How to Restore Old Cabinets

New homeowners often have sticker shock when they first learn the price of new kitchen cabinets. Although the cost of new cabinets varies greatly depending on the material, quantity, and type (stock vs. custom-made), cabinets are known to take up one-third to one-half of a total kitchen remodeling budget. If you’re flabbergasted by the cost of cabinets, we recommend that you try to work with what you’ve already got. If your cabinets are solid and strong, you might be able to restore them to their former glory. Scroll down to learn how to restore old cabinets.

How to Restore Old Cabinets

How to Restore Old Cabinets


Staining is a great way to give your cabinets a facelift, and it can be performed on raw, stained, or painted cabinets.

If you’re applying a darker tone, wash the cabinets first and then (once they’ve dried) sand them lightly. Brush away the dust with a damp cloth and allow them to dry again. Then, apply your chosen stain following the manufacturer’s directions.

If you’re applying a lighter tone, remove any old stain or paint with a paint remover first. You may need to resort to chlorine bleach or a paint stripper if the old stain won’t come off, and a scraper should be used on cabinets with crevices, curves, and etched designs. Fill in any cracks, dents, and scratches with wood filler, and then sand the surface. After that, you can apply the stain and finish with a coat of sealer.


If you would rather add a little color to your cabinets, try painting them. It’s a simple task, though it may take some time. First, use a paint stripper to remove the old paint or finish. If any paint/finish remains, remove it with a scraper. After that, fill in any dents, scratches, or cracks with a wood filler. Then, once the cabinets are dry, sand them by hand. Start with a lower grit (100 grit, for example) and move up to a higher and finer grit like 220. After that, you can apply your paint color. Add a second coat if necessary. Finally, apply a sealer for added protection.


If you can’t spruce up your old cabinets with a stain or paint, consider refacing them. Instead of purchasing a full set of brand new cabinets, use your cabinets’ old bones and cover up their faces. You could purchase new doors, apply veneers, and/or add a peel-and-stick covering. The key is to measure your cabinets meticulously and apply the new features with great care, so that the facelift is seamless and beautiful.


Finally, don’t underestimate the importance of hardware. For a very low price, you can change the look of your cabinets and give them a stylish update. Try adding new handles or pulls for a quick makeover.

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No matter how you choose to restore your cabinets, we can guarantee that you’ll avoid that dreaded sticker shock. Plus, you will feel proud that you’ve recycled your old cabinets, making an eco-friendly choice. If you’re restoring, remodeling, or renovating your house and you live in the southwest Missouri area, please give Adam Cowherd Construction a call at 417-268-7199 or click here for a free quote. We would love to help you build (or restore!) the home of your dreams.