Installing Kitchen Cabinets: Step 3 - Finishing
Note: Step 3 pertains to unfinished cabinets. For prefinished cabinets, you may skip to step 4.
read and follow the instructions provided
with any finishing product. Choose a work
area that is brightly lit and as dust-free
as possible. Select the appropriate application
tools - rags, brushes, etc. Remember, the
better the brush,
Be sure of your choice of finish before you begin. Choose an inconspicuous part of the cabinet to test your selection (such as the back side of the face frame or drawer front. If the paint or stain does not achieve the results you want, stop, and choose one that does.
the edges and surfaces with fine (220 grit)
sandpaper. Sand with the grain, either by
hand or with a straight line reciprocating
sander for stain or natural finishes. Orbital
sanders are all right for painted surfaces
where the grain won't be seen. Pick up sanding
dust with a tack cloth to assure a dust-free
surface. A dirty or dusty surface will have
a negative effect on how any finish adheres.
Keep your work area dust-free, especially
particleboard orfiberboard with a sanding
sealer or primer coat of a type recommended
by the paint manufacturer. After priming
or sealing, sand lightly (320 grit) to remove
brush marks and dust. Use a tack cloth to
pick up the dust. Apply as many coats of
paint as it takes to achieve the desired
results. Sand lightly between coats and
There are several types of stains on the market - oils, pastes, gels, alcohol, latex (water-based), etc., and several methods of application. Some will require a top coat of varnish, lacquer or plastic-based finish, while others will not. Ask us for assistance to achieve the best results. Once you make your selection, follow the manufacturer's instructions exactly, and you achieve the best results.
most stains are applied, the use of a wash-type
sealer is recommended to avoid a blotchy-looking
stain. This is especially important on birch
or alder. Check the label on your stain
for specific instructions before
Brush the sealer on uniformly, applying one coat over the entire surface. The sealer will be invisible (no color or gloss) when dry. Then very lightly sand off any raised grain or dust particles with a fine (320 grit) sandpaper.
follow the manufacturer's instructions for
applying their stain. Note that most will
recommend allowing the stain to stand on
the surface until sufficient penetration
gives you the desired tone, at which point
you wipe off any excess stain. When dry,
do not sand.
Many varnish- and lacquer-type finishes are available in full-gloss, semi-gloss (satin) and dull finishes. Even a "clear" finish (without a stain) will provide some color and bring out the grain pattern with a "wetted" look.
Apply at least two coats of finish, allowing each coat to thoroughly dry and lightly sanding between coats with extra fine (600 grit) sandpaper or four-ought (0000) steel wool.
Use a tack cloth to pick up any resulting dust.
Apply the finish in a full, wet coat - the the edges first, and then to other surfaces, brushing lightly in the direction of the grain, to minimize brush marks. On semi-gloss (satin) finishes, rub out with four-ought (0000) steel wool after the finish is thoroughly dry.
Note: Take care when top-coating a stained piece - excessive application may remove some of the stain.
Apply oil with a brush or lint-free, tightly woven cotton cloth (old sheet or dress shirt) generously until surface no longer absorbs oil. Buff the surface with a tightly woven cotton cloth until you cannot cannot pick up any oil by touching with your finger. Allow to dry 8 to 12 hours.
the entire process until you achieve the
desired finish. Generally, three coats are
NEXT: Step Four: Installing