Serving South Jersey For More Than Two Decades

Contact ForbesPaint
For A Free Estimate

Cabinet Refinishing Procedure

Jim Forbes of ForbesPaint, which performs cabinet refinishing in South Jersey, works hard to make sure his customers are satisfied with his work. Below is an outline of his cabinet refinishing procedure.


All grease will be cleaned from cabinet frames, under upper cabinets, and especially around the stove area. This is usually done with a degreaser or denatured alcohol.

All doors and drawers are removed from the cabinet base. These items will be prepared and painted at Jim’s workshop.

The surface of the base cabinetry is sanded and scuffed to prepare for painting. Jim will wipe down and vacuum up dust and film left on cabinetry.

Masking Off

All areas that are not to be painted need to be protected or masked with tape and paper or masking film. This includes the countertop, all appliances, and the floor. Certain areas of the walls and ceilings will be covered as well. In addition, if only the front or exterior side of the cabinetry is to receive paint, then the interior of the cabinetry will be masked off as well.


Primer is applied to all surfaces of the cabinetry – usually with a spray gun to provide a smooth, even finish. In this case, a fan is installed temporarily in a nearby window to vent odor along with “tenting” off the area to keep atomized spray from traveling into adjoining areas of the home.

Depending on the type of primer used, two to three coats will usually fully cover the cabinets. If another paint is used, then one coat of primer is sufficient under the paint.

Finish Coat

In most cases, the primer is colored or tinted to produce the color desired. In other cases, paint is used to provide the color for the cabinetry. The colored paint is also applied by spray gun with enough coats to completely and evenly cover the primer coat.

Clear Coat

Several coats of water-based polyurethane are applied by spray gun to the cabinetry to provide the durability and washability needed to withstand continuous use. The polyurethane resists chipping more than a coat of acrylic paint.

Doors And Drawers

The procedure for painting the doors and drawers is the same as the base cabinetry. However, it requires a little more time due to the nature of the door. Each door must be painted on both sides. Each side is painted separately because it must lie flat to allow each coat on each side to dry. This is best done in a workshop where a spray booth and shelves provide a better, more manageable area in which to work. Also, since the doors are being painted, hinges are removed, allowing for new hinges to be attached to accommodate newer styles or models. The “old holes” are filled, and new holes are aligned and drilled. Hinges are attached when the doors are ready to be re-hung.

Drying And Curing

It usually takes about three to five days to paint the base cabinetry, remove all masking, and clean up the area. The kitchen can be used fully the next day. The doors and drawers require about another three to five days to complete, depending on whether new hardware is used to replace the old hardware and if the new style requires some adjustments.

Upon hanging the doors and installing the drawers, “bumpers” are applied to the doors (small, clear, self-sticking purchased from home stores) to prevent the doors from slamming against the base cabinetry. The cabinetry cures or dries hard in about a week. It is best to refrain from scrubbing the cabinets for at least two weeks after the cabinets have been painted.


Cleaning the newly painted cabinetry is easy. Wiping with clean water and a soft sponge is all that is needed. If scrubbing is necessary, then a sponge with an abrasive (green) backing can be used with water. Soap can be used but leaves a dry film if not adequately cleaned with water.