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How to Refinish Kitchen Cabinets That Are Not Wood

refinishing non wood kitchen cabinets

Have you ever wondered how to give your non-wood kitchen cabinets a fresh new look? Look no further! In this article, I'll guide you through the step-by-step process of refinishing your cabinets, even if they're not made of wood.

With my experienced tips and tricks, you'll be able to transform your kitchen without breaking the bank. Get ready to unleash your creativity and give your cabinets a brand new lease on life!


I'm going to give you an overview of the current discussion topic.

Today, we'll be diving into the world of refinishing kitchen cabinets that aren't made of wood. Many homeowners face the challenge of having cabinets that are made of materials like laminate, metal, or even plastic. While these materials may not be as traditional as wood, they can still be refinished to give your kitchen a fresh and updated look.

When it comes to refinishing non-wood cabinets, it's important to approach the process with knowledge and precision. Unlike wood, these materials require different techniques and products to achieve the desired results. For example, if you have laminate cabinets, you'll need to use a special primer and paint that are specifically designed for laminate surfaces. Similarly, if you have metal cabinets, you'll need to use a primer that adheres well to metal and a paint that's suitable for metal surfaces.

Having experience in refinishing cabinets will come in handy when working with non-wood materials. You'll need to have a clear understanding of the steps involved, from prepping the surface to applying the final coat of paint. Additionally, being knowledgeable about the different products available in the market will help you make informed decisions and achieve the best possible outcome.

For those seeking liberation in their kitchen design, refinishing non-wood cabinets can be a game-changer. By following the right techniques and using the appropriate products, you can transform your kitchen without having to replace your cabinets entirely.

quick answer

Sometimes, it's helpful to provide a quick answer, but it's important to remember that thorough research and understanding are crucial when discussing complex topics. As someone who values liberation, I believe it's essential to delve deeper into discussions and explore the intricacies of the subject at hand. When it comes to complex topics, a quick answer might only scratch the surface, leaving us wanting more.

So, let's take a moment to embrace the beauty of thorough research and understanding.

In my experience, I've found that a well-researched and comprehensive approach to complex topics leads to a greater sense of liberation. Here are three reasons why:

  • Depth: Thorough research allows us to gain a deeper understanding of the complexities involved. It enables us to explore different perspectives, challenge assumptions, and uncover hidden truths.
  • Confidence: When we thoroughly research a topic, we can speak with confidence and authority. This empowers us to engage in meaningful discussions and share our insights with others.
  • Empathy: Understanding the intricacies of a complex topic allows us to empathize with different viewpoints. This empathy fosters open and respectful conversations, promoting liberation and growth.

Key Takeways

After thoroughly researching the topic, I came up with three key takeaways that will help us better understand how to refinish kitchen cabinets that are not wood. As someone who has extensive experience in refinishing cabinets, I understand the importance of finding the right techniques and materials for non-wood surfaces.

Firstly, it is crucial to assess the material of the cabinets before starting the refinishing process. Whether it's laminate, metal, or even plastic, each material requires a specific approach. By identifying the material, you can determine the appropriate products and techniques to achieve the best results.

Secondly, proper surface preparation is essential for a successful refinishing project. This involves cleaning the cabinets thoroughly and removing any existing finishes or coatings. A smooth and clean surface will ensure that the new finish adheres properly and provides a long-lasting result.

Lastly, selecting the right paint or coating is crucial for achieving the desired look and durability. Consider using a high-quality paint or specialized coating designed for non-wood surfaces. This will ensure that the finish is resistant to moisture, heat, and everyday wear and tear.

To further emphasize these key takeaways, here is a table summarizing the important points:

Key Takeaways
Assess the material of the cabinets
Proper surface preparation is crucial
Select the right paint or coating for non-wood surfaces


There are three key takeaways that summarize the important points discussed in the previous section about refinishing kitchen cabinets that aren't wood.

First, it's crucial to choose the right type of paint or stain for your cabinets. This decision will determine the durability and overall look of the finished product.

Second, proper preparation is essential. This includes cleaning the cabinets thoroughly, removing any existing paint or finish, and sanding the surfaces to create a smooth base for the new finish.

Finally, applying multiple thin coats of paint or stain is crucial to achieving a professional-looking result. This technique allows for better adhesion and a smoother finish.

When refinishing non-wood cabinets, it's important to follow these key takeaways to ensure a successful and long-lasting result. By selecting the appropriate paint or stain, properly preparing the cabinets, and applying multiple thin coats, you can transform your kitchen cabinets and give them a fresh, updated look.

Step-By-Step Process

Refinishing kitchen cabinets that aren't wood requires a step-by-step process to achieve a professional-looking result.

First, consider the non-wood cabinet options available, such as laminate or metal, and determine the best approach for each material.

Next, prep the surface by cleaning it thoroughly and removing any existing paint or finish.

Non-Wood Cabinet Options

I've found three non-wood cabinet options that are perfect for my kitchen remodel.

When it comes to cabinets, wood has always been the go-to choice. However, there are now alternatives available that not only provide a fresh, modern look but also offer durability and ease of maintenance.

The first option is laminate cabinets, which come in a wide range of colors and finishes. They're resistant to stains and easy to clean, making them a great choice for busy kitchens.

Another option is thermofoil cabinets, which are made of MDF (medium-density fiberboard) and covered with a vinyl layer. They're affordable, moisture-resistant, and come in various styles.

Lastly, there are metal cabinets, which give a sleek and industrial look to any kitchen. They're durable, resistant to heat and moisture, and can be easily customized.

Now that I've chosen my ideal non-wood cabinet option, it's time to move on to prepping the surface for refinishing.

Prepping the Surface

To begin prepping the surface, I'll gather the necessary tools and materials. Liberating your kitchen cabinets from their outdated appearance is easier than you might think, even if they aren't made of wood.

First, I'll need a gentle cleanser and a soft cloth to remove any dirt or grease. Once the surface is clean, I'll lightly sand it with fine-grit sandpaper to create a rough texture for the primer to adhere to.

Next, I'll apply a bonding primer specifically designed for non-wood surfaces. This will ensure that the paint adheres properly and lasts for years to come.

Choosing the Right Paint

What type of paint should I use, and can I mix different colors together to achieve my desired look?

When it comes to choosing the right paint for your project, it's important to consider the material of your kitchen cabinets. If your cabinets are made of wood, a high-quality latex paint or an oil-based paint would work best. These types of paint offer durability and a smooth finish that can withstand everyday wear and tear.

However, if your cabinets aren't made of wood, such as laminate or melamine, you'll need a special type of paint called a bonding primer. This primer will help the paint adhere to the surface properly.

As for mixing different colors, it's absolutely possible to achieve your desired look by combining paint colors. Just make sure to test the mixture on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure you're happy with the result.

Happy painting!

Applying the Primer

I'll show you how to apply the primer and achieve a smooth and even surface for your kitchen cabinets. When it comes to refinishing cabinets that aren't made of wood, proper preparation is key.

Start by cleaning the cabinets thoroughly to remove any grease or dirt. Next, lightly sand the surface to create a rough texture for the primer to adhere to. Make sure to wipe away any dust before moving on to the primer application.

Choose a high-quality primer that's specifically designed for non-wood surfaces. Using a paintbrush or roller, apply an even coat of primer to the cabinets, making sure to cover all areas. Allow the primer to dry completely before applying the paint.

Following these steps will ensure that your cabinets have a beautiful and long-lasting finish.

Finishing and Sealing

I've found that applying a clear coat sealer is essential for protecting the finish of my kitchen cabinets.

When it comes to refinishing cabinets that aren't made of wood, it's crucial to choose the right sealer that suits the material.

Whether your cabinets are laminate, thermofoil, or melamine, a clear coat sealer will provide a protective barrier against stains, moisture, and everyday wear and tear.

I recommend using a water-based polyurethane sealer, as it dries quickly and doesn't emit strong odors.

Before applying the sealer, make sure to clean the cabinets thoroughly and lightly sand them for better adhesion.

Apply two to three coats of the sealer, allowing each coat to dry completely.

This final step won't only protect your cabinets but also give them a beautiful, glossy finish.

As we move into the final thought, remember that proper sealing is the key to maintaining the longevity and appearance of your kitchen cabinets.

Final Thought

In my opinion, the final thought on this topic is that refinishing non-wood kitchen cabinets can be a cost-effective and transformative project. While many people may think that only wood cabinets can be refinished, there are actually several options available for those with cabinets made of materials like laminate or metal. Refinishing these cabinets allows you to update the look of your kitchen without the need for a full cabinet replacement, saving you both time and money.

To help you understand the different options for refinishing non-wood kitchen cabinets, I have created a table below:

Cabinet Material Refinishing Option
Laminate Paint
Metal Powder coating
Thermofoil Vinyl wrapping
Melamine Cabinet refacing
Acrylic Staining

As you can see, there are various techniques available for each type of non-wood cabinet material. By choosing the right refinishing option, you can completely transform the look of your kitchen and give it a fresh, modern feel. Whether you prefer a sleek painted finish, a durable powder-coated surface, or a timeless stained look, refinishing non-wood kitchen cabinets can unlock a world of possibilities for your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use the Same Refinishing Process for Cabinets Made of Laminate or Melamine?

Yes, you can use the same refinishing process for cabinets made of laminate or melamine. However, it's important to properly prepare the surface and use the right type of paint or stain for a long-lasting and durable finish.

Do I Need to Remove the Cabinet Doors and Hardware Before Refinishing?

Yes, I remove cabinet doors and hardware before refinishing. It allows for better access and ensures a smooth finish. Plus, it's easier to work on them separately and avoid any accidental damage.

What Type of Paint or Finish Is Recommended for Non-Wood Cabinets?

For non-wood cabinets, it is recommended to use a paint or finish specifically designed for the material. Look for products labeled for use on laminate, metal, or other non-wood surfaces for best results.

Are There Any Special Considerations or Steps to Take When Refinishing Cabinets That Have a Glossy or Textured Surface?

When refinishing glossy or textured cabinets, it's important to prep the surface by sanding it lightly. Apply a bonding primer to ensure the new finish adheres properly, then paint or refinish as desired.

Can I Refinish Non-Wood Cabinets Without Sanding Them First?

I wouldn't recommend refinishing non-wood cabinets without sanding them first. Sanding helps remove any existing finish and creates a smooth surface for the new finish to adhere to, ensuring a long-lasting and professional-looking result.

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