Refinishing Beat Up Kitchen Cabinets


I have beat up kitchen cabinets in a house that I am rehabbing that I am told are made out of maple. There was some mold attached to the outside of the cabinets that appears to clean up reasonably well with soap and water. I refinished one beat up end table with water damage several years ago, and it turned out well, but that is the extent of my experience. Someone told me that I should strip the stain, and go from there. As best I can tell, the cabinets were painted (I don't see much wood grain). They are mostly medium brown although there does appear to be streaks of darker brown.
I don't know where to start, but if I can refinish or restain the cabinets, I would prefer that to the expense of new cabinets. Any help as to whether I can restore the cabinets and, if so, how to do so would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks,
JD
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I would suggest what is called refacing.
Basically you replace the doors and drawers and skin the face frames with peel and stick veneer (on top of a good water-based contact cement) and lay on a 1/8" ply on the sides. Doors typically mounted with euro style hinges.
Options:
1. Pay someone to do this. 2. Buy the doors and drawers from a 3rd party (many on-line) and then reskin the casing yourself. 3. Build your own doors and drawers and reskin the casing.
I've done #3 and it is pretty easy. If you don't want to make your own drawers and doors, then opt for #2. Option #1 is too expensive for as easy as this is to do in my opinion.
You can buy veneer and doors in a number of species including maple, cherry, and oak. I used cherry and finished with a shellac wash coat followed by gel stain and a wipe on poly/oil finish.
Unless your casings are falling apart or you want to change the overall look and configuration of the kitchen, it is an easy update. I did my bathrooms as well -- everyone thinks we had new cabinets installed.
Rocker (www.rocker.com) has supplies but there are other vendors as well. There is a book that takes you through the whole process.
Good luck.
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DaileyJohn wrote:

I stripped a kitchen a couple of years ago. I took all of the doors off and all of the hinges off of the doors. Then I used Citrus strip from Lowe's. I stripped the cabinet face frames on-site. I stripped the doors in my shop. I stained and poly'd the face frames after stripping and sanding lightly. I used a brush on the frames and side panels on-site. I stained the doors with a brush and a rag and poly'd the doors with my HVLP gun.
The house was vacant while I was doing the work inside. That was a good thing. The vapors would make a person sick. Overall, the job took longer than I thought it would, but not by much. The results were incredible. The cabinets weren't in too bad a shape, but someone had done a botch-job faux finish to make the door panels look like leather. They looked dirty, horrible. Gentlemen, a sponge job in Polyshades does not look like leather. It does take a good amount of scraping to get that crap off even with a good amount of stripper.
Extreme home make over fans and faux finish guru's,,SCREW YOU! I've been going behind you cleaning up the crap long enough. You should have to pay for the dumpster charges at the very least.
Tom in KY, don't do stupid things to your home. You're on the right track John.
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Squarei4dtoolguy wrote:
<<Extreme home make over fans and faux finish guru's,,SCREW YOU! I've been going behind you cleaning up the crap long enough. >>
Gawd how I love those guys. Send them to me!
After they have tried to fix their walls, refinish cabinets, set tile, replace doors, replace windows, fix roofs.... MOST want nothing more to do with it. IF they finish their home improvement project, IF, then they usually don't want to do any more of them.
And since they are rarely satisfied with their results, I have a good client. How?
They now know "it ain't all that easy", they think whatever kind of work it is they want done just sucks, and they think it takes too long on top of that. Most of them don't really understand just how dirty, messy, smelly and time consuming all the processes are they see on TV. They also don't know that they guys have consultants that don't let those knotheads get in too deep. And better still for me, if they aren't satisfied with the end results they are happy to have someone take over.
Price is rarely and issue at that point. They are greatful to have someone bail them out.
Robert
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Robert,
You wasted your time venting against do-it-yourselfers. I have hired someone to rehab my house (which is a rehab to sell and not for me to live in), and he has agreed to either install new cabinets or refinish what I have and prefers to install new cabinets. I always try to learn about the process used before I make a decision about which way to go. I will personally strip one cabinet door before I decide which way to go. This is the third house I have rehabbed, and if you listen to everything the contractors tell you, you will end up paying triple the cost of a rehab. Just to give one short example, I was dismissively told on one house by several HVAC guys that I had to toss a perfectly good electric heater when I installed a heat pump. Only, after persistently challenging their advice did I find a good installer who installed the new heat pump with the old heater, which worked fine.
Also, on a previous house, I had a different contractor restain old cabinets and that worked well. These cabinets are different, and I want to make the best decision for what is best for the house. If others have tips as to the best way to strip and refinish the cabinets, I would appreciate their comments. I really appreciated Jerry's comments.
JD
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JD:
Apparently you chose to personalize the comments I made. Read carefully, I am not venting or maligning DIYers, many of them pay my bills. Some actually turn out to be great clients (again, with some attentive reading you would have seen this in my post).
You are obviously much more in tune with things and how they are done than the average man/woman that watches a DIY show (which in reading carefully the exact quote was top posted for your easy reference) and then goes out and tears up their house. My response was aimed directly at the quote I supplied.
As far as you choice of contractors and your bad experiences, it is no different than any other profession. There are good ones, bad ones, dishonest and honest ones. I'll bet that could even be said for your profession. Who cares?
I liked Jerry's advice too, but again, with careful (OK, not so careful) scrutiny you could see that I was not responding to his post. I quoted no one else other than the post immeidiately before mine. Where did you think I was "venting"? Very Oprah of you, BTW. I am not angry at all with the DIYers... frankly I never think of them at all.
You shouldn't wear your feelings on your sleeve. You will live in constant pain. And just for a minute.... did it occur to you that what I posted could actually be my own personal experiences and have nothing to do with you?
Robert
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