Frequently Asked Questions about Cabinet Refinishing:

Plastic Vinyl Coated cabinets, veneers, Melamine:

We can refinish your cabinets in an opaque paint color of your choice without any problem. Whether your cabinets are vinyl, thin plastic veneers, or melamine over particle board; with the right primer and prep work your cabinets can be refinished and still have great durability. Staining is a bit different in that the plastic does not have actual wood pores and grain to soak up the stain. Therefore you won’t be able to get an enhancing of the grain nor a suitable surface for the stain to dry to. Here we will work with special stains to slowly change the color tone of your cabinets while working on top of the faux wood grain.

Types of Wood and Concerns:

We can work with any kind of wood out there. Many people think that large pores in wood such as oak will never look good once painted. That could not be further from the truth. With the proper prep work, pores can be filled and your heavily grained wood with large pores can look surprisingly smooth and clean. We will use a variety of techniques and wood fillers to get the ultimate desired look.   How much will it cost

We are always curious about kitchen remodel choices and their costs. Naturally there are a lot of choices out there with a wide range of options when it comes to quality. According to www.remodeling.hw.net, the average cost of a major kitchen remodel where cabinets are being torn out and replaced is $59,999 for 2016. A minor kitchen remodel comes in on average at $20,122. Big box stores as well as local carpenters will run $6,000-$16,000 for the replacement of cabinets in an average smaller kitchen and the price only goes up from there. Remodeling and updating is one of the most important parts of owning a home and keeping it’s resale value ahead of the curve. Not to mention day to day personal enjoyment. This is why we believe that it’s so important to spend your money wisely where it matters. If you are working within a particular budget why not update your existing cabinets by refinishing them, adding wood molding, as well as hardware. Now you will have a sizable chunk of money left over to redo your kitchen floor, backsplash, countertop, appliances, lighting, and wall color. Pricing does vary when if comes to your kitchen’s refinishing. Depending on the size of your kitchen and finish look chosen, the price can vary. As a safe estimate, expect 4 to 6 times less expensive than the costs of replacing your cabinets with new ones for an averaged sized kitchen.

Here are some facts you need to know about costs:

Kitchen Remodeling:
According to a 2015 study done by the National Association of Realtors and Realtor Magazine, the average cost of a 200sqft. minor kitchen remodel in the mid range of quality was $19,226. For a major kitchen remodel in the mid range of quality the average was $56,768. For the upscale major kitchen remodel, the average was $113,097. www.realtormag.realtor.org
The average time for kitchen cabinet replacement takes 3 to 6 weeks typically. It takes this long because you have to tear out your old kitchen cabinets and countertops, measure for your new cabinets, wait for the new cabinets to be made, shipping of those cabinets, and installing those new cabinets. By tearing out and replacing your cabinets you run into a whole host of problems and unforseen costs. These costs range from countertop compatibility issues, damage to the back splash and walls, to flooring problems where you see the footprint of the old cabinets where your wood floor finish is different. Replacement is very risky for the homeowner and big business for the contractors. 

What to expect during the refinishing process:

Initial Set up: 
This is when the initial set up and prep will take place. All doors and drawers are taken down and will be refinished off site to minimize client inconvenience and to maximize finished results in a dust free environment. This is also when your kitchen will be completely taped off and sealed off to limit migration of dust and paint to the rest of the house. This is not an easy task but will ensure a dust free environment to get you the results that you expect. This sealing off of the kitchen will also allow for one way air movement and exhausting of any paint fumes to the outdoors through an onsite ventilation system. If you the client requires access to your kitchen while the refinishing is underway, that can be arranged and we can walk you through when it will be okay to enter your kitchen to access your appliances.  


We like to tape everything off with thick paper and tape which will protect your floors, counters, appliances, cabinet bodies, walls, and ceiling. This full kitchen prep and taping off requires more work at the beginning but will speed up the overall refinishing process, assure a factory finish, and aid in cleanup at the end. We can work around all appliances and will treat your kitchen like it’s our own.  


Noise will be kept to a minimum. Expect the only noise to come from the initial sanding step and the compressor used when spraying your cabinet bodies. Refinishing your doors and drawers offsite will also minimize noise and foot traffic within your home. The initial set up of sealing off the kitchen will be very quiet and nothing motorized will be used. 

Average Job Length:

This always depends on the the size of your kitchen and the amount of work that will be done to achieve your desired look. On most occasions if you are simply changing the color of your kitchen with a glaze applied, it will take on average of 3 to 5 days. This is purely due to allowing proper time for cabinet coatings to dry between coats and prep time for the project. If you find a person who claims they can refinish your kitchen any faster be aware that they are most likely cutting corners with your kitchen refinishing. I keep in touch with the best refinishers across the country and there are no shortcuts when it comes to proper steps to refinishing cabinets. Chemical deglossers or no-sanding solutions should never be used. There is a reason why all of the fine furniture and refinishers around the world are still sanding manually with good old fashioned sand paper. (please see below for more information.) If water based paints are used, the process will take longer due to their slow drying time. On average your kitchen cabinets will have 3 to 5 coats in total of color, stain, and clear coats on them. All of which need to dry before moving on to the next step. For water based paints, expect 1 week on average. We can however use water based lacquers and conversion varnishes which will dry faster and put the average project around 3-5 days. 

Is sanding necessary?

We feel that sanding is one of the most important parts in preparation for any refinishing Project. It’s a necessary evil. There are products out there that claim their product will stick to an unsanded surface. There are also DIY products that have solvent based and water based solutions that are applied to an existing surface instead of sanding. These are known as deglossers, liquid deglossers, liquid sandpaper, and other “proprietary” no sand solutions that are all the same thing with varying chemicals. You eliminate the dust when they are used so it’s something that creates interest for a home owner and do-it-yourselfers. There are problems with these products and the manufacturers will never tell you anything negative about their product. No-Sand solutions don’t do any real sanding. They only dissolve the surface coat to remove the gloss. All cabinets have some sort of imperfections and roughness to them which should be smoothed and leveled before they are refinished. No-sand solutions do not smooth your cabinets for the refinishing process to begin.

Like most things, it comes down to physics and chemistry:

Most factory cabinets that are in homes are finished with very durable and hard catalyzed paints and clear coats. These usually are catalyzed lacquers, conversion varnishes, two-part polyurethanes, and UV cured finishes. These are high quality extremely durable finishes designed to not be affected by acids and chemicals and are very solvent resistant. It is rarely possible to dull these finishes short of abrading them with sand paper or steel wool. 

There are a wide range of chemically catalyzed finish products out there so which do you have? Can your refinisher tell? In order to use a no-sand solution it needs to be made of harsh chemicals that will eat away/disolve these hard cured surfaces on your cabinets. Most likely a no-sand solution will not be able to properly dissolve these surfaces. If they do, how are they changing the integrity of that now dissolved coating which all new coats of finish will be applied onto? We have experimented with these products and have not been happy with any of them. When sanding with sandpaper you know exactly what your grit size is and how deep your scratches will be. These scratches create three dimensional surfaces which paint needs to mechanically and adequately adhere to. How deep does a no-sand product eat into your surface? Under a microscope what does that surface really look like? We use products that will stick without sanding to most surfaces but we still need to sand to achieve the ultimate surface for your initial coat of finish to adhere to. Many forget that cabinets take more abuse than just about any surface in your home. For a finish to last the long term, the surface needs to be prepped correctly and that means sanding. 

Clear Coats:

We clear coat all of our cabinet jobs. We believe that a clear coat within a kitchen is vital to the longevity of your cabinets. Unlike walls, base boards, crown molding, and even a heavily used door, kitchen cabinets are abused on a daily basis. From tomato sauce being splashed on them, cleaning them, leaning against them at waist level, to continually touching them while opening and closing them they experience an unbelievable amount of abuse. 
Here is a simple question; would you want your car painted without a protective clear coat? It’s amazing to speak to paint manufacturers and painters where they all claim that their paint is so good that there is no need to apply a clear coat over their paint. We strongly disagree with this view. Paint is still only paint and it’s only so strong. Here is another example to think about. Would you want a car without a bumper? Yes the car will still get you from point A to point B. Maybe even last  300,000 miles but what happens when you do have a collision? We feel clear coats over paint are a necessary barrier between the painted or stained surface and the daily abuse that will come in contact with your cabinet surface. Clear coats are simply more durable, easier to clean, and easier to repair than a scratched, dented, or chipped paint surface. 

Water Based Paint and Paint Fumes:

We proudly use water based paints, clear coats, and stains as well as solvent born coatings. However, there is still a place for solvent based products such as lacquers and oil based paints and stains where necessary. Over the last decade water based products have come a long ways and are light years ahead of what they were just a short while back. With state regulations becoming more and more stringent on toxic chemicals and solvents that make up paint, manufacturers of paint products have been forced to invest in the advancement of paint alternatives that will hold up to the traditional oil based products. With the use of water based products there is a dramatic decrease in the release of VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds. An added benefit to water based paints is that there is no risk of fire and everything is water clean up. In the past, not only did you have the large release of VOCs into the air but you had to use harsh chemicals such as acetone and paint thinner to clean the painting materials which added even more VOCs into the air.

If you have any questions give us a call! 808-283-1099 or use our contact form here.

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