Kitchen Cabinet Reface: Day 1

By Jeff | May. 25, 2014

It's been a while since we posted anything on the "warm house" side of our blog, but we've got several big projects in the works. We started one of them, refacing our kitchen cabinets, yesterday. Well, technically we started Friday, but that was just emptying out everything into the other room. We started with research that us to some of our favorite places (Young House Love, This Old House, and Family Handyman) and decided on the following options:

  • We will probably not paint the insides because it will add a ton of extra effort and may not look that much better. We’ll re-assess this when we’re closer to being done.
  • We will use a a brush for the cabinet frames, but our sprayer for the doors.
  • Instead of hand-sanding everything, we plan to use a liquid sander / deglosser instead.


Our task list is as follows:

  1. Take off all the hardware, doors, and drawer fronts.
  2. Remove bar cabinet.
  3. Tape the sections we don’t want to paint.
  4. Use a TSP solution to clean all the grime off the wood.
  5. Apply a liquid sander / deglosser and let dry.
  6. Apply a bonding primer (we’re using Insl-X STIX).
  7. Lightly sand as needed.
  8. Apply two coats of paint (we’re using Benjamin Moore Advance Semi-Gloss).
  9. Lightly sand to finish.
  10. Re-attach hardware, doors, and drawers.
  11. Build / Install shelves to replace bar cabinet.

In a corner of our kitchen, we had a cabinet with wine glass holder and wine rack built in. This seemed like a great idea at the time, except we soon found that almost none of our wine glasses fit and most of our wine fits in our wine fridge. So we decided to blow it up gently remove and repurpose it. In its place will go three new shelves and possibly some sort of mail sorting system. We haven’t quite nailed down all the details, but we’ve got plenty of time to figure them out.


Today we made many trips to various hardware stores and removed all the hardware, doors, and drawers. We cleaned everything with a TSP solution and were glad to see how easily that stuff attacks any kind of dirt. I think there were stains on there from when we moved in that just wiped off. Make sure to wear gloves; it’s strong stuff! We also taped and deglossed everything and Hillary got started on the priming while I worked on finishing up another project. Here’s how we finished our first day.


Day 1 Summary
Stores Visited for Supplies: 3
Money Spent: $165 (primer, paint, paintbrush, gloves, TSP)
Hours Worked: 17