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How to Refinish Laminate Cabinets in 10 Easy Steps

July 10 2018

Why Refinish Laminate Cabinets?

Most people assume that you can’t refinish laminate kitchen cabinets, but this isn’t true! You can update the look of your outdated old laminate cabinets and make them look new and modern again.

Just like recessed bathroom shelves, it’s not expensive. If you don’t want to do it yourself you can hire an outside contractor and still stay within the same budget!

Tools you need

You can refinish laminate cabinets yourself with the following tools:

  • paint
  • water based paint primer
  • 2 foam rollers
  • rolling pans
  • painter’s tape
  • 240 and 150 grit sheets of sandpaper
  • throwaway sheets/drop cloth
  • disinfectant spray
  • new/clean rags
  • microfiber cloth
  • marker or sticky notes (for labeling)
  • screwdriver

With all these tools you’re now ready to refinish laminate cabinets.

About Handles

For a modern look you can purchase new cabinet handles. You can find a wide variety of handle styles and prices.

About Peelings

If you see any peeling laminate, don’t refinish it! It will need to be replaced entirely. Unless it’s a very slight peeling in a corner, in which case you should do the following:

  1. Sand the exposed area behind the laminate
  2. Use a water-proof adhesive to re-glue it
  3. Put masking tape over it to hold it in place while it dries

Refinish Laminate Cabinets In 10 Easy Steps

  1. Clean the cabinets. Use a microfiber cloth to clean off the dust. Then use the disinfectant spray and wipe them down. This will give stronger adhesion and ensure a smoother cleaner look.1
  2. Remove the cabinet faces and cabinet handles. Keep a designated area for them. Label each part so you know where to put them back later.
  3. Put the cabinet faces on the drop cloth. Make sure the cloth is wide enough so paint won’t get on the floor. Also make sure that the edges of the faces are fully exposed.
  4. Put the painter’s tape around the edges of the faces to prevent paint drips. Take your time on this step and watch videos to see how to do this properly.
  5. Sand the faces with the sandpaper. Be careful not to oversand!
  6. Use the microfiber cloth to wipe away the sand and dust particles.
  7. Use the foam roller to apply the water based paint primer to the faces. Give it 8 to 12 hours to dry, depending on the brand.
  8. After the faces have dried, repeat steps 5 and 6 again.
  9. Then repeat steps 7 and 8.
  10. After both coats of primer have been applied and dried, you’re now ready to apply the paint with the second foam roller. Use v-strokes to distribute the paint evenly. Repeat this step once more.

Now allow the faces to dry for at least 3 days (72 hours) before you reattach them to where they belong. You’ve now learned how to refinish laminate cabinets!

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