How can I refinish oil-base painted cabinets without sanding?


We just bought a new house and the previous owner stained the kitchen cabinets (rather sloppily) with a very dark stain and then topped it with a thick layer of polyurethane. I want to brighten up the very small space, but extensive sanding in the inside the house (winter!!!!) Would not be good for my mom and aunt (92 yrs and 99 yrs). Suggestions???

  4 answers
  • Janice Janice on Jan 02, 2019

    I would clean the cabinets well with TSP and water and rinse well, then apply a stain blocker primer such as Kilz or Zinsser. Then apply the paint color of your choice. To insure coverage, perhaps try in an inconspicuous area first such as a side cabinet next to a refrigerator or stove to insure the stainblocking primer "takes". If it doesn't you may have to resort to sanding next summer.

  • Kelli L. Milligan Kelli L. Milligan on Jan 02, 2019

    Not really. Actually the best thing to do is strip it but that is a big mess and can be smelly. Without sanding off the sheen, paint will chip easily. Sorry for your problem.

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Jan 02, 2019

    Hi Kimberly! I would strip the finish before refinishing them. A product like Citristrip has minimal fumes and works well. If you do them a section at a time, and they need sanding once you are done, use a sander with a bag to collect the debris. I have a palm sander with an attached bag that works well. You could put plastic over the door(s) to minimize dust.

  • William William on Jan 02, 2019

    All you need is to lightly sand to remove the shine. Prime with Kilz primer then paint your color