A cabinet is generally seen, as that multi-purpose piece of furniture attached to a wall or a standalone item with doors and drawers for storage. However, a cabinet over time has become a sort of reflection of halcyon days or a statement of taste and economic class. Therefore, there are a lot of reasons why you might not want to change those cabinets. Refinishing is the best method to adopt if you would like to retain that cabinet that reminds you of someone or some days in the past. Also, if you cannot afford a new one; or you feel that the quality of your cabinet’s wood is hard to find and you would prefer retaining it to buying a new one. Whatever the reasons for not wanting to change your cabinets you cannot afford not to change your cabinets’ finishes.

The finishes of your cabinet do not usually outlive its life span. If the finishes have been affected by the effect of time, refinishing is usually the affordable and time-effective method to use. 

In case you are wondering what refinishing is, it is a process of repainting, re-varnishing or re-staining the wood of your cabinet to give it a pristine feel and look. The best way to understand these methods of covering a cabinet is by their level of penetration into the wood. Therefore, while varnish sits on the surface of a cabinet’s wood and is usually transparent, paint covers the surface, and stain goes deeper into the wood’s material. Thus, the level of work to be done to remove the covering of a cabinet would depend on whether it is a paint, stain or varnish.

Three-Fold steps of Refinishing

Scrub the Surfaces

The first step in the refinishing process is cleaning the surfaces. You would be surprised as to the amount of dust and other particles that have stuck to the surfaces of your cabinetry. You can use any soapy water or safe cleaning agent. It might also to be necessary to remove the cabinets from the wall and scrub them thoroughly outside.

Strip off the finishes

As pointed out earlier, the type of finishes determines how deep the covering is and therefore, the method of stripping. If the finish is varnish, then use a varnish remover or denatured alcohol; if the paint is latex, use denatured alcohol; however, if it is an oil-based paint, you have to rely on sandpaper or hand sanders. Whatever the type of finishes your cabinets have, you will eventually still need to sand them except if your cabinets finish is stain.

Refinish the Cabinet

The task of stripping off the old finish might not be as easy as you expected. You are likely to find some dents that need refilling. You would need to find a creative way to fill it. If the dent is not deep, sanding should do the patch. Once that is done, use any colour and method of your choice. Mind you, for a stain you do not need any stripping because the colour is part of the wood; allow the wood to dry and add your new stain of colour.

That is pretty much what refinishing is all about. Bear it in mind however that refinishing is only advisable if your cabinet is in good condition else what you need is resurfacing or replacement. Refinishing is also not possible with laminated wood neither is stripping of Thermofoil advisable.