Refinishing Bathroom Cabinets
Written by Lee Wyatt (last updated August 29, 2022)
When looking at redecorating your bathroom, one of the best ways to save some money is to not replace the cabinets. Refinishing bathroom cabinets is probably the greatest money saving alternatives available. Luckily, this is a project that anyone interested in doing their own remodeling project can handle. All that anyone needs to do is have a little patience, be willing to get a little dirty and that you have the proper materials.
- Stain, sealer, varnish or lacquer (your choice)
- Primer ( use a product like Liquid Sand)
- Degreaser, cleanser
- Sand paper
- Soft sponge, or rags
- New hardware
- Prepare. Begin your refinishing project by selecting a work area. You want to use an area that is well ventilated and that can be kept dust free. One of the best locations to use is your garage, but if you don't have a garage then go ahead and use your bathroom. No matter which you use, you really want to make sure that you have laid out the tarps so that you don't create any stains.
- Identify. Once you have decided on where your work space location, you now need to diagnose what type of finishing agent was used on your cabinets. Chances are some it is going to be something along the lines of a shellac, varnish or lacquer. It's also possible that there was a stain used.
- Remove. After you have determined what type of finishing agent was used, you need to remove the cabinetry from the bathroom. Begin with the doors, and then move onto the main body. Make sure that you have placed all the pieces in one location so that you don't lose anything to be able to put it all together again. Considering how difficult it can be to remove the actual body, you might want to just leave the body in place and strip it in place.
- Clean. After you have removed all the pieces, you need to go ahead and clean everything thoroughly. Try using such things as degreaser, rags and sponges. Remove as much of the dirt and grime as you can, and then allow everything to dry thoroughly before proceeding.
- Strip. Once you have cleaned and dried the pieces, go ahead and strip the old finish or varnish. Before proceeding, you want to make sure that you have correctly identified the finish that was used, because not all stripping agents are going to work equally well in this situation.
- Refinish. After you have stripped the old finish or varnish, go ahead and use the primer. Just like when you paint a car, when you paint or refinish wood you want to use a primer. In part this is to help bond the stain, varnish or finish to the wood, but also to help make sure that everything is absorbed at the same speed. Allow the primer to thoroughly dry before applying the stain. Once the primer is dried, take some of the sandpaper, and very lightly—using just enough pressure to hold the paper to the surface—smooth out any ridges. Now, go ahead and paint the stain or finish onto the wood. Allow a minimum of 15 minutes to pass between coats, to ensure you have not missed any parts, and that you get the color you are looking for.
- Clean. Once everything is refinished, go ahead and reassemble your cabinets using the new hardware you picked out. Clean everything up as you go along. You are now finished.
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