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Touching Up Your Kitchen Cabinets

by Greg Keefer

Cabinets become dinged up after a few years in a busy household and eventually need a face lift. You might be tempted to replace your old set but before you do give some thought to rejuvenating it.

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Kitchen Cabinet Touch-Ups: When Should I Try Them?

It's usually a good idea to take your cabinet down to the wood and start over again, but it's not always necessary. Matching an old, weathered finish of any sort can be tricky, so you should only attempt it when the damage is in areas that aren't readily visible. Good candidates for a quick fix-up are door and frame edges with rub damage, spots near the floor, or on the inside of the doors.

Here are some tips to make your touch-up job a success:

  • Visit the home improvement store. Walking into the store with a cabinet door in hand gives you an opportunity to exactly match the finish or paint color you already have.
  • Remove cabinet doors from the frame. Working on the doors is much easier on a horizontal surface than standing upright.
  • Use wood putty for patching. Fill in cracks, dents, and small holes with the putty and let it dry thoroughly. Use fine sandpaper to smooth the surface and blend in the repair.
  • Paint. Pick the color paint with eventual fading in mind.
  • Stain. Damaged wood needs to be stained before any finish is applied. It's nearly impossible to completely hide a re-stained section of wood, but it becomes much less noticeable than before.
  • Finish. Shellac, polyurethane, and varnish are commonly used. If you can determine what the original finish is, touch up the newly stained areas with the same.

A little time and effort saves you the cost of replacing your cabinets and adds years to their life.

About the Author

Greg Keefer has been a do-it-yourselfer with lots of experience in how to do things right and how to do them wrong. He enjoys sharing his experience with the hope of helping others to

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