What Is Cabinet Refinishing? [Everything You Need To Know]




Do you have old and dull cabinets? I am pretty sure you have heard about refinishing them a lot of times. Don’t have any idea about what is cabinet refinishing?

Actually, the answer is really simple,

What Is Cabinet Refinishing

Cabinet Refinishing

Cabinet refinishing is the process of restoring the new look of the cabinet through refinishing. You need to sand down the old finish from the cabinets and then apply a new finish on them and you can regain the beautiful look of your cabinets.

Wait! You still have a lot to learn. So let’s go!

Nain Facts

  • Kitchen cabinet refinishing is an improvement project by which you can improve the condition of your current cabinets.
  • Cabinet refinishing is cheaper than replacing the cabinets with new ones.
  • You can make your cabinets look like brand new cabinets and change the color of them through the process.

What Is Cabinet Refinishing: An Ultimate Guide

Over time, our furniture often starts looking old and dull. It actually looks like they are losing their original beauty day by day and looks really ugly. It happens with wood veneers as well.

Most of us start thinking replacing them is the only solution. But the truth is, no. This is in no way the only solution. However, refinishing the old furniture is way better and cheaper than replacing it.

What Is Cabinet Refinishing

Actually, refinishing is a method of getting back the old look and beauty of the cabinets. This process allows you to customize the cabinets according to your preferences as well.

Key Components Of Cabinet Refinishing

Actually, before you involve yourself in refinishing badly, let me tell you one thing, there are some important parts of this process, and these are really necessary to maintain. Such as;

Key Components Of Cabinet Refinishing

Surface Preparation

Actually, preparing the surface is really an important part of the refinishing process. Did you ever notice the surfaces of the cabinets mostly get damaged and look older, and duller than other parts?

Basically, this happens. And because of daily usage, all the surfaces get damaged and old really easily.

Therefore preparing the surface is really important. Wondering what would happen if you don’t do that? Basically, you can get the worst result so far. To get the smooth and best outcome you definitely need to prepare the surface properly.

Choice Of Finishes

There are many kinds of finishes available in the market. But the question that comes out is, are all of them best for the cabinets? To be very honest, the answer is no! All aren’t the best or most suitable for the cabinets. Besides, choosing the best one is really an important thing so far. Otherwise, you may need to refinish your cabinets frequently.

Application Techniques

Let me ask you something, do you know in which direction or way and how you should apply the finish? Actually, for a normal person with no idea about refinishing or applying finish, it is normal not to know the answer. But yes, the direction of applying finish and techniques is really important. Otherwise, you can get a sticky and ugly result so far.

Reasons For Choosing Cabinet Refinishing

Why would you choose cabinet refinishing? I know this is a big question for now that is poking your mind. Here is why you should choose it;

Reasons For Choosing Cabinet Refinishing


Actually, refinishing cabinets is always cheaper than replacing them. While replacing them with new cabinets can cost you a good amount of money, refinishing them doesn’t cost you that much, to be honest. Therefore, if you choose to refinish your cabinets, you can save money and still gain the best outcome so far.

Aesthetic Updates

Actually, if you decide to refinish your cabinet you have a good opportunity to customize and update the appearance of your cabinets that can suit your kitchen layout and preferences.

You can actually enhance the natural beauty, and look of the wood and enjoy the new transformation that is brought by your hard work.

Environmental Considerations

To be honest, refinishing is an environmentally friendly process. Wondering why that is so. Because in this process you need to reuse the materials. Therefore there won’t be any chances of wastage or discarding them. This process genuinely reduces the environmental impact!

Cabinet Refinishing Vs. Replacing: Which One Is For You?

Confused? Don’t know which one to pick? Refinishing or replacing the cabinets? Well, let’s make it easy to decide! Sounds good right?

Cabinet RefinishingCabinet Replacing
This is a budget-friendly process and can save you money.This is really expensive and costs you more money.
You get various options for finishes like paint, stains, etc.The chosen cabinet may not have the finish of your choice.
You can customize and put any color of finish wherever you want.There is no option for customization for the ready-made cabinets and if you wanna customize cabinets, it may cost you a lot.
This is environmentally friendly as you can reuse the materials during the procedure.The old cabinet may get wasted because of replacing it with a new one.
If you refinish the cabinets properly and do the paint job as a professional painter the cabinets become durable and last longer.The chosen cabinet may not be that durable and if the quality of the finish is not that good it can get old and dull really quickly.

How To Do Cabinet Refinishing: A Step-By-Step Guide

Wondering how is cabinet refinishing done? Well, how about sharing some good news with you? Can’t wait to hear, right?

Well, I am an experienced person in this sector, and trust me I refinished many cabinets in my entire life and the outcomes were worth putting all my efforts into it. So, I was thinking, why not share the way I do it? Let’s go!

How To Do Cabinet Refinishing: A Step-By-Step Guide

Inspection And Assessment

I always inspect the cabinets along with the cabinet boxes and assess the issues before starting the process.

I try to figure out the problematic areas and the reason for the problem to solve the issues from the root. So, yes! Inspect the cabinets and asses the damage before you start for a better outcome.

Some cabinets are located under the kitchen countertop. In such cases, you can check the countertop if needed. I hope now you don’t have doubts that can I refinish wood cabinets. Cause, the process is easy and you can do it following the right techniques.

Sand Down The Old Existing Finish

Then, I simply start the process by sanding down the old existing finish. This is actually necessary to achieve the best result and gain a smooth surface.

So, with the help of fine-grit sandpaper, I sand down the old finish lightly and properly. Well, here is a piece of advice for you, don’t be aggressive while sanding the cabinets as it can ruin the surfaces.

Also, don’t over-sand the cabinets at any cost because it will make the surfaces rough.

However,  if there are any damages like scratches, dents, gaps, etc you can use wood filler with a putty knife and let it dry. Sand the problematic areas light to match the surrounding area. And this is how you can restore the wood cabinets. Also, you can restore the kitchen cabinets as well.

Clean The Cabinets And Prepare Them

Actually, after sanding the cabinets, I gently clean the cabinets to remove the dust, and debris from the surface. In this case, I use mild soapy water. Warm water is actually the best choice according to me. However, I clean the cabinets with a soft cloth with the solution.

Well, then, I leave my cabinets like that for a while so that they dry properly before I move forward. However, then I always remove the cabinet hardware for a smooth refinishing process and prepare the cabinets ready for the refinishing process.

However, if your cabinets are wobbly, fix the wobbly cabinets before you move forward.

Apply Primer

I always apply primer before applying a finish. Well, applying primer is the best choice. Why is that so?

Actually, primer helps to set the finish with cabinets really perfectly. Therefore I always apply a primer with a paintbrush properly and leave it to dry completely before applying a finish.

Eagerly waiting to know, how do you refinish and paint cabinets? No worries, you are about to get there!

Choose The Appropriate Finish

Actually, there are many options for refinishing kitchen cabinets. Yes! Such as paint, stains, etc. And there are many types of finish available in the market.

But all of them are not suitable for your cabinets. Well, the best options for refinishing cabinets are water-based stains or paints, oil-based stains or paint, clear coats, lacquer, varnish, etc. You can choose any of them for your cabinets as well.

Apply The Finish And Let It Cure

After choosing the finish for the cabinets, I start applying it. With the help of a paintbrush, I start applying finish on the cabinet along with the drawer fronts.

I actually prefer applying many coats of finish. You can do it as well. But make sure you are letting each coat dry before applying another. Otherwise, there are high chance of getting a sticky surface.

Well, apply the finish with the paintbrush in the same way as the wood grain. After the finish dries properly you can start using the cabinets again. However, it is better to apply sealant to add a protective layer to the cabinets and protect them from damage.

Were you wondering what is a cabinet finish treatment? Now you have your answer.

Reinstall The Cabinet Hardware

When the finish dries, I immediately reinstall the hardware of the cabinets. However, you can install cabinet knobs to use the cabinets gently and avoid damaging them.

If Needed You Can Try Cabinet Refacing

Well, if any parts of the cabinet are damaged really badly, you may need to change them, which means you may need to try kitchen cabinet refacing.

Such as if the door is damaged badly you can install brand-new cabinet doors or solid wood doors. Wondering what is better refinishing or refacing cabinets? I would definitely try refinishing. But if the damage is beyond repair you may need to go for refacing.

There are pros and cons of refacing kitchen cabinets. Refacing cabinets is actually cheaper and better than replacing the entire cabinets.

But I must tell you one thing it is hard to get the machine parts or exact parts and this is one of the big problems with refacing kitchen cabinets.

Well, you can compare refacing cabinets before and after look. Better than replacing the entire cabinet, right?

Wondering about cabinet refacing vs painting cost? Actually refacing is more expensive than painting. However, if you are thinking is it possible Home Depot cabinet refacing? It is!

Cabinet refinishing (Frame and Panel Doors)

Benefits And Advantages Of Cabinet Refinishing

Would you believe me if I told you there are many advantages and benefits of picking cabinet refinishing? I am not lying actually. To be honest, there are! Such as;

Benefits and AdvantagesDetail
Cost-effectiveRefinishing is really affordable and can save you money on kitchen renovation projects because it is cheaper than replacing the cabinets.
Aesthetic enhancementYou can customize your cabinets and you can easily customize them according to your kitchen layout and make custom cabinets for you. Or else you can use crown molding as it is stylish and can enhance aesthetics during the procedure.
Environmental friendlyIt reduces waste as you can reuse the materials during the refinishing process and this makes the process environment friendly.
Customization optionYou can change the color of your cabinets and thus you have the customization option for you.
DurabilityIf you refinish your cabinets properly it can last for years with proper maintenance and care.

So, if you were wondering is cabinet refinishing worth it? Now, you have your answer for it!

DIY Cabinet Refinishing Vs. Professional Services

What would you choose between professional service and DIY? Let’s clear up the confusion!

DIY Cabinet RefinishingProfessional Services
DIY is cheaper and you need to invest that much money in this process.Professional service is really costly and you need to invest a lot.
You don’t need any labor costs to perform the refinishing process on your own.The labor cost is expensive in professional service.
You don’t need to be an expert on this.They are skilled and can complete the task really smoothly.
Through the right techniques, you can complete the refinishing process really nicely.They complete the process professionally.
Takes a long time to complete the refinishing process.Professionals can complete the process faster.
There are chances of making mistakes if the procedure is not done carefully.They are skilled and therefore there is less risk of making any kind of mistake.

However, if you are still thinking about taking professional service and refinishing the cabinet by them you can check your local marketplace or you can check online writing cabinet refinishing near me.

Maintenance And Care Tips For Your Cabinet

Actually, is really important to maintain and take care of the cabinets after refinishing. Do you know why is that so?

Actually, because this can help you last for a long time. Don’t know how to do that? Here you go;

  • Clean your kitchen cabinets regularly with a soft cloth and mild soapy water to get rid of dust, debris, and grease buildup.
  • After refinishing cabinets don’t keep them in direct sunlight as it can damage the finish.
  • Wipe off the spills or any liquids right after they fall on the cabinet surfaces as it can cause discoloration or warping.
  • Avoid using an abrasive cleaner to clean the cabinets as it can ruin the finish of the cabinets.
  • It is better to apply a protective layer or coating on the cabinets to protect them cabinets from scratches, stains, or any kind of damage.
  • Handle your cabinets gently with care. Open the cabinet doors with care, pull the drawer gently and you can use drawer pulls for that.
  • Keep your cabinets away from high humidity or moisture as these can damage the natural woods or cabinets and cause warping.
  • Do you have adjustable shelves? Inspect them regularly and try to adjust the shelves to avoid sagging or future damage.
  • Inspect the cabinets along with the cabinet hardware and if there are any signs of damage fix it before it increases.
  • Do not put heavy objects or items on the cabinet surfaces as it can damage the cabinets structurally.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

When Should I Consider Replacing My Cabinet?

If the damage is beyond repair and refinishing can’t help it to regain the old natural beauty of the cabinets then it would be better for you to consider replacing the cabinets.

Do I Need To Take My Cabinet To A Repair Shop For Refinishing?

Actually, this is not mandatory to take the cabinets to a repair shop for refinishing as it is possible to refinish the cabinets on your own at home. However, if you are unable to perform the refinishing process you can definitely take them to a repair shop.

How Long Do Refinishing Effects Last?

Actually, with the proper care and maintenance the longevity of the refinishing effects on your cabinets can last for many years.

What Is The Difference Between Cabinet Painting And Cabinet Refinishing?

Actually, cabinet painting means only applying coats of paint on the cabinets. But cabinet refinishing means going through many processes such as cleaning, sanding, applying new finish, and applying sealant.


Cabinet refinishing is an amazing easiest and affordable process of regaining the beautiful look of the cabinets. While replacing them is really expensive refinishing can be the best choice and bring you an awesome outcome like the professionals.

So now that you know what is cabinet refinishing, what are you thinking about? Grab the chance, make the best use of it, bring out an amazing result on your own, and enjoy!

If you are interested in learning more about restoring a table, stay with- Restore Journey.

Richard Journey

Written by

Richard Journey

Meet Richard Journey, the Antique Furniture Maestro. With a Fine Arts degree in Furniture Restoration and Conservation, he’s a guardian of historical craftsmanship. His accolades include the Golden Chisel Award, and he’s your guide to discovering and restoring antique treasures.

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