Refinishing Mobile Home Cabinets

You have been wanting to refinish your mobile home cabinets for some time now, but didn't know how to start. Mobile home cabinets are usually made of particleboard, and care must be taken when removing the cabinet doors and related hardware to keep from damaging the material. By knowing the proper procedure for refinishing your mobile home cabinets, you can have the project completed in no time.

Getting Started

To refinish your mobile home cabinets, you need a few tools and supplies, such as a screwdriver, masking tape, paint, cleaning and other supplies. Once you have all of your supplies, it is easy to start removing the cabinet doors and beginning the project. Make sure when removing cabinet doors, you label each one with a piece of masking tape and a number so you will know which door goes where. Use a small plastic bag to store your screws so you won't lose them.


Proper surface preparation is key to any successful paint job. Remove any hardware, including hinges, knobs and pulls before you start cleaning both the cabinets and cabinet doors. Use mineral spirits to remove grease, grime and dirt. It is best to follow the cleaning process by wiping down the cabinets and doors with a mixture of ammonia and water to remove any remaining residue. Make sure you use a 150-grit sandpaper. All you want to do is scuff up the surfaces so the paint can hold. If there are any holes in the doors or cabinets, fill them with a high-quality filler or putty. If any laminate is peeling, remove it completely and then sand.

Applying Primer

Use water-based primer for your cabinets and cabinet doors. One coat of primer is all that is needed for most applications. Make sure you have a high-quality roller for larger surfaces and a paint brush for the hard-to-reach areas. Let the primer dry according to recommended time on the container. Before applying primer to the cabinets in your kitchen, make sure to cover the walls around the cabinets to keep any primer off of them.

Applying Paint

Selecting the right paint is the key to your mobile home cabinet refinishing project. You can use a latex paint. Make sure it is a high-quality semi-gloss finish that is completely washable so your can clean it with soap and water. Other paint options include oil-based paints and epoxy paints. Latex paints are the easiest to apply, and they have less of an odor. Apply the paint to your cabinet doors using a regular-size roller and to your cabinets using a small roller. Then use a paint brush for the hard-to-reach areas. Let the first coat dry for at least two hours and then apply a second coat. Let both cabinets and doors dry for at least four hours before finishing the project.

Finishing the Refinishing Project

Complete your refinishing project by installing the doors and hardware once the paint has dried. Make sure to read your labels and reinstall each door on its original cabinet. Finally, add any decorative touches, like moldings or other elements that complement your kitchen.

Stripped Screw Hole Tip

If you run into the problem of stripped screw holes or screws that won't tighten, there is a quick fix for the problem. Take a round wooden toothpick, dip it in some white glue and insert the toothpick into the hole that is causing you trouble. Leave the toothpick in overnight and let it dry in place. The next day, cut off the excess toothpick and install your door. The toothpick gives your screw something to hold on to.

Nick Davis

Nick Davis is a freelance writer specializing in technical, travel and entertainment articles. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Memphis and an associate degree in computer information systems from the State Technical Institute at Memphis. His work has appeared in "Elite Memphis" and "The Daily Helmsman" in Memphis, Tenn. He is currently living in Albuquerque, N.M.