How do we prepare old cabinets for re-painting?

Answered by Brendan ~ March 17, 2010 ~ Comments

We have an 1932 Maryland home with solid wood cabinets in the kitchen. We don't want to get rid of the cabinets because they are in good shape, but the white paint is peeling and chipping. How can we go about preparing the cabinets for a new coat of paint? Do we need to strip the paint down to the wood first before painting?

Emily M. ~ Hagerstown, Maryland

Brendan Fowler

You can prepare your cabinets for painting without stripping them all the way down to bare wood depending on the condition of the existing paint and how flawless you want the repaint to come out. The basic steps to this process are clean thoroughly, light sand, prime, and paint. If the paint is so badly chipped and damaged that the light sanding will not leave you with a nice flat paintable surface, you may want to consider stripping the worst cabinets.

The cabinets that generally get he most wear and tear are the lower ones in the sink area and adjacent to a range. Upper cabinets generally escape the worst of the ware. The prep and repaint is most easily accomplished when you have all the doors and drawers removed and set up in the garage or another room other than the kitchen. There is a learning curve with the refinishing process, so take your time and figure out what is working best for you and the process will naturally speed up throughout the course of the job.

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