Pro Tips on Finishing Unfinished Cabinets

Great vaulted ceiling with skylight and our mocha shaker cabinetsIt’s time to buckle down and get to work on your kitchen or bathroom cabinet purchase! You bought those unfinished cabinets to save some cash, and now it’s time to finish them. Nervous? Don’t be. Painting or staining unfinished cabinets is a lot easier than it looks. Here are some tips to help give you the confidence you need to finish your discount cabinets like a pro.

Tip #1: Sand It Down

When you sand your unfinished cabinets, you open up the pores for the stain and give the paint a better surface to stick to. Get a fine grit to smooth out all the inconsistencies. Be careful not to rub too hard; a few brief passes are enough.

Tip #2: Prime It Well

Primer is an absolute must whether you are painting or staining. If you are staining, you should invest in a wood conditioner that will help the stain absorb more evenly. Paint primer should be used with paint to give it a smooth look when it is finished. Primers and conditioners also protect the wood from nicks and scratches. If you’re getting bathroom cabinets, you’ll definitely want to prime and seal to protect against humidity.

Tip #3: Take Off the Faces and Doors

Painting your cabinet fully assembled is a rookie mistake. You’ll miss the space in the cracks, and it will be difficult to get an even coat in the tighter spaces. Remove the drawers and doors from the cabinet frames, and faces from the drawers. Paint each piece individually and allow it to fully dry before assembling it back together.

Tip #4: That Said, Buy Ready-To-Assemble

Get ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets shipped to you rather than buying them fully constructed. It’s a fantastic way to score cheap cabinets without sacrificing quality. You don’t have to spend the time taking them apart, and you’ll probably lose fewer screws.

Tip #5: Don’t Lose Your Screws

Magnetic screw trays are one of your biggest allies. Don’t risk the chance of your carpet devouring your hardware. You can find magnetic trays that are very cheap at any home improvement store.

Tip #6: Patience Is a Virtue

One of the biggest exercises in willpower is to patiently wait for paint to dry. You don’t need to sit and watch it. In fact, it’s better if you distract yourself than to fall prey to the temptation of adding a new coat too early. Applying paint thickly causes the paint to collect, bubble, and dry unevenly. Two or three even, thin coats of paint will work much better. It’s recommended that you wait at least a couple hours in between coats.

Haven’t bought your unfinished cabinets yet? Shop around for a good deal on discount cabinets by visiting We have a full selection of wood types for you to browse through.

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Posted in home remodeling, kitchen rta cabinets, RTA Kitchen Cabinets

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