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Learn about DIY projects, such as those related to mosaic artwork, cabinetry refinishing, repurposing, using General Finishes milk paint and other products, etc.  Not only do I like to sell my artwork and to refinish cabinetry for clients, I also like to educate people on these types of projects.  You will be surprised about the things you can do or create yourself, if you're willing to put in the time and effort!  There's no perfection in art-there's a long road of mistake after mistake to produce a finished product!

Do Your Cabinets Need a Facelift? (And, Is It Worth the Price?)

Do you sometimes look at the cabinetry in your kitchen and think (with a high level of irritation), "I need to have these replaced!" You can plainly see the nicks and dings in certain areas, maybe a couple of them are half-falling off the hinges, or maybe they're solid but severly outdated. If you do have this thought, maybe your next thought (possibly a rather deflating one) is, "Right, but I also need to win the lotto before I could do something like that!" As you know, the chances of that happening are practically nil I'm not saying it could never happen, but if your luck is like mine, it's probably not going to happen any time soon that your next ticket purchase is a winning one. So, what is there left to do?


Maybe you're already aware of the fact that, if your cabinets are in good enough shape, they can be repainted versus replaced. If possessing this knowledge hasn't already set you on a path to the nearest paint store to find out or even buy all the materials you need to do the job yourself, the reason is probably this simple--you're aware of the time and energy it takes, which seems like it's synonymous to climbing Mount Everest, or at least it is from what you can tell, having never done a project like it. Even after spending hours and hours on various blogs or Pinterest watching DIY videos, the reality of the time involved to take on such an endeavor seems like a daunting task, maybe even like cloning would have to be involved, especially if you're working full-time, and, oh, let's not forget, running kids around to various places. So, then what happens? The "painting the kitchen cabinets" project," the one you swear to your friends could happen, if you pnly had an extra week of vacation, goes on the list (yeah, that "one list"), which is the equivalent to something like Ed McMahon showing up on your doorstep with a check for a billion dollars for winning a sweepstakes you never entered--it never happens.


Or, maybe you're not aware of the fact that there are services available that will not only make your cabinets look like they're brand new, like you did, indeed, purchase new ones, but also services that will create that much longed for updated kitchen for a much more reasonable price than what it costs to get new ones. If this is the case, or even one where a contractor you know has discouraged you from doing such a thing, then you've stumbled across this article for good reason.


While the reality of an estimate for such a service may possibly make you gulp a bit (at first), if you are dealing with a refinisher who has experience, you will find out, if you move forward by hiring them, that you will end up with the best of both worlds--like-new cabinets without taking out a second mortgage. Who doesn't love that?


An experienced refinisher will generally charge a flat fee of $250-$300 for supplies, $70-$75 per cabinet door, and $30-$35 per drawer. This price will include a laborious and necessary deep cleaning followed by a small amount of scuff-sanding in order to remove the natural oils from people's hands as well as dirt that becomes ingrained over time no matter how often cabinets are cleaned with an all-purpose cleaner. (WARNING: To skip this vital step, most particularly when having your cabinets refinished in white or a lighter color, is asking for yellowing to occur in spots where the cabinets' doors and drawers are handled most often, and it will happen regardless of the paint products that are used. For the money you might be spending, there's nothing more aggravating than to see this yellowing occur and then have to go through starting from the beginning again to remedy the problem).


If you want your cabinets painted a solid color (versus having them restained), an experienced refinisher will use a good stain blocker as the first layer to prevent bleed through , especially on certain types of cabinets. Darker colored cabinets or ones that have any red hues in them require a stain blocker, which will also keep the grain of any wood or any old paint color from resurfacing. A stain blocker is important, too, to keep from having to paint more than two coats of paint, which usually should be enough to achieve the solid paint color. A good stain blocker is usually pretty thick and requires proper application.


During the next part of the process, it's also beneficial if your refinisher will be spraying your cabinets versus hand-painting them to prevent from leaving visible brush strokes behind. Even if your refinisher is experienced at hand-painting, a sprayer is the better option since sprayers were specifically developed to avoid the chance of seeing brush strokes on the finished job. Unless you have a sprayer already on hand and know how to use it, if you decide to do the cabinets on your own, it's unlikely you'd splurge the $350 or higher it costs to purchase a good one just to do your cabinets. Most refinishers, however, already possess a good sprayer as a part of their tool inventory and are experienced as to how to apply the various products required to do a professional job.


With regard to the paint itself, an experienced refinisher will guide you towards choosing a paint that is specifically designed for cabinets and/or furniture. One paint such as milk paint is a good choice since its properties will insure it to become more so ingrained in the wood than something like chalk paint. I, personally, used to be an advocate of chalk paint. It was mostly because I was unaware of anything else as well as inexperienced when it came to painting cabinets and fell prey to the idea that most chalk paint companies promote--that chalk paint covers all surfaces with almost no need for sandind or any major prepping. This simply is not true for high-traffic surfaces such as cabinetry. While it's true that chalk paint covers almost all surfaces, there are problems that can occur as a result of using this type of paint. Thankfully, by the time I figured this out, I had not painted any cabinets, and when I finally did, I was well-aware of the need to prep so that yellowing didn't occur. (I had painted enough furniture, including pieces that were considered high-traffic ones, to know that not only would yellowing occur, but so would also the probability of scratches occuring in areas that were handled often. Again, there is nothing more aggravating than having to start the process from the beginning to resolve this issue.)


Finally, an experienced refinisher will use a topcoat to seal the paint color in as well as to protect your cabinets from the daily wear-and-tear. Again, my inexperience prior to cabinetry refinishing (lots of learning the hard way) put me in the position to not be able to explain the paint scratching off high-traffic pieces when the product I was using at the time supposedly didn't do that, and I was unable to offer a top coat alternative to my clients since most chalk paint companies only offer a wax or some type of matte clear coat. (I have to interject here and say that I am not discrediting chalk paint whatsoever. It is an awesome product to use on many types of projects. For projects such as cabinet refinishing, however, it is not as durable as it needs to be in order to support all the handling that cabinets take.)


There are other issues involving cabinetry refinishing that I have not touched upon in this article. However, as a cabinet refinisher, the ones that I have discussed seem to be the issues most of my clients have asked me about or wanted reassurance about before they've signed a contract. And, if they haven't asked me about it, I've felt it's my duty to walk them through the process, so that they were fully aware of their options, and so that they know the money they're spending is going to result in the magnificent face lift they were dying to give their cabinets in the first place!

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