Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Kitchen: Makeover Part 1

Two of my upper cabinets were hanging rather precariously from the walls, so addressing this was the first step to reviving my kitchen cabinets. I took down the upper left cabinet first (it was practically falling off of the wall.) Once the cabinet was off I discovered some truly disgusting grime that had apparently been coming down from the air vent above the cabinet. Using a paint scraper and then my vacuum I removed as much of the gunk as I could. With the first cabinet off, it became clear I would definitely need to take down the second cabinet too. I did what minor repairs I could to each cabinet.
I am following the advise of This Old House almost to the letter for this paint job because I want it to last. However, I must admit that I have not followed their most basic advice. In the intro to cabinet painting, the wise editors at TOH write.
“Be aware that even the highest-quality paint job can't cure the evils of poor kitchen design or hide fundamental structural flaws in cabinets. Cheap cabinets grow especially frail with old age. Thin sides and backs, which are often veneered with vinyl paper, can peel or delaminate.”
I’d say my cabinets are of the cheapest variety available on the market, and the sides, backs and shelves of mine are in fact veneered with vinyl paper. I know it’s not a permanent fix, but like I have said before this is the band-aid fix until I can afford to do a major renovation. I’m hoping that a coat of Kilz and a careful paint job will make the paint stick to the vinyl paper for a year or two. We’ll see. I’m going to hang onto those upper cabinet doors for a while just in case the interiors end up looking battered after being used.

After making repairs, painting the walls and re-hanging the cabinets (which I managed to do by myself, thank you very much), I cleaned every surface of the cabinets. I used a heavy-duty cleaner called Mex, which was recommended by the woman at my hardware store. It required gloves and protective eyewear, but man, oh man, did it do a good job. You could see the dirt just lifting off the cabinets. The layer of greasy-film on the cabinet above the stove just melted off. Then I gave everything a rinse, let it dry and followed that with a light sanding. Now I am about to put on the primer coat

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