How to Refinish Veneer Kitchen Cabinets

Well, having veneer in your house can get messy quickly if you don’t know how to take care of it. Since cracked veneer can’t be fixed, and the surface can build up with grim, there isn’t much you can do to keep it looking like new. But, with the right preparation, you can learn how to paint it so it looks brand new.

First off, you need to fix any problems with the veneer, use wood glue to affix veneer back to the original surface. Unfortunately cracked or missing pieces of veneer cannot be fixed. You will need to remove the damaged piece and glue a new piece in its place.

Clean the surface with hot water removing any grease or grime. A simple solution containing a few drops of dish soap should work, do not saturate the surface. Please note that if the veneer is cracked, peeling or missing you should hold off on cleaning and fix this problem first as veneer is usually covering particle board (MDF) which breaks down when wet.

After drying, lightly sand the veneer (do not sand through veneer) and use tack cloth to remove all of the dust created on the surface. You may also want to clean up any dust around the surface to be painted or you have the potential to have the dust blow into your fresh paint.

Apply primer at least 2 coats. Allow to dry for 24 hours. You may need to sand between coats of primer, depends on smoothness of surface desired. Apply paint, 2 coats for light paint, generally more for darker colors. Lastly, seal with 2-4 coats of varnish if the surface is going to be used as a work surface.

If you have wood-veneer cabinets, different thing would work with the refinishing. The surfaces of these cabinets are real wood, but they generally can’t be sanded down for staining, because you risk taking off the veneer and exposing the sub-material. However, veneer surfaces can be re-glossed, which is often enough to brighten them up and provide a new look. Things you will need, screwdriver, newspapers, 100-grit sandpaper, 120-grit sandpaper, polyeurethane gloss and Brushes.

Firstly, remove the cabinet doors and set them on newspapers on the floor. Remove all hinges and hardware with a screwdriver and set it aside.
Next, lightly sand the entire surface of the cabinets and doors with 100-grit sandpaper. Sand it just enough to take off the shine of the old gloss, without going all the way down to the wood surface. Wipe the sanding dust off everything.

And then, starting at the top of the cabinets, use your brush to apply a light layer of gloss to the wood. Brush with the grain of the wood in short, slow strokes, avoiding drips and bubbles. Let it dry for a day.Then lightly buff the new gloss with 120-grit sandpaper, just enough to take off the shine. Apply a second coat of gloss in the same manner as the first. Let it dry.Then apply a third coat in the same way, buffing the gloss and brushing on a thin, new layer. After it dries, put the cabinet doors and hardware back on.

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