Sign In to join the community | Help

Resurfacing Kitchen Cabinets

My DIY project I want to do is resurface my kitchen cabinets, paint the walls and replace the countertops.  There will be alot of sanding involved.  The house came with custome cabinets, so I don't think they can be taken down.  So I will have to sand them in the house. That will be alot of dust.  My question is should I paint the walls first or do the sanding first?  What is the best way to stop the dust from getting all over the house?

Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2012-05-11T14:45:41+0000  by Br0klyn Br0klyn

All of this stuff should be available in your local THD, if not, it's definitely available online.

Ready Guard 7 Ft. to 12 Ft. Dust Barrier System Containing 2 Adjustable Poles and 1 Drop Cloth


This should do the trick to stopping or minimizing the spread of dust throughout the house. They're available either online or in the Paint Department at your local THD. I saw them in the plastic sheeting area of one of my local THD's the other day. Along with a lot of tape, you'll be able to section off the room or area you're working in. An option to think about is adding a zipper door.


QUAL-CRAFT INDUSTRIES Blue Zip Up 3 in. (W) x 7 ft. (L) Peel & Stick Zipper Door


This has an adhesive on one side. You apply it from the base of your plastic sheeting up. Next, unzip the zipper and cut the opening in the plastic. Now you'll be able to easily move between the work area and the rest of the house.

To further cut down on the dust, you can wear disposable cover-alls and don/remove them at the opening. This will help you keep dust on your clothing from being spread about.


KLEENGUARD Heavy-Duty Coveralls


If you're using a sander, another option or along with the above, would be attaching it to a wet/dry vac. Most sanders have some sort of dust collection capability, that little bag thing on the back end. If you take that off, you can find adapters in the Hardware area that will allow you to connect the vac. Turn both on and you'll greatly minimize the dust before it gets to the barrier system above. To help with the clean up of your dust in the vac, consider using a high efficiency bag.

RIDGID 3-Piece Adapter Kit


You'll want to make sure you wear a dust mask meant for sanding and probably some ear protection, as well.



Posted 2012-05-12T19:53:30+0000  by Paul




I am curious as to why you are doing all this sanding if you merely intend to re-surface the cabinets? Or do you mean refinish them? If you intend to refinish the cabinets, a chemical stripper would be more in order.


If you are going to raise a lot of dust, tape off all the passages into the room. Seal off the heat return vents. You do not want all that dust possibly being sucked into your ducts. Turn off the furnace or A/C during the actual sanding.


I always used a small window fan to create a slight negative air flow from the room. This prevents dust from seeping into other areas of the room. These precautions are the same I would use when I had to spray paint within a house. It isolated the overspray and smell from the rest of the house.

Posted 2012-05-13T06:19:03+0000  by ordjen

Sorry reply is 2 wks later but I want to restain them. They have maybe 2 layers of a custom stain (gray color) on them now with  polyurethane .  I didn't know I could use paint striper before sanding.  But I have since then learned that using a green, low odor striper; putting up the plastic wall and having plenty of ventilation for the work area; I was able to get to the natural would to restain.  It is a lot of work but I am pleased with what I have done so far.  Once the polyurethane is removed sanding is much easier.

Posted 2012-05-24T02:52:28+0000  by Br0klyn

Great info!

Posted 2012-05-24T18:19:15+0000  by Ticia

I don't know what you have for tools. But you might try renting a vaccum sander. They have a bag attached to the sander that sucks up all the dust. That will cut down on your dust alot. And if you can't do that. I would sand before I painted in that room. Otherwise you will have dust all through your paint job if your paint isn't 100% dry.


Posted 2013-01-20T23:23:04+0000  by NancyC


When refinishing wood, I try to do as little sanding, especially power sanding, as possible.

Due to the detail which is found on most cabinetry or furniture, it is dificult to sand evenly everywhere. This results in some woodgrain being opened up more than others. The result is that when a stain is applied, it will be darker in some places than others.


Further, cabinetry often uses veneers on the flat surface, such as the panels in panel doors. This veneer is paper thin and any vigorous sanding will go through the veneer, ruining the piece. On some woods, such as grainy oak, no amount of sanding will get all the old pigment out of the grain. Remember, when oak floors are sanded, at least a 16th of an inch is removed. You cannot remove this amount of wood from the average furniture piece.


So what is the alternative to sanding? I prefer to use strickley the stripper and steel wool to remove the old finish. After the bulk of the finish is removed with the stripper and a scraper, I use thinner coats of stripper, rubbing it away with tufts of steelwool,  going with the grain.This will remove much wood fiber, exposing the grain enough to accept new stain. I like to even the finish off with paper towels or rags soak in lacquer thinner.This will again help to extract old color from the grain.


It is extremely difficult to get stripped pieces to take a significantly darker penetrating stain. It is not virgin wood. However, it will go somewhat darker and can be changed to a different color. Having removed the old finish in this fashion will also aid in getting the new stain to take evenly, often without any additional stain controller.


This is a messy operation and care must be take to prevent damage to floors and other areas which the stripper might attack. I would always put down a double layer of rosin paper on the floor. All edges would be tripple taped, first with painters blue tape and then overlayed with masking tape. Stripper will eat its way through merely a double layer of tape. Tripple tape where the cabinets meet the wall. Wall paint eaten away is a nuisance to have to patch.


If the whole kitchen is being done, refinish the cabinets first. It is much easier to keep wall paint off the cabinets than to keep stripper, stain and varnish off the fresh walls. If the cabinets are to be sprayed a clear coat, it is easier to do this before the rest of the room is decorated.


Hope this has been helpful.

Posted 2013-01-21T03:50:02+0000  by ordjen

okay, I got multiple problems with refinishing my cabinets. I am also trying to refinish my oak kitchen cabinet. It has been a pain for a few months already. First, I have exhausted 2 sanders and the kitchen is a mess and dust everywhere. Second, I am using light cherry color  stain and it is just too orange on my oak wood. Third, paint striper only strip away the polyurethane but doesn't take all of the old walnut stain out because it already penetrated into the wood. Fourth, I sanded almost all my cabinets before my last sander died, after triple washed my cabinets and I still see black stain at some corners. =( 

Posted 2013-02-02T11:51:09+0000  by angelhoau
Hello BrOklyn!

In a recent thread, we discussed your topic: Cabinet Refinishing Doesn't Have To Be That Difficult.

Take time to jump to that thread to see a simple "Old School" solution for refinishing cabinets.
Posted 2014-09-04T19:06:29+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question