Rehab Old Kitchens & Bathrooms: An Inexpensive Facelift

As a general contractor turned investor, it has been my goal to teach people as many ways as possible to get the highest quality work and results for the lowest possible price. Bringing up the value of an investment property and creating equity are two major factors in building wealth.

More profit is lost in the fix-up cost of real estate than any other aspect of investing. Making a property look its best without losing your shirt is essential to the rehab business.

One of the most common things I have run across is kitchens and bathrooms with those old, stained cabinets. To give the house an inexpensive face lift, I use the following materials and techniques to renew the cabinets to a fresh, new, updated look.

You may use these same techniques to do stained trim work, stained doors, windows, and paneling. I prefer white semi-gloss look for updating older homes, and the new look can be done for under $100 if you follow these steps from my Rehab 101 system.

Step 1: Clean

First remove all the doorknobs or handles to the cabinets and drawers. Get a good sponge or cheesecloth and use white vinegar or distilled vinegar full strength to clean all surfaces. This step eliminates oil from cooking over the years and removes any greasy buildup on the surface.

Step 2: Sand

Get a sanding sponge and use some 200-grit sandpaper to lightly go over all surfaces. You are not trying to remove the stain color; you are just taking the gloss off of the stained area. Take a damp cloth or sponge to remove any dust from your project.

Step 3: Prime

Use an oil based primer such as KILZ or BIN brand and give all surfaces to be painted a good seal coat. This seals in any oils that will in time secrete through paints if not primed right. After your primer dries, use 100% acrylic latex paint on all cabinets and drawers.

I want to stress that I suggest good quality paint, brushes, and materials. You have not saved money or time if you have to do a project twice. With my quality brush and roller nap (3/8-inch nap), I will cut in the brushed areas and roll the other areas like normal painting.

Here’s a great tip: I use Sherwin Williams Pro Classic latex semi-gloss as my finish coat. No matter how it is applied, brush, roller, or spray, it is a self-leveling paint. What that means is that as it dries, it flattens out smooth like an oil-based paint and leaves a smooth look with no brush marks.

My color choice is always white. Clean white cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms make them look brand new and make the area look larger. Since it’s latex, all my clean up is with simple soap and water.

Here’s another tip: If your ever have to prime a surface or wall before painting and you’re changing the color, have your primer tinted half-strength of the color your finish coat will be tinted. This eliminates an extra coat of paint trying to cover the white primer.

Last, replace all knobs and handles with fresh new hardware for great results and saving hundreds over replacing old cabinets.

By CREOnline Contributor

A content contributor to the original