How to refinish kitchen cabinets in high gloss white

Written by b.t. alo
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How to refinish kitchen cabinets in high gloss white
Revive your kitchen by refinishing the cabinets with high-gloss white paint. (Kraig Scarbinsky/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Nothing reinvigorates a kitchen like a gloss of fresh paint over the cabinets. If you want your kitchen to shine like new, then refinishing in high-gloss white will do the trick. Refinishing takes a lot of work, especially if you want the glasslike sheen that high-gloss paints can achieve; but your efforts will be well spent, and doing it yourself will cost you much less than hiring a professional to do the job.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Plastic bag or container
  • Deglosser
  • Rubber gloves
  • Nylon scourer
  • Soft cloth
  • Wood putty
  • Putty scraper
  • Dust mask
  • 150-grit sandpaper
  • Painter's tape
  • Dust sheets
  • Oil-based primer
  • Paintbrush or roller
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • Oil-based, high-gloss white paint

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  1. 1

    Remove the doors of the cabinets along with the hinges and handles, using the screwdriver. Keep the hardware in a plastic bag or container.

  2. 2

    Clean the cabinet thoroughly inside and out with the deglosser. Use rubber gloves and a nylon scourer when cleaning, and follow the instructions on the deglosser label. Rinse the cabinets with clean water and rub them dry with a soft cloth.

  3. 3

    Inspect the cabinets for dents, scratches or any other imperfections. Scrape wood putty over the dents or scratches to fill them, and let the putty dry. Check the putty label for approximate drying times.

  4. 4

    Put on your dust mask, then sand all the cabinets with 150-grit sandpaper. Wipe over the cabinets with a soft cloth to remove sanding dust.

  5. 5

    Mask off the cabinet surrounds with painter's tape to protect the walls, and cover the benches, sink and any bench-top appliance with a dust sheet.

  6. 6

    Paint a coat of primer onto the cabinets, painting along the grain of the wood. If you're using a roller, press lightly or else the primer will bubble. Let the surfaces dry the amount of time stipulated on the primer's packaging label.

  7. 7

    Sand the cabinets with 220-grit sandpaper once the primer is dry. Wipe over the sanded area with the soft cloth, then brush on another coat of primer and leave to dry.

  8. 8

    Sand the cabinets again with 220-grit sandpaper, and wipe the surface again. Apply two coats of high-gloss white paint in the same way you did the primer, allowing the paint to dry and sanding between each coat. The sanding between coats may seem tiresome, but it is the key to achieving a super-glossy, glasslike finish.

  9. 9

    Leave the cabinets to dry for a minimum of two days before reattaching the hardware and hanging the cabinet doors. This ensures that the paint is cured well and won't scratch when you attach the hardware.

Tips and warnings

  • New handles can add to the revival of your kitchen. If you've purchased new handles that have screw holes in placements different than those of your old handles, putty up the old screw holes when you putty over scratches and dents in the cabinets.

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