How To Sand Cabinet Doors For Painting – Refinish Your kitchen

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How to sand cabinet doors for painting

Sanding cabinet doors will ensure you get a professional finish. Although it is a simple DIY project, you need a lot of determination and grit to get the job done right. How to sand cabinet doors for painting is a vital skill that all homeowners need to learn.

Understand that sanding cabinet doors provide a smooth and even surface for painting. You can, therefore, transform how your cabinets look without having to spend a lot of money. All you need are the necessary supplies and you are good to go.

How to sand cabinet doors for painting -preparation

Before we start sanding cabinet doors, you must ensure you are fully prepared for the task. For one, you will need a pair of clothes that you don’t mind ruining during the process. You will also need a lot of space to complete the task quickly and effectively.

It would be better if you worked outdoors to avoid having to spend a lot of time on clean up. Although you have to ensure that there is sufficient ventilation if you decide to work indoors. Understand that you will be painting the doors right after sanding and the paint particles will get into the air. Inhaling these particles may lead to severe health problems.

You will also need a lot of time depending on the amount of work. The good news is that the task is worth all the effort and time. your new cabinet doors will look amazing once you complete the project, which is a huge win for any homeowner.

1. Gather the Necessary Supplies

The first step is gathering all the necessary supplies that you need for the task. Understand that you will have to paint the cabinet doors right after sanding. Below are all the supplies that you need for the project:

TSP cleaner
Coarse sandpaper (60-grit)
Fine sandpaper (360-grit)
Wood filler
Masking tape
Sanding machine
Bonding primer
Top-coat paint
Paint sprayer

Before we move on to the next step, ensure you get high-quality products. Understand that cheap materials and tools will ruin the quality of your finish. Vet everything before making a purchase since you will need them for future projects. Start by looking at reviews to give you a clearer picture of what you need.

2. Remove the Cabinet Doors

Remove all the cabinet doors that you need to sand and paint. Ensure that you mark each of the doors to avoid confusion when reinstalling them

remove cabinet doors

Understand that cabinet doors are hardly standard. You will need to get the exact match to maintain the functionality of your cabinets.

Do not use a lot of force when removing the cabinet doors from the hinges. You don’t want to risk breaking your cabinet doors and having to carry out replacements. Note that replacing a cabinet door can be rather expensive.

3. Clean the Doors

Most people get a poor-quality finish because they did not clean the cabinet doors appropriately. Understand that you will have to scrub off months of dirt that include kitchen oils and cooking splatters. Note that paint will stick better on clean surfaces thus giving you an even finish.

Clean the Doors

You are probably wondering why you can’t simply sand off all the grease and dirt. Well, this is where most people go wrong when working on kitchen cabinets. Understand that sanding will remove the grease or oils but rather grind all these substances right into your wood. 

You cannot skip cleaning your cabinet doors under any circumstances. Understand that a smooth finish is not possible when you have grease and kitchen oils on the working surface. Failure to clean the surface will have you repeating the project due to the poor-quality finish that you will get.

4. Repair any Nicks

Look for any kind of imperfections on your cabinet doors once you are done with the cleaning. Use the wood filler to repair holes, nicks, scratches, and gouges. Squeeze the wood filler and ensure you neatly spread it out using a putty knife.
The good news is that wood fillers come with detailed instructions. Ensure you follow the provided instructions and let it dry for the stipulated amount of time. Once the wood filler is completely dry, we can move on to the next step.

5. Sand the Cabinet Doors

Understand that you can use a sanding block or a sanding machine for this vital step. However, sanding machines will make the work easier and save you a lot of time. Understand that manual sanding is labor-intensive and will need a lot of time.

Sand the Cabinet Doors

Use your sanding machine to ensure you get an even and smooth surface. For starters, do not press too hard on your sanding machine or you could risk ruining the wood. It would be better if you practiced your sanding technique on a discarded piece of wood before starting the project.

Use the 60-grit sandpaper to remove all the paint layers from your cabinet doors. Note that the 60-grit sandpaper will transform your sanding machine into a powerful beast that eats up a lot of material. You need to exercise a lot of caution to ensure you don’t destroy the wood.

Note that removing old paint from your cabinet doors will generate a lot of fumes and dust. You need to be wearing your face mask and safety goggles during this step. It would also help if you give your neighbors a heads up before starting the project. Understand that some sanding machines can be rather noisy.

Once you have sanded off the layer of paint, you need to switch to 360-grit sandpaper. Understand that this sandpaper will help smoothen the surface. Take your time when using the 360-grit sandpaper to ensure you have an even surface.

Most people tend to skip using the fine-grit sandpaper because they assume that the coarse-grit counterpart has achieved a desirable finish. However, if you are looking for a professional finish that will transform your home, you should not skip using the finer-grit sandpaper.

6. Paint the Cabinet Doors

Use a damp rag to wipe down your clean and sanded cabinet doors. Using a damped rag will ensure that any dust that might have settled on the wood is effectively removed. Before we start painting, I would advise you to find high-quality paint.

paint cabinet doors

Understand that your cabinet doors are constantly handled by a lot of people in your household. A high-quality paint will ensure that you get long-lasting services from your cabinet doors. Use exterior or interior paint for this step.

Thin your paint appropriately before using it with your sprayer. If you haven’t used a paint sprayer in the past, you have to read the user manual. Spray at about 10 inches from the cabinet doors and work from side to side. Ensure that the different strokes overlap by around a third to ensure you get a smooth finish. Spray painting is quite easy once you get the technique right. Practice on a piece of cardboard before you start spray painting.

7. Reinstall the Cabinet Doors

Let your cabinet doors dry overnight before reinstalling them. Ensure that you place each of your doors in their designated slots. Ensure you clean all your equipment once you are done with the project. Understand that cleaning your equipment will ensure you get long-lasting services.

Final words

How to sand cabinet doors for painting is made simple with our comprehensive guide. Ensure you follow all the steps above to ensure you get a smooth and even finish. Note that a high-quality finish will transform the look of your cabinets.

About the Author Louis

Louis is a DIY enthusiast, blogger and ecommerce entrepreneur. She created this website with an intention to reach out people and guide them to make best choices to deliver free extensive DIY home-improvement content.

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