Improving Your Wood Cabinets with This Easy Solution

wood cabinets

by Guest Blogger, Tom Corliss of Home Information Guru 

If your kitchen wood cabinets are dull looking, have nicks and scratches from wear and are looking dingy then maybe a face lift with paint and new hardware can add some more years. Replacing them might be a better long term deal but the cost of $5000 to $10,000 just for new wood cabinets not including installation, counter tops, sink, faucet and new hardware seems like a good option to save you a little time and a lot of money.

Here I will go through the steps it takes to make your wood cabinets look fresh and new.

Paint and Supplies:

You will need 1 gallon of good quality primer. I like to use KILZ PREMIUM PRIMER, and for the top I use Behr Premium Plus Gloss 100% Enamel. Because, this Behr paint does have primer in it, you will only need this one product. You will still need to paint 1 coat of the KILX to seal the Surface. You will need 1 high quality 2” or 2 ½” angled paint brush. I use either Purdy or Wooster Pro grade brushes. The result is that these high quality brushes will make all the difference in the finish. Drop clothes and a wire brush to clean up the paint brush. 180 grit sandpaper, 240 grit sandpaper, TSP Cleaner, Tact clothes, clean rags, and bucket.

Preparation is Key to Quality Results:

First step in preparation is to set up an area where you can paint. A garage or basement will work well. Have a table surface to paint on will help you maintain a even paint job. Use lots of drop clothes. Remove all cabinet hardware. Make a small diagram of the cabinets and number each drawer and door on the picture. Now place a number wrote on a piece of painters tape on the back side of the corresponding door or drawer. Mix a bucket of hot water and some TSP cleaner.

Wash down all surfaces to be painted. Make sure to remove all dirt and any oily areas. This is important because paint will not adhere to surfaces that are oily. Next, using the 150 grit sandpaper, sand all surfaces. You are not trying to remove the old finish. You are attempting to remove and poly coating that may have been applied. If you come across any dings, dents, or holes then you will need to fill these areas with high quality wood filler. Let the filler dry well and sand to a smooth finish. After all surfaces have been cleaned, sanded, and repaired you need to clean the surfaces with tacky cloth to remove any debris. Now you are ready to paint.


It is time to get painting. If you are using the recommended paint above you will only need to apply 1 coat of primer. Also if the wood cabinets were painted previously, 1 coat of primer will suffice. If you are painting over wood finished that are dark it is best to apply 2 coats of primer. For the door panels, Paint 1 side at a time. Wait 1 to 2 hours between coats of primer. After the primer has completely dried, give the surface a very light sanding with the 240 grit sandpaper. Now wipe the surfaced down with tacky cloth.

Top Coat:

Now that the priming is complete,  you can start with the top coats. You will need to paint 2 coats, possibly 3. Let each coat dry for at least 6 hours between coats. Using sandpaper (240 grit); Sand very lightly between coats. After the last coat, you should let all of the newly painted surfaces dry for 1 to 2 days before re installed the drawers and doors. The longer the better. Water based paints can take up to 2 weeks to cure to a hard surface.


After the drying is complete, re-install all of the doors and doors with new handles and hinges. New hardware will help the cabinet have a new appearance and a more modern look.

I hope you found this information informative. I encourage you to take some time to use these tips. For more information about saving money and increasing your homes value please visit our website: Home Information for additional helpful tips.

2 Responses to “Improving Your Wood Cabinets with This Easy Solution”

  1. Corinna Eisenberg

    I am just getting ready to tackle this very project! So glad I saw this, it will be my perfect how to guide thru all of it! Now if I could pick my colors I would be set…:c)