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How can I safely strip and prep an installed bathroom cabinet for refurbishing?

Does anyone have an suggestions for stripping paint from an installed cabinet in a small bathroom area? Thank you

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Posted 2013-06-13T14:17:27+0000  by julyfly2002 julyfly2002

Hello julyfly2002!


I don't recommend stripping agents for many of my DIY customers working in confined spaces.


These caustic products will burn your skin, are not healthy to inhale, and should not be used in areas where children may come in contact with them.


Instead, I recommend the more traditional approach ... sanding to remove the finish.


If "refurbishing" means painting, you'll only buff sand to break the gloss, and then prime and paint.


If "refurbishing" means staining, you'll sand all the way down to the wood so the next coat of stain will absorb.


Palm sanders and mouse sanders are great for this task.


I use the Ryobi 18-volt mouse sander.


The pointed tip get into the bevels in trim and the flat surface cuts about 4-inches with each pass.


Always sand in the direction of the wood grain.


If repainting, use 220-grit sandpaper to simply break the gloss. Wipe off the sanding dust with a dry terry towel.


If restaining, use 100-grit to remove the finish, 150-grit to smooth, and 220-grit as your final sand.

Posted 2013-06-13T15:01:28+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL


The problem with sanding the average vanity is that they almost undoubtedly contain veneered components. The panels of doors are usually veneered, as are the end panels, if they are real veneer at all, and not merely faux plastic wood grain. Veneer is paper thin. Extensive sanding in an attempt to get rid of an old penetrating finish will soon have sanded through to the underlying core wood or particle board.


I always liken this to having your hardwood floors sanded. Professional sanders take off at least 1/16th of an inch of wood to reach "virgin" wood. You just do not have that wood to spare, even on completely solid wood cabinets, not to mentioned veneered cabnetry.


Indeed, if you have the faux plastic wood grain, you will  not even be able to use chemical strippers. In this case, your only choice would be to veneer real wood over the faux panels, or just replace the vanity. Quite frankly, given how inexpensive some new vanities can be purchased, one has to question the cost and effort involved in refinishing.

Posted 2013-06-14T05:05:28+0000  by ordjen
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