With thousands of refinishing projects under our belts, at N-Hance®, we know a thing or two about how to refinish kitchen cabinets. We also know a thing or two about how you shouldn’t approach kitchen refinishing projects.

So if you’re getting ready to refinish your kitchen, here are some key do’s and don’ts you’ll want to keep in mind…

Kitchen Refinishing Do’s & Don’ts

1. Professional vs. DIY Refinishing

DO:Think carefully about whether you want to refinish kitchen cabinets by yourself or if it’s better to hire professional refinishers. If you’re leaning toward DIY refinishing, take the time to plan your project from start to finish, and make sure that you’re fully prepared for each step of the refinishing process.


  • Try to tackle a DIY refinishing project without planning your project in advance.
  • Underestimate the number of hours that DIY kitchen refinishing can take.
  • Refinish kitchen cabinets without getting an estimate on professional refinishing.

Pro Tip: Contact your local N-Hance office to schedule a free consultation and estimate for kitchen refinishing services.

2. Workspace Lighting

DO:Make sure that your workspace has adequate lighting when refinishing cabinets. Use multiple light sources to avoid harsh shadows. Also, check for areas where poor lighting makes it difficult to see work surfaces. If you need to, use moveable light sources to illuminate these areas.


  • Rely solely on one or two lighting sources.
  • Rely solely on overhead lighting.
  • Try to work with dim lighting or harsh shadows.

3. Air Quality Concerns

DO:Take precautions to prevent and/or mitigate air quality hazards like wood dust and chemical fumes. Make sure that you’re working in a well-ventilated area, use a shop-vac to contain wood dust from sanding, and wear a respiratory mask when sanding or applying products that produce hazardous fumes.

Also, you can reduce air pollution by using alternatives to traditional kitchen refinishing methods. You can prevent air dust by choosing a refinishing method that doesn’t involve sanding. And you can reduce harsh fumes by choosing a water-based finish with low VOCs.


  • Refinish kitchen cabinets without protective equipment and good ventilation.
  • Sand your cabinets without exploring alternative options that don’t involve sanding.
  • Use harsh chemicals for cleaning, stripping, or refinishing without exploring safer alternatives.

Pro Tip: If you’re worried about wood dust, N-Hance can refinish your kitchen without sanding. We also use a low-VOC, water-based finish to eliminate harsh fumes.

4. Cleaning Surfaces for Refinishing

DO: Thoroughly and carefully clean cabinet doors, cabinet boxes, and any other surfaces before you proceed with your kitchen refinishing project. Take as much time as you need to clean dust, dirt, oil, and grime from these surfaces, and pay special attention to any moldings or carved areas.


  • Rush cleaning to try to finish your project more quickly.
  • Use cleaning products without first making sure they won’t cause permanent damage.
  • Forget to clean up any dust or dirt that settles on these surfaces before they’re refinished.

Pro Tip: If you’re worried about caked-on grease and grime on cabinets, your local N-Hance can use a specially formulated cleaning agent to clean your cabinets prior to refinishing.

5. Checking Wood for Damage

DO: Thoroughly inspect all surfaces after they’ve been cleaned for signs of damage or staining. Look carefully for cracks, chips, and dents in wood surfaces, or for areas where wood has become discolored.

Minor, surface-level damage can usually be sanded out of the wood. If you’re refinishing without sanding, or if you find signs of deeper damage, you’ll need to fill and/or camouflage these areas prior to refinishing.


  • Assume that minor damage won’t be noticeable after refinishing.
  • Attempt to sand away damage that’s extends beyond the wood surface.
  • Try to fix damaged areas unless you’re confident in your ability to do so.

Pro Tip: The kitchen refinishing pros at your local N-Hance can restore and mask damaged areas prior to refinishing to achieve a like-new appearance.

6. Removing Previous Finish

DO:Thoroughly remove the previous finish, either via sanding or chemical stripping. Make sure that the old finish is completely removed before proceeding. Ensure that your work area is well ventilated and wear protective equipment. After stripping the old finish, thoroughly clean all surfaces again to remove any wood dust, stripping product, or lingering bits of finish.


  • Proceed until you’ve removed all of the finish from the surface.
  • Fail to strip finish from crevices, moldings, and carved areas.
  • Sand or strip finish without proper ventilation and protective equipment

7. Applying Finish

DO:Follow instructions on the label when applying a new finish. Apply finish in the direction of the wood grain, and try to achieve an even, consistent coat. Avoid using too much finish, as this can lead to drips. Instead, build up a consistent finish layer with mutiple coats.

Make sure that your work area is well-ventilated and that you’re wearing protective equipment, especially if you’re using a finish that produces harsh fumes. Also, make sure that the finish has enough time to cure, since you can damage the finish by touching it before it has fully cured.


  • Start applying finish without carefully reading the instructions.
  • Apply finish without proper ventilation or protective equipment.
  • Use or touch your cabinets before they’ve fully cured.

Pro Tip: Thanks to our Lightspeed® instant-cure system, N-Hance can instantly cure the finish on your cabinets, meaning you don’t need to wait days or weeks for them to cure.

Contact your local N-Hance today at (855) 642-6230 to learn more about our kitchen refinishing services and request a FREE estimate!