The cabinets were originally golden oak. Then somewhere along their journey they were painted black; trendy, fun, and I rather liked them when we bought the house. But over time I felt the black was adding to the dark, closed-in feel of the kitchen. (It was fun to dance around in, but needed some updating.)
Answer: Refinish the cabinets.
The first step in this process was stripping the paint and varnish off. This can be done with super stinky chemicals, plastic gloves, and eye protection. Or…one can do it with water.
That’s right. The only thing we used to strip our cabinets was water, right from the tap. Oh, and Robears handy Sargent Steam.
This little steamer was a amazing when it came to stripping all the paint off our kitchen cupboards. With nothing but water and a little elbow grease we were able to get all the paint and varnish off and prepare the cupboards for priming. It is definitely the healthy, green, environmentally friendly and chemical free way to strip paint. No fumes, no toxins, and cheap. I just spent a few dollars on some metal pot scrubbies. The copper ones worked the best.
A quick minute with the steamer and then a little scrubbing with a pot scrubber was all it took to take most of the paint off. Twice over left the wood ready for priming.
Much thanks goes out to our friend Rachael and my mother Robear for the hours of work they put into scrubbing paint off cabinets. As easy as it might have been with the steamer, it still took a fair amount of time. Thanks you guys.
And a little thanks to my children for pitching in here and there as well. Using the steamer meant there weren’t any harmful chemicals to worry about so I was happy to give them gloves and a scrubby pad. Go for it Total Sweetness.
My one warning is that the steam coming from the machine is very hot. Wearing gloves was helpful. Just be sure to keep all body parts a few inches from the steamer end. Beyond that, the steam is warm but not scalding. I should probably note that I also knew this was relatively new latex paint. I’m not sure how it would work with oil based paint and always be careful if you have lead paint in your home.
Happy tons of work left.