How do I remove 5 layers of paint off old cabinets still hanging?


We have a home that was built in 1960 and I believe every owner prior to us painted the cabinets in our very small kitchen (we don't even have a pantry). The cabinets are built into the wall, they are not screwed to the studs like most are and we have no way of removing them, probably why there are so many layers of paint. We are trying to prevent another layer but don't want to sand because we are afraid of lead paint underneath. Is there a way to remove the paint with chemicals while they are still hanging. We already priced out a new kitchen and OUCH! So here we are trying to make it work. Oh ya they are painted baby poo green right now.

  9 answers
  • Patsy47 Patsy47 on Mar 15, 2019

    paint stripper...messy job but seems like only option🤐

  • Zard Pocleeb Zard Pocleeb on Mar 15, 2019

    You can use a heat gun. The heat gun will soften the paint so you can scrape it off with a scraper. Below is a link to Amazon and a picture of one.

  • Deb Polson Deb Polson on Mar 15, 2019

    There is an environmentally safe paint stripper called Ready Strip. You have to be extremely careful and use good face masks (not the paper kind). There could be lead paint in one or more layers. Also, you might be able to get some advice from a professional furniture/cabinet painter or repair place.

  • William William on Mar 15, 2019

    Citristrip stripper. Thick for vertical surfaces. Removes layers of paint.

  • V Smith V Smith on Mar 16, 2019

    There is a paint stripping system called Peel Away. I learned about it by watching This Old House. First you apply the stripper then you press on a special Peel Away paper. Give it time to do it's thing and then you peel the paper off and the paint comes with it. I have used this system in a very old house, and it is effective to a point. I found that most of the layers of paint did disolve and attach to the paper, however, once the chemistry reached the original lead based paint it was not effective. For that layer I dawned a respirator and went to work with a heat gun.

  • Flipturn Flipturn on Mar 16, 2019

    Have you considered purchasing new doors only? (This is called refacing.) It is a fraction of the cost of entirely new cabinets, and is far less work than removing old layers of paint, and then repainting.

  • Pjo26908388 Pjo26908388 on Mar 16, 2019

    I like Citristrip- put it on and cover with plastic wrap and leave it for a day. Citristrip products are nice.

    A heat gun is amazing at melting through the worst paint. Do it outside and wear a mask. It is the cheapest and easiest way.

    I've also sent out doors/drawers to be "dipped" professionally. It can be worth it as it will save some time and give you a fresh door/drawer to start with.

    If if you get through some of the paint you may discover an attractive began from all of the old paint layers- Let's hope!

  • Cindy Cindy on Mar 16, 2019

    There are several paint removers at a hardware store in the paint department. Just ask which one is the best. You have a big job to do.

  • Ellis Ellis on Mar 16, 2019

    Your job will be much easier if you can take the doors off the cabinets and work on them in the basement or garage. There are a number of relatively safe paint stripping products.

    Then the only part of the cabinets you'll have to work on in the kitchen is the frames.

    If you go this route, make sure to mark each door so you know where it came from, so you can put them back exactly where they were.

    • Dana Humphries Dana Humphries on Mar 18, 2019

      Yes we knew to take off the door and mark them. We knew it would be a chore to do the bases and the cost difference of repainting and replacing is astronomical. We just were looking for something that would not drip on my granite countertops that the previous owners put in before we bought the house. Luckily it in a mall kitchen with only 4 sets of cabinets.

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