You don't want to just start ordinary paint over the varnish. You'll have
to prime it first.
From the Zinsser web site
Topic - B-I-N for Kitchen Cabinets(1) Problem:
In redecorating my kitchen, I plan to paint the cabinets which now have a
clear high-gloss wood finish. Should I prime with B-I-N?
B-I-N is the best primer for the job. It has great adhesion to glossy
surfaces and dries to a hard abrasion-resistant base coat in 45 minutes.
(Other primers can require up to 14 days to cure completely .) Before
priming, be sure to remove oily greasy deposits by wiping down the cabinet
surfaces with mineral spirits, followed by washing with a 50:50 solution of
ammonia and water.
they claim it will go on w/no sanding but it can't hurt to sand them lightly
w/150-220 grit paper first.
After the primer is cured you can't paint on it w/whatever you like.
Just like with anything else, to get a good result you need to expend
a little elbow grease. Painting to get a good, high quality result,
Here's one way-in ten (easy) steps:
1. Clean the old finish (TSP, soap and water, bleach, whatever works)
2. Allow to dry completely.
5. Prime with an oil based primer.
8. Depending on the finish you want, repeat steps 5, 6, and 7.
10. Depending on the finish you want, repeat step 9, sanding between
This takes time and it makes a lot of dust. But, if you use a high
quality, oil based interior enamel the result you get can be very
good. You can use latex enamel, but then you have to omit all the
sanding between coats of latex. If you omit the sanding the final
result will not be as smooth. If you use a good, semi-gloss, oil based
enamel, you can get a finish that is smooth and beautiful, and can
even be polished to remove minor scratches, using finer and finer
grits of sandpaper (up to 1500 grit) and then some automotive
Good luck. There is a reason cabinet refinishing is so expensive. The
cost of the materials is minor-some sandpaper, a vacuum, paint and
brushes, perhaps some tack cloths. All in all not more than $250.00.
The real expense is in the labor. Figure the time you will spend, then
multiply by anywhere between $15.00 per hour (for a hack) to $30.00 or
$40.00 per hour (for a craftsman, if you can find one) and see how it
BTW, removing cabinet doors is simple and you will probably want new
hardware anyway, so why not go ahead and strip them while they are
off? In doing so you will remove all the old grease and grime, all the
scratches and chips, and be able to fill any imperfections in the wood
before you begin the painting. Just an idea...
(Remove the Primes before e-mailing me)
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