Cabinet Refinishing Can Update the Look of Your Cabinets

Cabinet Refinishing San Jose CA is a common way to update the look of your kitchen cabinets. This process works with your existing cabinets but alters the color instead of replacing them.

Cabinet Refinishing

Traditional or DIY wood refinishing would require the removal of your cabinets to strip them down to bare wood. This is a very time intensive project.

Cabinet painting provides a sleek and modern aesthetic to any kitchen or bathroom. Aside from enhancing the aesthetic of your living space, painted cabinets can also increase the resale value of your home. This is because potential buyers are able to see the updated style and quality of your cabinets, and will often pay more for a home that has well-maintained and updated cabinetry.

Unlike traditional wood refinishing, which involves sanding down the cabinetry and then applying a stain, paint is quick and easy to apply. This makes it a convenient choice for busy homeowners who want to transform their cabinets without spending an extended amount of time on the renovation project. Having an expert team handle the job will ensure that the finish is durable and long-lasting.

However, it is important to remember that not all cabinet painting jobs are created equal. There are many factors that go into a successful paint job, and if the prep work isn’t done properly, the results can be short-lived. Cabinets are exposed to moisture and grease on a daily basis, which is very harmful to most paint products. To avoid this, a professional should carefully and meticulously prepare the surfaces for repainting by thoroughly sanding and priming.

It is also important to note that when you choose to refinish your cabinets with paint, you cannot change the style of the doors. This is because refinishing only allows you to change the color of the door or drawer fronts, and not their style profile. This may not be an issue if you have a style that fits with your home, but it does limit your options if you are looking for a major aesthetic overhaul.

Staining is a great option for those who want to highlight the natural grain of their existing wood cabinetry. It can also create a more rich and warm appearance. However, it is important to keep in mind that stains can be difficult to maintain. For this reason, they are best used with natural wood doors and cabinetry rather than medium-density fiberboard (MDF) or high-density fiberboard materials. It is also critical to have a professional perform the staining process, as this will allow for the best results. The professional will be able to determine the ideal stain thickness and application techniques to achieve the desired results.


A new coat of stain can transform cabinets by showcasing wood grain and patterns. Unlike paint, which masks these textures and details, stain brings them to the surface, adding character and depth to cabinet faces. It’s also a more versatile choice, pairing well with a variety of color schemes. For example, the rich gray stain in this kitchen from indianakitchencompany complements both darker and lighter accent colors like black or white.

To ensure a uniform finish, sand the wood prior to staining using 220 grit sandpaper on a sanding block or by hand. Then, vacuum up the dust or use mineral spirits to wipe down the entire cabinet. After sanding, apply a wood conditioner to prepare the surface for stain. Allow it to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Stains should be applied with a foam brush, working in the direction of the grain. After each application, let the stain soak in for 4-6 hours before wiping off excess. Apply a second coat if needed.

Before applying the stain, degrease the cabinet doors and drawer fronts by removing the hinges, handles, knobs, and closures (if possible). Then, scrub the surfaces with trisodium phosphate (TSP), a heavy-duty cleaning powder that can be diluted in warm water. Rinse and dry the cabinet face and drawer fronts thoroughly.

Once the stain is dry, apply a topcoat to lock in the color and provide protection against moisture and wear. For a long-lasting finish, choose oil based gel satin or Arm-R-Seal, or a high-performance water based topcoat that’s compatible with the type of stain you’re using.


Lacquer is a hard finish that comes in a variety of sheen levels from gloss to satin. Its main benefit is its durability and resistance to damage from abrasion, water or acid. It also provides protection from the sun’s UV rays.

Traditionally, lacquer finishes are made from the resin of the lacquer tree (Rhus verniciflua). This type of varnish is commonly used to produce lustrous surfaces on musical instruments and wooden products. This material is sensitive to heat and some solvents, though, and yellows as it ages. It is also very hazardous, flammable and toxic, so it should be used only by professionals.

A modern alternative is a chemically catalyzed lacquer. This hybrid product contains nitrocellulose along with acrylic resins and cures through the action of an acid catalyst, rather than through evaporation of solvents. It has become very popular with production furniture makers who have wanted to avoid the yellowing problems that can occur in nitrocellulose lacquer. It is available to woodworkers in both pre-catalyzed and post-catalyzed varieties.

In either case, it’s best to work with the same type of finish throughout a job. Mixing different kinds of products can cause the existing finish to wrinkle, which makes the repaired area look worse than the rest of the surface. For this reason, it is also important to use cleaners that won’t damage the new finish.

Most painters and woodworkers today use a catalyzed lacquer that is based on cellulose acetate butyrate and acrylic resins. This is often called CAB-acrylic lacquer. These products dry quickly, rub out well and are crystal-clear when they first come out of the can. They also resist water, chemicals and abrasion much better than nitrocellulose lacquers.

There are still a few people in the industry who prefer to use traditional nitrocellulose lacquer. The unprocessed version is known as raw lacquer (Sheng Qi in Chinese or ki-urushi in Japanese). This material has a water content of about 25% and can be mixed with pigments or ground into a powder to create other kinds of finish. It is usually used for ground layers or top coats. It is available in several grades in Japan, including kijiro-urushi, which has been mixed with iron hydroxide to produce black lacquer and nashiji-urushi, which has been ground with gamboge (cochineal) to create yellow-tinged lacquer.

Brush Coat

Choosing the right type of paint for cabinet refinishing can make or break your new kitchen look. You need a paint that will hold up to repeated touching as doors are opened and closed, food and liquid spills and encounters with steam and heat from your oven and stove. There are many types of paint, but only the kind formulated for cabinets will stand up to this demanding environment. Any other type of paint will fade or chip over time, ruining the painstakingly planned look of your kitchen.

A clear coat will add longevity to your new cabinets, protecting the finish from chips, scratches and stains. A quality clear coat can also enhance the beauty of your cabinets, making them even more stunning. It is important to note that a clear coat will require regular maintenance, including periodic touch-ups. You will need to clean and buff the cabinets periodically, as needed, to keep them looking shiny and smooth.

While spray painting can be a quicker option for large projects, brush painting is still the preferred method for many professional painters. When using the proper technique, brushing can result in a flawless and beautiful finished product. It is important to use the right brush for each surface and detail of the cabinets, and to allow adequate drying time between coats. It is also essential to use high-quality cabinet paint, and to sand between each coat of paint for maximum durability.

Another benefit of using a brush is that it can be used with any viscosity of paint. The paint that goes into a sprayer has to be very thin in order to create a fine mist, but brushes can be used with any viscosity, from thick to very thin. This can be helpful when applying a stain, as it allows for the stains to be blended in with the paint and to create a seamless, uniform appearance.

Finally, brushing is a more cost-effective option than spraying, as a gallon of cabinet paint will typically go further when hand-brushed than it will when spray painted. This is due to the fact that a sprayer atomizes the paint droplets, meaning some of the paint ends up floating away and going to waste.