Asked on Apr 23, 2019

How do I remove layers of varnish from my kitchen cabinets ?



What is the easiest way to remove gloss finish off my kitchen cabinets? They have 2-3 coats of clear coat on them, so thick you can see every brush stroke. They were that way when I bought the house. Do I have to take them down and sand them? Even the hinges are covered in varnish and the screws won't come out. They are very dark and ugly. I want to paint them a pretty white to lighten up the kitchen. thanks

2 answers
  • Megan
    on Apr 23, 2019

    I would try TSP to remove the brush strokes from the gloss and lightly sand with 220 grit sand paper until you have a smooth finish. You can use a chalk based or mineral paint to paint your cabinets. These paints require no sanding or priming. :) You can check out how I painted kitchen cabinets white with chalk paint here. :)

    Chalk paint also makes it so you do not have to take your cabinets down. :)

  • William
    on Apr 23, 2019

    Megan has got it. No need to remove all the finish just the gloss. You can also use acrylic or alkyd paint.

    How to Paint Cabinets

    Make sure they are clean and dry. Remove the doors and hardware. Mark the doors and cabinets with tape where they go. Lightly sand the doors and cabinets to remove any gloss and roughen the surface for paint with 220 grit sandpaper or a green Scotch Brite pad.. Use a tack cloth or damp rag to remove dust after sanding. Prime with a stain blocking primer like KILZ. Acrylic or water base paints are low-fume and clean up easily with water. Alkyd or oil-based paints require good ventilation because the paint contains solvents that can irritate your lungs and make you feel sick. Alkyd options require mineral spirits for cleanup, but they provide a hard, durable paint finish. Whichever you use, buy the best-quality paint you can afford for a lasting kitchen cabinet finish. Seal with at least three coats with a water based polyurethane. Use a small foam roller and foam brush for a smooth finish.

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