’s start with a few ways to give those old kitchen cabinets a new life.

A more pricey way to spruce up old kitchen cabinets is to get rid of them completely and buy and install new ones. There are many diverse degrees of quality when it comes to cabinets. The wood that they are, or are not, made out of will be a huge factor in the price of your cabinets. Cherry is going to be a lot more costly than veneer material. Also, the design of your cabinets will be a determining element in how much they will cost as well. The fancier the design on the door of the cabinet, the greater the cost. Another factor that will determine the cost of installing new cabinets is the number of cabinets you need or the amount of space you want to fill with cabinets.

If you like the concept of new cabinets without ripping your kitchen apart or the cost that comes along with that work, you can usually have your cabinets refaced. Refacing involves changing out the current drawer and door fronts only. The base of your cabinets stays unchanged and nothing is removed from your kitchen except the old drawer fronts and doors. The greatest advantage to having your cabinets refaced as opposed to replaced is that they will be completed in about 3 days, the cost is significantly lower and you will still feel as though you got a new, updated kitchen.

There are some things that you can do nevertheless, to brighten up older cabinets before you choose to take out a small loan and install new ones. First, try changing out the hardware or knobs on your cabinets. Even though higher quality knobs will cost you a little more, you will be surprised at what new knobs and drawer pulls will do to your out of date cabinets.

If knobs and pulls are not sufficient for you, you can also paint your wooden cabinets. There is no need to sand them down entirely before you apply paint. You do need to sand them enough to make them slightly rough so the paint will adhere well to the surface. Also, always use a primer first that is made to increase the adhesion of paint. When choosing a paint, be sure that no matter what color you select, you pick out a hi-gloss finish or enamel. Enamels or hi-gloss finishes are much easier to clean and really shine well. By utilizing an enamel or high gloss paint there is no need to use polyurethane as a sealant.

Whichever direction you choose to take on updating your cabinets in any room, know that you have options and choices and that starting over is not the only one.

#2: Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets

paint kitchen cabinet

Kitchen cabinets are one of the most expensive objects for remodeling. Just the cabinetry will cost more than replacing all the kitchen furniture in many cases. If you can afford the price tag, there are a wide variety of designs and styles available to upgrade your cabinets. You can add extras like a kitchen island, lazy susan, or built-in appliance centers.

If replacing the cabinetry is too expensive for your budget, refacing is a less costly option. As discussed above, refacing involves replacing only the cabinet doors and exposed wood areas of the cabinets. The insides are left untouched to save money. Painting is the least costly alternative and can give your kitchen a completely new look. The job can be easily done over a long weekend with the right preparation.

You will need to decide if you will paint the whole cabinet, inside and out, or just the outside and the doors. To conserve time, consider leaving the inside of the cabinet alone, you won’t be able to tell the difference.

Preparing Your Cabinets

Begin by removing all hardware from the cabinets and remove the doors. Mark the doors, so you don’t forget which door goes on which cabinet. This will save you time and prevent frustration later. Protect the counter-tops and floor with drop cloths, old bed sheets or plastic sheeting. These can be taped in place, in particular on the floors. If you will be replacing the flooring, paint the cabinets first.

Clean the cabinets thoroughly before painting. This is important. Grease and oils from cooking will prevent the paint from adhering properly. You could end up with an uneven color. A wood cleaner with orange oil works well for breaking down grease residue. Be sure to let the surface dry thoroughly before you begin to apply the primer.

Primer is an important step in the process. It provides a smooth, even surface for the paint to adhere properly. Use a roller for larger areas and a brush for small areas. Be sure to coat all areas, including the underside of the cabinets. Consider using sawhorses for priming and painting the doors, for an easier time and a more even coverage.

Allow the primer to dry thoroughly before you begin to paint. Overnight is generally sufficient for the primer to dry. Apply the paint in thin coats. It’s better to apply a few thin coats than to use one thick coat. Allow twenty-four hours between coats for the paint to dry completely. Sand with a fine grit sandpaper between coats.

When the paint has dried completely, you are ready to put the doors back on and replace the hardware. Consider updating the hardware to match your new look. Door handles and hinges are inexpensive and can make a big difference in the look of the room.

Choosing the Paint

Don’t skimp on the paint. Use high-quality paint that is right for the surface being covered. This will be different for wood or metal cabinets. If you’re not sure, ask for help at the paint store.

In general, you will want to use enamel paint. You have a few choices in the finish. Gloss, semi-gloss or satin finishes are most commonly used. The higher the gloss, the stronger the finish and the easier it will be to clean. If you want less shine, consider the semi-gloss finish.

Safety When Painting

Be sure to paint in a well-ventilated room. Do the job when the weather is warm enough and leave the windows open.

Wear long pants and a long sleeve shirt to protect your skin from the paint. Plastic gloves can be worn to protect the skin on your hands.

Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from paint and fumes.

#3: Give Your Cabinets a Good Clean

Kitchen cabinets are based in one of the most dirt and grease susceptible areas of the house. Grease, food spills and splattered food from cooking can get all over everything in the kitchen. Also, soiled or sticky hands from both children and adults can tarnish the finish on your cabinetry.

Selecting Cleaning Products

Regular cleaning can help lessen the build up on cabinets and makes it simpler to remove. The cleaning method you should use depends on the material your kitchen doors are made of and covered with. Painted surfaces, vinyl or metal can be cleaned with detergent and warm water. Be sure to rinse well with plain water and dry with a lint-free cloth.

All-purpose cleaners can usually be used on these surfaces. Read the label carefully prior to using any product on your cabinetry. Information should be included for consumers pertaining to surfaces where a cleaner is safe and those it can harm. To be sure, always test the cleaner on a hidden area before using on the whole cabinet. Always rinse and dry to remove any residue.

Sensitivity to chemicals and concern for the environment has some people worried about using household chemicals. There are environmentally friendly choices right in your own kitchen. White vinegar or lemon juice can be mixed with water to clean grease from cabinets. Baking soda or club soda can be used to remove staining. Rinse with water and dry with a lint-free cloth after cleaning.

Cleaning Wood Kitchen Cabinets

Spray cleaners that are specifically made for wood furniture should be used on cabinets. Check to be sure the product you buy is safe for your finish. Follow the directions carefully when using any cleaning product. It’s always a good idea to test a spot before using the cleaner, even if the can states that it’s good for your finish.

Always look at the warnings label as some wood cleaners are flammable.  Keep them away from flame or other heat sources. Pay special attention to this warning if you have a gas stove or other appliance with a pilot light. A spark could be ignited, causing a fire in the kitchen.

Cleaning wood cabinets can sometimes dull the finish. If this happens, you can restore the shine with furniture polish. Furniture wax can also be used to fix a dull finish. Some of these products will require buffing. It’s a good idea to polish wood cabinets regularly to preserve the wood and keep the shine.

Cleaning Hardware on Kitchen Cabinets

The hardware on your cabinets can get the same build up of grease and grime from foods. Remove the hardware before cleaning the cabinets. Clean the cabinets and then clean the hardware. When both have been cleaned, replace the handles on the cabinets and drawers.

The cleaner you should use for your hardware depends on the material. Cleaners and polishes are commercially available for every type of metal. Be sure the one you choose is suitable for your hardware. Using the wrong cleaner could damage the handles and cost you money in replacing them. Follow the directions on the label for cleaning.

About the Author Joyce

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