"The Butcher", aka Cameron, doesn't really live up to his last name. There is no meat cutting or anything that has to do with blood or slaughtering in his life, but we always thought it would be the best ongoing laugh if he ever became a surgeon. "The Baker", aka Ashley (me!), thinks she can bake, but for some unexplainable reason, her cupcake business just didn't quite take-off. We'll blame that on the mass amounts of people following the same dream. Together, Cameron and Ashley have bought their first home. A home of our dreams? Well, it isn't a dump by any means, but it definitely needs some taste. Although, individually, Cameron and Ashley could strip any screw they come in contact with, together, they can actually accomplish big projects with the right direction, some creativity, and a fair share of bickering.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Refinishing Our Kitchen Cabinets, Oak to White

I never knew how big of a project this was going to be and when the Home Depot man in the painting department convinced me that this was only going to be a weekend project, I should have not been so gullible.  Sure... this can be done in a weekend if I didn't like to sleep, had the ability to work non-stop, and I had 6 more hands!!  But, this isn't the case and in the end it took about 6 solid weekends.  There was a point half way through where I just thought the end of this project was never going to be reached and I seriously had to fight the urge to take a sledge hammer and just beat these cabinets down until I did enough damage and Cameron would be forced to purchase all new ones!!  Thank goodness we don't own a tool stronger then a hammer =).

We decided to test out the Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations kits that can be found at Home Depot.  I heard good reviews online and the process appeared pretty simple and inexpensive.

I think the entire kit cost around $75.

I picked up some other tools and paint brushes and began our project.  The easiest step: tape around the frame, take down kitchen cabinets, remove hinges, and number your doors!!  This is a very important step because so many doors look similar, but they aren't.  During the whole process, the numbered tape fell off a couple times and it really made some steps more frustrating. So, my advice is, really keep an eye on this part throughout the entire process.

If you are keeping the hinges (which we ended up swapping out), keep them numbered as well.

The next step: Cleaning and Deglossing.  The kit recommends cleaning the doors and frame with hot soapy water first and I would definitely do this.  I didn't realize how gross these cabinets were and I am glad I didn't skip this minor step.  After that, the deglossing begins.  Learn from my mistake... degloss the crap out of your frame and doors!!!! Use your husband way more then I did because you need that extra strength of scrubbing.  This step is supposed to replace the sanding part when refinishing your cabinets, but I definitely think it is not as effective.  Now that it is all finished, I would have felt much better with doing the extra work of actually sanding everything rather then relying on this simple deglosser. 

I am not a fan of latex (gloves that is=), but this stuff really stings when it gets on your skin.

Left door: before deglosser, right door: after deglosser
Only noticeable difference is the shine and the before door is much more vibrant in color.

***Warning!!  Small animals may go missing during this process!

The next step is to apply the bond coat, which is your base color.  I definitely have an opinion or 2 about this process.  Whatever you do, don't believe that you will only need 2 coats!!!  All the reviews I have read online claim that the kit did not supply enough paint; everyone needed 3-5 coats!!!  I think by choosing the pure white, I got lucky.  The kit includes 2 small cans of paint that must be tinted before purchase, but Rust-Oleum DOES NOT sell this paint separate from the box, so depending on the color you choose, if you need more paint, you may need to purchase an entire kit just for more paint.  We, on the other hand, picked a color that Home Depot could match perfectly using Behr paint.  Phew!!  That was a relief!!  So, we purchased an additional 2 quarts, making it a total of 4 quarts of paint needed to cover my tiny little kitchen.  In the end, I had to apply 4 coats of pure white paint!! And, I really could have used a 5th, but I was so over it by then.  This took up so much time since the drying time between each coat is 3-4 hours and after the 3rd week, I wanted nothing more then to be finished. 

First Coat

Oh, and I really didn't see the need to empty the cabinets

After days and days and days of applying the bond coat, it was finally time for the top coat.  This is a clear coating to protect the paint from chipping, wear, etc.  This step can ruin your project if you aren't very attentive.  If you layer up a little too much, or leave a thick buildup in any corners, the coat will turn yellow making it look really nasty!! After you apply this, allow a good 7 days for it to totally dry.  Since I just really wanted my kitchen back, eager to get it complete, I put them up earlier then 7 days and I experienced LOTS of chipping, which then put more fuel to my fire in wanting to destroy the heck out of my kitchen! 

So, all was finished and all we had left was the simple steps of putting on new hinges and hardware, right?  UhhhhHahahahahaha!!  After discovering that each hinge needs to be a certain inch from the top, we started to get somewhere.  Some doors were still as stubborn as ever, but with loosening screws here and tightening them there, we got them all to close!!  

Our final step was putting on pulls and knobs to match the hinges.  I think this made a huge difference and really made the cabinets look transformed.

With the kit, supplies, extra paint, hinges, and hardware, this project cost a little over $200.  Am I happy with the end results?  Well, I'm pleased with how it turned out.  Not overjoyed. I never want to compare my project to a professionals, but for the price I paid, I believe I got what I paid for and I definitely love the look of them now then as before.  I really am proud that my marriage actually survived this challenge... I have never been so frustrated with mine and Cameron's cluelessness (you know you like that word!) ever before! I would say it is easier to just do this project solo, but it is too exhausting to succeed at that.  It will all be okay as long as you know going into this project that there will be tons of stress, arguments, and even some tears of frustration, and you will come out alive!  

We are hoping for beautiful granite counter tops, an under mount stainless steel sink, textured backsplash, and hardwood floors in the near future.... stay tuned for an even bigger transformation!!

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