Clear coat on these cabinets?

18 Replies

Hi folks,

I am going through my 1st rehab and I am as excited as it gets. I'm driving my wife crazy talking about it all the time. Hope it dies down as more come.

Now, the cabinets in the kitchen and bath are in very god shape but they look a bit too "builder grade" or worn out. I was first thinking in tinting them, then change my mind to probably just apply some clear coat varnish that enhances t

he color and brings some gloss and life into them. I'll be putting "uba tuba" granite on.

What do you think?...what product would you recommend?

Clear coating them would probably be sufficient. Mid range flip I imagine then? In other words are you in a high value area? As long as the area doesn't demand something super premium clear coat would work IMO. 

Here is an article I've reviewed before when looking into this,

I would get the material of the cabinets and then take it to a paint store and see what the recommend. 

Best of luck!

@Allende Hernandez Is Uba Tuba granite cheaper than other granite? Are you keeping the appliances? I say yes, as they will look great with the dark granite. Sorry, I don't know what to say about the cabinets, but they look fine and just clean them up.

@Julie Marquez Uba Tuba came at the same price than the lower ones, so we decided to go with it. We'll install stainless still new appl. Those are for sale!! :)

We've painted many cabinets with insl-x cabinet coat paint. Awesome stuff, very easy to roll or brush on with no streaks. You won't be disappointed...

Here's an example. Had multiple offers on this one :)

Adding a coat of polyurethane is super easy on cabinets like that. Knock off the high gloss with a light/medium grit sanding sponge, tack all the dust, light coat of poly (oil is nice but stinks, water based works well too but doesn't level quite as easy as oil), let it dry for a *couple* of days (forget about the couple hours the can says), fine grit sponge it, tack it, second coat. You'll be amazed how the cabinets end up looking like brand new. 

@Nathan Paisley those look nice! In the case of this house I do like the look so I wont be painting them. I'd just like to bring more life to them

Thank you @JD Martin !! Question, I used the one in the image below for my own patio ceiling (wood) and cane out very good. Would that work as well?

Sure, that would work. I have used the blue-can Minwax poly as well (water based) and it does a good job too. Just remember that the more defects in the cabinets, the less gloss you want. If your cabinets are super-nice and just dull, a semi-gloss will really make them pop, but if they're beat all to hell I'd probably stick with a satin. 

Any time I have done clear finish over wood I roll it on with a small foam roller, and tip it off with a good badger hair brush. I have seen results that look sprayed with this method.

In the past I've used a sponge style paint brush (the cheap black ones you can get for about $.99/ea) or you can even use a clean rag. It looks like they have Euro style hinges so you can pop off the doors. I'd suggest taking one off and doing the inside first to see how it turns out and if you like it. 

@Brian Pulaski I've tried using a roller when testing epoxy over a countertop and the thing was so thick that it was dragging instead of rolling. I know this coat is thick too, how do you avoid the dragging? Also, I assume it levels itself correct?

I just use furniture polish.  Much cheaper, less time and cleans as it shines them up a bit.  Have done this with several flips.

I encounter this vintage and condition of wood cabinet frequently. My recipe for refreshing these wood cabinets ( just the outer visible surfaces) on rental turn-arounds and sales is as follows (similar to many ideas here).

1. Use TSP and warm water with the abrasive side of standard scotch brite sponge to clean/degloss. Dip in the sponge and wring it out. Then rub the cabinets thoroughly with the abrasive side. This cuts the kitchen greases and deglosses the cabinets (prepping them to take the new stain/poly--which comes next). Maybe lay out a painters tarp or paper towels on the floors and counter to catch any water drips and to keep everything clean. You will be surprised how much oil/dirt was hidden on the surface in a kitchen. Getting this off and de-glossing is key to the new coat.

2. Let dry a day or so. Wipe them down with  clean dry cloth to remove any remaining dust or smudges.

3. I apply Minwax Polyshades (a stain and poly in one). Partly because I like it to go fast. One step. Use a brand new high quality brush that works for stains/polyurethanes. I would not go beyond a couple of inches in width. I just pick the closest color/shade. They have a color sample sheet/brochure in many stores or online. The goal is to liven it up--not change the color. I have luck with the most similar shade.. I have used satin sheen more on cabinets (I think they have a gloss too); it depends on your goal

4. Brush the polyshades on thin but cover the surface. You don't want drips. Use a respirator due to fumes and ventilate the area. Leave when you are done. You don't want dust or hairs getting on the surface as it stays embedded.

(BTW, never shake your Polyshades can or you get heinous bubbles in your surface. Stir regularly, up from the bottom, to mix the stain and poly thoroughly, especially to start then at intervals).

5. Come back the next day and use a new clean scotch brite sponge (abrasive side) to scuff it lightly to prep for a second coat. Wipe away the light dust from this scuffing thoroughly and repeat the second coat. If your brush is toast, just use a new one. I have trouble rescuing brushes from this product after a use or two. But you want a good one for precision and so you don't shed bristles (Purdy, Wooster, etc). It is worth sacrificing a couple of good soldiers, especially compared with the cost and labor of all new cabinets.

It is a low cost project, one quart of polyshades (maybe 12-15 bucks) and a couple of really good brushes and some ordinary scotch brites kitchen sponges (which Costco sells in bulk). But it takes lots of elbow grease. 

If you have any doubts or want to practice, I would pull the fridge and do the hidden side of that cabinet or maybe try on the back of a cabinet door (with a disposable brush sponge) for practice and to see the effect.

Many prospective tenants and even some realtors have been impressed with the finished product (thinking them new or professionally re-done). So you get some decent "wow" factor for very little money. The same routine can work on other wood surfaces as well.

Best of luck!

@Allende Hernandez you need a good roller chassis for the roller to go. You can also thin the product if it's sliding and not rolling. As far as getting it smooth, the tipping I mentioned takes the surface bubbles off and the product levels from that point.

Thank you all, these are all pretty good advice!!

Happy Investing!

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