Can You Strip Paint Off Of Wooden Cabinets?

If you're a homeowner with DIY inclinations and have old, painted cabinets, you may find yourself wondering whether or not the paint can be stripped from your old wooden cabinets, or if a new cabinet installation is necessary to achieve your goals. In many cases, old paint can be removed, following this procedure. You may want to test this process on one drawer or door of your cabinets before doing it to all of your cabinets.

Take Down Doors

Remove all the doors from the cabinets. Take off all the hardware from each piece and put the hardware into individual baggies. Label the baggies so you'll be able to match the hardware back to the specific doors when the project is finished. Take the doors to a well-ventilated work area like the garage and lay them down on tarps.

Apply Stripper to the Wood

Apply the stripper to the wood as indicated in the manufacturer's instructions. The stripper will need to stay on the paint for a specific amount of time in order to work, but the amount of time may vary depending on the type of stripper being used and the thickness of the paint. Trial and error may be necessary to find the right length of time for your needs.

Remove the Paint

Use a razor blade to scrape off the layers of paint. Go slowly as you do this and keep the razor blade at a shallow angle to the cabinet to prevent it from catching on the wood grain. Sand down the cabinets with fine steel wool to help remove the remaining paint.

Use a Pick on Hard to Remove Areas

There will probably be tiny nooks and crannies where paint is stuck and doesn't want to be removed. Use a small pick on these individual areas. If there are a lot of these spaces, you may spend many hours addressing each one individually. Apply additional stripper as necessary to loosen the paint in these tight spaces.

Shellac or Stain

Apply shellac or a stain and sealer of your choice to the cabinets. It's important to properly seal wooden cabinets in the kitchen because of the humidity that comes from cooking activities. Once the shellac or stain has been applied and has dried, the cabinet doors will be ready to be re-installed.

It's important to note that old paint can contain lead. If you didn't paint the cabinets yourself and are not sure what time period the paint comes from or what's in the paint, have the paint chips tested before stripping. Paint that contains lead will need to be handled by a professional.

Paint removal may be especially difficult in cabinets with carved areas that are curved or that have small, tight spaces in the wood. You may find that while paint removal is possible, the process is too lengthy to be realistic. You may also find that complete paint removal is not possible. If this the case, a new cabinet installation may be a more practical and less time-consuming way to get what you want. If this the case, contact a cabinet dealer in your area about getting new cabinets in your home. He or she can talk to you about the best cabinets for your needs.

To learn more, contact a company like CK Custom Kabinetry Inc