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Painting & Wallpapering/Repainting "fake wood" cabinets


Hi Laura, I'd like to re-paint our orange-ish/yellow 1990's fake wood "veneer? cathedral/raised panel" cabinets (like Kraftmaid or Merrillat which has the factory "varnish" finish.)  I can't afford to replace our cabinets but have seen so many suggestions on the internet I need a trusted response - you!  I'd like to cover the cabinets in a medium-ish dark brown such as dark cocoa but not quite as dark as espresso.  The walls are indigo with  ivory chair rail and standard off white above the chair rail. I am thinking the paint combo especially is enhancing the orange/yellow cabinet color which is outdated in my opinion. 1) Can a deglosser just be used, then tinted primer and two paint coats?  2) Do "fake" cabinets need polyurethane if using a good semi gloss paint?  3) I'd also be open to gel stain if that would work after deglossing.  If this is not an acceptable process, can you please supply the correct steps?  We only want to do this one time and have it endure the daily handling. Any other suggestions, too, are appreciated. Thanks.

1. Clean cabinets with tsp. found in all home improvement stores. Make sure cabinets are decreased.
2. Lightly sand
3. Prime, let dry at least 30 hours use a FOAM ROLLER to prime with. THIS WILL GIVE YOU THE SMOOTHEST FINISH.
4. After 30 hours Sand with lower grit sand paper than you used in step 2
5. after sanding take a few "tac clothes" (sold at Manards/home improvement stores) and wipe down getting all dust off of cabinets.
6. Put second layer of Primer
7. Let cure for at least 24 hours.
8. Sand again use tact cloth again.
9. Start painting first coat again use a foam roller for smooth finish
10. Let first coat cure for 24 hours or longer
11. Sand with fine grit paper and wipe down with tact cloth
12. Paint second coat. use foam roller and let cure for at least 24 hours.
This should be enough unless you want to do a 3 coat, follow same procedures.

We like using Duration paint for cabinets in eggshell finish
you can also use Rustolium or other name brand cabinet paint. A little shine is best can even use a semi gloss. Rustolium has nice products for cabinets.

If you feel up to it take doors down to do all priming and 1st coat of paint. You can even change the hinges if you want to to modernize!
Good luck
Laura Mesich
Good luck

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Laura Mesich


1. Owner of Affordable Luxury Paintng and Remodeling We do Painting interior and exterior, Decorating, Remodeling Suggestions, how to repair things, how to fix things, Where and how to get discounts on items


I have been in the industry for the last 15 years serving in various positions. Sales, Administrator, painter, faux artist, design department. I have also worked for Altimate Painting as administrator.

Painting and Decorating association Better Business burea Plainfield IL chamber New Lenox IL chamber Former President elect of the Interior Design club Joliet Collage

Former all Expert, expert. blog spot Word Press Burbs on a Budget

I have owned Affordable Luxury Painting and Remodeling for the last 15 years. I write a colum for a local newsletter, I have a degree in Marketing, communication and Interior Design. I am a former Realtor and Loan Officer.

Awards and Honors
Graduated Magna Cum Lade National Honor society

Past/Present Clients
Hawthorn Credit Union Heritage Pizza Baci Italian Resturant Pionner bank

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