How to Refinish Kitchen Merillat Cupboards

If your kitchen needs updating, do your budget a favor by refinishing your Merillat cupboards instead of purchasing new ones. It takes time but can be done over a long weekend, depending on the final treatment you choose for your new look. By the time your Merillat cupboards are back in your kitchen, no one will ever guess that you didn't spring for brand-new custom cabinetry. Let's get started!

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Sanded cupboard frame: before stain on the left; with new stain on the right

Step 1

Arm yourself with the appropriate screwdriver or a cordless drill and start taking off those cupboard doors. As you remove the doors, also remove the hardware and hinges from the doors and set aside with the screws.

Step 2

Take the doors outside to prepare for sanding. Wipe down each door with rubbing alcohol, using a cotton cloth to remove finger oils and dirt. Let dry. You will also need to wipe down the cabinet frame back in your kitchen before you sand it.

Step 3

Attach 80-grit sandpaper to your handheld orbital sander for the first round of sanding. If you have a Shop-Vac, you might want to attach the hose to the opening on the sander to cut down on the dust. Simply turn on the Shop-Vac while you sand, although this is optional. Don't forget your dust mask.

Step 4

Use the orbital sander to cut through the current finish until there is no shine left on the cupboards. Unless the style is a flat front, you will need to switch to the Mouse sander to get into the corners and into any grooves your doors might have; otherwise, the new finish won't stick.

Step 5

Once you've sanded all the doors (both sides), wipe them down with a clean cloth to remove any dust. Now you're ready to go inside and sand the frame. Again, if you have a Shop-Vac, inside your kitchen is the place to use it to cut down on the dust. Use the orbital sander and 80-grit sandpaper to sand the frame until the current finish is gone. Wipe down with a clean cloth.

Step 6

Perform a final hand sand with 180-grit sandpaper to ensure all surfaces are smooth. Wipe down again. Now you're ready to refinish!

Step 7

If you're staining your Merillat cupboards, get your staining supplies ready. Inexpensive foam brushes work best if you've chosen a gel stain, which has the benefit of having the polyurethane built in to save you a step. If you're using a traditional stain, a cotton rag will work best. If you're painting them, get your paintbrushes ready!

Step 8

Apply whatever finish you have chosen, following the manufacturer's instructions for stain applications. For paint, it's best to apply at least two coats of semigloss or gloss for the most durable finish. You might want to drape a drop cloth over your counters and floors while finishing the frame to avoid splattering paint or stain on your countertops and floor.

Step 9

After the doors and frame are dry, start reattaching the hardware to the doors and then the doors back to the frame. If you've bought new knobs and pulls, either use existing holes or carefully measure and mark for new ones to ensure they are all attached at the same height. Step back and enjoy your "new" Merillat cupboards!