Re-finishing kitchen cabinets: changing color

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Forum topic by optimusprimer92 posted 02-21-2019 07:24 PM 478 views 0 times favorited 24 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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43 posts in 865 days

02-21-2019 07:24 PM

Hey all. I was wondering if it would be possible to paint/stain my kitchen cabinets to white. I know I could paint them generically but the paint would just chip/stick and look like crap after a short while. What I would like to know, is if there is a proper way to strip/sand or remove the finish and how I could go about getting them white while maintaining the durable finish they already have. The cabinets are finished with a product called Aqua Plaz conversion finish. The only thing I know about it is that it is crazy durable. Even my kids haven’t been able to scratch them yet. If you were going to do this project, what would you do?

24 replies so far

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43 posts in 865 days

#1 posted 02-21-2019 07:25 PM

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43 posts in 865 days

#2 posted 02-21-2019 07:27 PM

These are pics of my kitchen. Sorry for the angle.

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2009 posts in 3746 days

#3 posted 02-21-2019 08:34 PM

As much as a hardcore do-it-your-selfer that I am I think I would seriously consider hiring a professional painter for this. You might do some of the prep work yourself to save a little expense by taking the doors and drawers out.

An epoxy product would probably be the best coating to use. Rustoleum actually has a do it yourself “kit” for doing this. It contains a de-glosser, sort of a chemical sandpaper, that is applied first. I don’t know if that would be adequate for the hard varnish finish you currently have. I have used it to prepare a baked on pre-finished metal door and it worked great.

I did a quick internet search and it appears that you can get a Conversion Varnish in color tints. This might be the way to go with regards to compatibility of your current finish and a new one. You may still need to prep the surface by sanding or de-glossing. If you do not feel up to spraying on a finish I would still get a professional.

-- Les B, Oregon

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326 posts in 482 days

#4 posted 02-21-2019 11:29 PM

No need to strip. Clean with tsp, sand with 220, primer, paint.

I would probably just use a product called breakthrough and no primer. I have it in my kitchen. So far it’s been durable.

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935 posts in 854 days

#5 posted 02-21-2019 11:58 PM

I think rustoleum makes a product for painting cabinets but I have no experience with it. The house I own now had the cabinets sprayed with regular wall paint about 4-5 years ago. It’s held up well. The previous owners had it done tho so I don’t know what prep work went into it

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

View Jared_S's profile


134 posts in 262 days

#6 posted 02-22-2019 12:30 AM

Clean, scuff sand and spray them with the paint of your choice. Id stick to something kcma rated for the paint…

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303 posts in 424 days

#7 posted 02-22-2019 01:38 AM

We just painted our island with Valspar Cabinet Enamel paint.
It goes on with a brush, and is really streak free even for a hack painter like me. No need to sand or prime, just clean the cabinets well first. We used 3 coats and it turned out wonderfully. We only did it two weeks or so ago, so I can’t speak to the long term durability yet, but first impression is a hard quality enamel finish… We’re planning on doing the rest of the kitchen when it is warm enough to spray the doors outside.

Of note, I have a buddy who also just did his whole kitchen. They used standard latex and then did a poly over it to make it durable… Something his wife found on Pinterest… It looks great, and I’d imagine the poly would do the job. Can’t see much of a downside on that.

-- Brian Famous :: Charlotte, NC ::

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2237 posts in 3247 days

#8 posted 02-22-2019 02:15 AM

Things like the styles and rails are easy and could be brushed and rolled with good results.

They don’t get much abuse, so don’t have to be bullet proof. As such, a good enamel should last years.

The doors need to be sprayed, for best results. The material you use would depend on how much you are willing to spend and how long you feel it needs to last.

I built mine and already had commercial sprayers, sooooo. If I have to do it again in a few years, Euro hinges pop off quickly. A quick 3-M scuff would prep them enough for the next round.

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326 posts in 482 days

#9 posted 02-22-2019 02:38 AM

No need to sand

They used standard latex and then did a poly over it to make it durable
- BFamous

You are asking for trouble not sanding. Coatings basically work on 2 levels-mechanical and chemical bonding. By not sanding, you are down to chemical bond. Not many paints “bite” hard into a finish meant for kitchens. You may get lucky.

To get a standard white, using latex and poly is a poor choice. Hard finish over soft finish generally doesn’t work well.

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134 posts in 262 days

#10 posted 02-22-2019 02:55 AM

These were golden oak..

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303 posts in 424 days

#11 posted 02-22-2019 03:19 AM

Here’s a close up of our drawers after the cabinet enamel.

-- Brian Famous :: Charlotte, NC ::

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Jack Rigg

29 posts in 71 days

#12 posted 02-22-2019 03:41 AM

TSP, TSP, TSP, Sand, TSP… pick a good quality paint and have at it. Don’t forget the TSP!

-- Jack https://Carterscreekrenovations.Com

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486 posts in 209 days

#13 posted 02-22-2019 03:45 AM

I’ve done several different methods, but without knowing your budget or what tools you have its kind of hard to say, ie do you have a sprayer and place to spray? Cheap methods, i used the rustoleum kit and was not impressed. Had better results using latex enamel with polycryic over them, and that worked great for my wife, who likes to change things every few years. Had even better results just using Benjamin Moore Advance paint. I mostly just use tsp to degloss, but find that it usually is best to scuff sand at least high traffic areas, such as around handles/knobs orr wherever someone may grab or a pan may hit etc.

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1336 posts in 3153 days

#14 posted 02-22-2019 11:40 AM

+1 on the Benjamin Moore ADVANCE paint. If you’ve never used TSP you’ll be amazed, I keep it under the sink at home and have supplies in many of my kitchens for special cleaning projects, it just melts adhered grease like water. I had to replace all of my doors and drawer fronts, with new ones built in the shop. I spent just under $100 for a can of the paint and a can of the recommended primer. It was a hot sticky summer so rather than spray I set up my basement and got a good finish using a short nap mini roller and good quality brush. I applied 2 coats of primer and 3 coats of the paint. Each coat required a good deal of sanding between decreasing in time and grits as the finishes became progressively smoother. Joey at Timberworks did a video that finally led me to the roller. It did take about 3 weeks to complete the task, and all of the woodworking was done in about 3 days. All in, reusing the hardware I did 7 drawer fronts and 29 doors for about $350

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

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Bill Berklich

709 posts in 691 days

#15 posted 02-22-2019 12:29 PM

+2 on DIY My Kitchen looks like Jared_S’. Went white from maple and fixed twenty years of water damage. Even with buying an Earlex HVLP spraying and wasting paint it was cheaper and (I think) the result is better. I used Sherwin-Williams which had to be thinned with Penetrol. Definitely use TSP and hit it with 220grit. I sprayed primer and 2 coats on the doors and rolled the casework and shelves in place with a 3/8” nap roller. You almost can’t see the difference.

-- Bill - Rochester MI

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