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Thread: Kitchen cabinet dilemma

  1. #1
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    Kitchen cabinet dilemma

    I have a bigger kitchen that is all 1995 golden oak. All the doors in the kitchen are arched with flat panels. I have 51 doors and 27 drawers in my kitchen. The golden oak is starting to drive us nuts. I would like to hear what some of your opinions for options of upgrading said kitchen. The drawer slides are starting to fail and I am replacing them with soft close slides. I really don't want to get all the drawer slides installed and then end up replacing the face frames and having to reinstall all the slides again. I wouldn't mind building all new doors and drawer fronts. I am still undecided on painting. Has anyone else been in this sort of situation? ThanksEric

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric D Matson View Post
    I have a bigger kitchen that is all 1995 golden oak. All the doors in the kitchen are arched with flat panels. I have 51 doors and 27 drawers in my kitchen. The golden oak is starting to drive us nuts. I would like to hear what some of your opinions for options of upgrading said kitchen. The drawer slides are starting to fail and I am replacing them with soft close slides. I really don't want to get all the drawer slides installed and then end up replacing the face frames and having to reinstall all the slides again. I wouldn't mind building all new doors and drawer fronts. I am still undecided on painting. Has anyone else been in this sort of situation? ThanksEric
    Here's some things to consider. Budget should probably be defined.

    If the current door style is to you liking and you want darker cabs, you can spray pigmented clear lacquer over existing. Essentially a tone coat. Must have some spray skills and be willing to turn kitchen into temp spray booth for carcasses. Doors and drawer fronts off and sprayed elsewhere. Must be cleaned and prepped well. New finish on top of typical kitchen grime is a fools errand.

    If you want to change door style and/or wood species refacing cab boxes and new doors and drawer fronts would be better option. Refacing can be done well or poorly depending on technique and give-a-damn quotient.

    And some personal opinion. I know soft close is on everybody's hot list, but what I don't like is having to overcome the soft close mechanism when opening. I often use inexpensive Grass self-closing epoxy guides and clients like them. I can install them for less than 25% of what good soft close costs. Drawer box size is a factor too, not all drawers fit all types of guides. I've installed hundreds and can point out the potential pitfalls pretty well, I think, and make recommendations if desired.

    Two more things should you decide to paint. The grain of oak will show through and there's no turning back once on that road. Most, if not all, "paint" on mass produced cabinets is a far cry from what people imagine. Typically it's pigmented conversion varnish or similar. Acrylic paint (what most call latex) is not a great choice as it stays kinda rubbery and it difficult to repair. On walls good, on cabs not so much. The days of good ol' smelly oil base enamel are behind us for the most part.
    Last edited by Peter Rawlings; 02-05-2019 at 7:56 PM.

  3. #3
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    I have kitchen cabinets built in 1970. They were good quality at the time, but are at end of life. So I have had to repair some pieces, and the slides are all slowly failing. Replacing and repairing worn out cabinets of a design that you dont like to begin with is not very motivating, so I feel for you.

    Thing is, until I gut the entire kitchen, they are what I have. And I dont have the $$$$$$$ (major $$ where I live) for a kitchen remodel.

    So I just live with them. Failings and all.

    (you asked....lol)

  4. #4
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    If you like the idea of updating to stay with current trends, just go buy all new from IKEA. Should last long enough until the next big trend hits.

  5. #5
    Another consideration is countertop. If keeping existing, one of the options I listed is going to work best. If you're replacing c-tops, then new cabinets might be worth a look. It also pumps the budget significantly.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Eric D Matson View Post
    I have a bigger kitchen that is all 1995 golden oak. All the doors in the kitchen are arched with flat panels. I have 51 doors and 27 drawers in my kitchen. The golden oak is starting to drive us nuts. I would like to hear what some of your opinions for options of upgrading said kitchen. The drawer slides are starting to fail and I am replacing them with soft close slides. I really don't want to get all the drawer slides installed and then end up replacing the face frames and having to reinstall all the slides again. I wouldn't mind building all new doors and drawer fronts. I am still undecided on painting. Has anyone else been in this sort of situation? ThanksEric
    Tear it out?

    Painting oak is horrid.

    Boxes are easy, all of the work is in the doors and drawers. Your countertop, backsplash, and appliances are probably dated out about to fail too.

    Rip out out, start over.

  7. #7
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    Thanks Peter.

    How hard would it be to reface the cabinet boxes? I feel that is my better option. I really don't want painted cabinets. I definitely don't want painted oak.

  8. #8
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    We actually did the countertops and backsplash 5 years ago. The appliances were all updated before we bought the house 6 years ago. All this oak is just wearing on me I think. The floor and trim are all oak and there is a big built in that is oak.

  9. #9
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    I am probably just going to live with it as this project is way down the line. I was mainly bringing it up because I am going to be building a bathroom vanity shortly and was trying to decide on the style for that.

  10. #10
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    Refacing isn't too bad...similar prep as paint, however...it needs to be clean, Clean, CLEAN so that the veneer (and end panels, if any) you use will properly adhere to the surface. If the boxes are in good condition and the arrangement meets your needs, refacing and then providing new doors and drawer fronts is a cost effective way to renovate a kitchen.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  11. #11
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    If considering building your own cabinets, I have seen ones where you build the face frames/doors/drawer fronts and simply purchase the boxes. With some creativity in design details, it becomes a custom kitchen and cuts down on your work. Am considering that for a bathroom vanity project myself.

    For my situation, the hard part of my kitchen remodel isnt cabinetry, but electrical/heating rerouting that needs done (it was a wacky layout to begin with so pretty much everything is in the wrong place if remodeling). If the layout is pretty much the same as you have now, I think it is possible to diy (many here have built kitchens)

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Refacing isn't too bad...similar prep as paint, however...it needs to be clean, Clean, CLEAN so that the veneer (and end panels, if any) you use will properly adhere to the surface. If the boxes are in good condition and the arrangement meets your needs, refacing and then providing new doors and drawer fronts is a cost effective way to renovate a kitchen.
    I hadn't thought about veneering the bases. That seems like a good alternative to what I am wanting to achieve. I am going to look more into this. I appreciate the help! Thanks.

  13. #13
    51 doors is a huge job!!

    Have you thought about having them made?

  14. #14
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    We had nice granite on old boxes with nice but golden oak doors. I did a short term (5-10 year) fix by scuff sanding them all and spraying a water based varnish that I tinted with dye to a darker color. Super happy with the result. I did test the varnish to see how well it bonded before going forward. I removed all the doors and drawer fronts to spray in the shop and I masked off the kitchen from the rest of the house and opened two windows, one with a fan blowing in to clear the overspray so I could spray the face frames in place.

    We didn't replace the cheap builder grade boxes because there is no way to save the granite which we liked.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Engel View Post
    51 doors is a huge job!!

    Have you thought about having them made?
    Agree, but it's also an opportunity to convert lower "doored" cabinets to drawers which are generally easier to use for many folks. Lots of choices! I bought my drawer boxes from Keystone to reduce the workload for my own kitchen as well as for the three vanities and wet bar when we put on our addition a few years later. I personally prefer to make doors and drawer fronts because I'm very anal about grain and color match, however.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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