Common Mistakes

 

D.I.Y. FOLKS PLEASE BEWARE

Here are some dangers and common mistakes made when do it yourself cabinet refinishing goes wrong.

Take caution, please don’t ruin your cabinets!

 

Using the wrong cleaning products

  • There are a number of popular cabinet cleaning products readily available in stores including oil soap, various lemon oils, furniture waxes and other rejuvenating products (name brands excluded). Most all of these shiny, oily, potentially stinky, and not to mention flammable, products contain petroleum distillates which in turn soften original finishes, thus accelerating decay. After use cabinets may look better; however, these results are temporary. Since these products are oil based, they leave a film wherever applied which attracts dust and residue. After several cleanings this build up will dull finishes, and hide wood grain. Application of multiple products may result in further complications (see pictures #1 ).
  • Cabinets are wood with finish on top of them just like your car is metal with a finish on it. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable putting a product on your car, perhaps you should reconsider putting it on your woodwork. Have you ever heard of anyone oiling their car finish? Similar to a clear coat on a car, finished cabinets do not require re-oiling. Only unfinished wood benefits from periodic oiling. (Some would say my wood looks dry. Actually that’s probably your finish braking down. It needs restoration, that’s what we do.) Without intentionally discrediting any name brand products, keep in mind that there is a lot of “snake oil” out there for sale.
  • Avoid using abrasive cleaners, steel wool and rough scrubbing pads. Monthly insecticide spraying will also eventually damage your lacquered baseboards!

 

 

#1. Chemical Reaction to multiple cleaners

 

Using the wrong finish

  • Many DIY cabinet refinishing projects don’t end well! Often times D.I.Y.er’s are advised to use an oil-based polyurethane; however, the polys recommended by clerks at a home improvement store are not always the ideal product for the job. This mistake is commonly made because the products used to finish raw wood often are not ideal for bonding to preexisting finishes. Please be aware, and avoid a disastrous chemical reaction that may result in sheets of finish peeling off your cabinets (See Pictures #2 & #3).

 

 

#2. Oil based Poly peeling from lacquer finish.

 

#3. Oil-based Poly peeling from lacquer finish.

 

Improper preparation

  • One of the most important steps to any refinishing project is proper preparation. People often hastily apply a finish without properly cleaning and staining damaged areas of the woodwork first. The results of improper preparation include permanently sealed in dirt, grime, damage and perhaps the wrong stain color.

 

 

Colored finishes and finish over products

  • There are many products sold, including tinted poly, waxes and stains, designed to change the color of cabinets; however, they have pitfalls. These products may streak, peel off, leave disproportionate coloration when applied over original finishes and even wash off with common cleaning products.
  • Even though most of these are distributed by reputable companies, they have a tendency to create a horrible mess (See Picture #4 and bottom right picture in the photo collage at the top of this page).

 

#4. Color transfer from cabinets to wash cloth.

 

Paint issues

#5 Peeling Paint

  • Factory painted cabinets are absolutely beautiful, so many people attempt to replicate them by painting over their stained cabinets. Unfortunately, cabinets are often ruined by using the wrong paint products and processes. Common wall paint will not properly adhere to cabinets and will peel off. (see Picture # 5)
  • Cabinet-rated paints come too thick and have to be properly thinned to work with a brush or spray unit. Clearly visible brush marks everywhere are not the mark of beautiful craftsmanship and is evidence the paint was not properly thinned.
  • Oak and other common woods will show all the grain patterns right through paint.  (see picture # 7) This may be displeasing to perspective home buyers. Remember, it’s impossible to strip all the paint off and return to stained wood, so there’s no going back!

  #7 Painted Wood

  • Lacquer paint is too brittle and will crack at the joints and easily chip. (see picture #6)
  • If you must paint we recommend Kitchen Concepts in Nixa Missouri, they use an acrylic polyurethane that will last for several decades.

#6 Cracking Joint

                

Many professional painters are not cabinet experts.

  • Cabinets painted with lacquer paint are often aesthetically pleasing; however, some lacquer products are too brittle. These products are very hard and will not expand or contract with wood over time. This results in chipping and cracks at joints and other various places. (see picture # 6) This is an example of a mistake often made by professional painters not properly trained on what works best for cabinets.
  • The center panel on cabinet doors needs to be free to move a little to compensate for seasonal changes. An inexperienced cabinet painter may caulk this joint resulting in unsightly and irreparable large cracks that will appear in a few months.

I hope it’s been an interesting read and worth your time, most of all I hope I’ve saved you and your cabinets from some of the most common refinishing mistakes.

If you value your home always thoroughly check out your contractor with your BBB, HBA and various other review sites!

Testimonials

  • “Jim and Andrew refinished my cabinets to look better than they did when we built our home in 1997.  The wood that was used was soft and had not...

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  • “Jim Urban refinished a 6 foot medium oak finish vanity; the vanity had some moisture damage.  He was there for a few hours and the vanity looks like new.  He...

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  • “Mr. Jim, the Gleam Guard Cabinet Refinishing employee, was very professional.  When the job was finished, I could hardly recognize our cabinets – the job was done that well!” Angie’s...

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  • “Jim was friendly, arrived punctually, had the kitchen completed in a day and a half.  I felt he was honest, trustworthy and they totally cleaned up when finished.” Angie’s...

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  • “Jim and his helper arrived on time, worked without disrupting the household.  They finished when promised.  Very professional, friendly, and accommodating.” Angie’s List customer

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  • “The 3 person crew did beautiful work, very conscientious, very courteous & professional. They clearly cared about their work and cared about customer satisfaction. Did a great job!” Angie’s...

    Barbara M. – Springfield, MO

  • “Refinish cabinet in kitchen and 3 bathrooms, also 1 door.  They were on time, on budget with their estimates and did an excellent work.   All woodwork they did...

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    Richard F. – Branson, MO

  • “Jim and his team cleaned away the old marked finish on our kitchen cabinets and kitchen floor, touched up places where the wood stain was damaged and then applied...

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    Vickie E. – Nixa, MO

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  • “Cabinets look great. Jim and his team were friendly, professional and cleaned up after themselves. We were so happy, we referred some friends who also loved the results!” BBB...

    Jack R. –

  • “Needless to say after 43 years of wear and tear my kitchen cabinets needed help. So here comes Jim to my rescue he glued all the seam spaces back...

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  • “Jim did wonderfully in refinishing my cabinetry. He not only made them look like new, but also accomplished the job without making the use of my kitchen inconvenient. He...

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  • “We were very happy with the job that Jim and Gleam Guard Cabinet Refinishing did on our cabinets. We were impressed by their professionalism and detailed work as the...

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  • “Very, very happy with our cabinets. They are 45 years old and they looked it. Now they look like new. I wish we had gotten this done a long...

    Ginger Bishop

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    John R.

  • “The owner and crew were very detailed and particular about the refinishing process. It met all of my expectations. It was a pleasant experience working with this company. They...

    H H.

  • “Our kitchen cabinets were 18 years old and showed the wear. Jim and his son refinished the cabinets over two days and the result was exactly what we hoped...

    John D.

  • “We had a wonderful outcome with Gleam Guard for our cabinet refinishing. Jim & Tim were meticulous & kept us posted on every detail of the work. We had...

    Barbi O.

  • “We met Jim’s son at the Ozark Empire Fair he was telling us of this wonderful products that would prepare and refinish my cabinets and would have no offensive...

    Peggy R. – Spokane, MO

  • “Gleam Guard was a great option to replacing my kitchen and bathroom cabinets. I liked the color of my cabinets and needed them to be refreshed. Gleam Guard came...

    Nancy B.

  • “They did a great job on our cabinets. They seem to genuinely care about the work and tried to keep the house clean and clean up after they finished....

    Tim W.

  • “I met Jim at the home show and discussed my kitchen cabinets. Jim was easy to talk to and we scheduled an appointment to look at the 21 year...

    Daryl R.

  • “3 Days before Thanksgiving 2015 Gleam Guard came to refinish our kitchen cabinets. The father and son team were remarkable, and very professional. I have lived in the Ozarks...

    Steve C.

  • “This company was very easy to work with. Employees were friendly and thorough. I would highly recommend them to anyone who is in the market for cabinet refinishing.” BBB...

    Chase P.

  • “Jim and Tim just completed our cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom. I am very pleased with their work. I consider the price to be reasonable. Very honest and...

    Debbie B.

  • “Work was very professional and pleasing. Definitely liked the results.” BBB Website

    Harry S.

  • “My cabinets look brand new! The process is essentially odorless and dustless. Jim and his crew were very considerate and conscience. I can heartily recommend their service.” BBB Website 

    Karla M.

  • “I am completely happy with Cabinet Refinishing Center by Gleam Guard. Jim Urban was professional and did an excellent job. I highly recommend him to anyone who needs any...

    Margo K.

  • “Jim was friendly, arrived punctually, had the kitchen completed in a day and a half. I felt he was honest, trustworthy and they totally cleaned up when finished”

    Karen Carmichael Nixa, MO.

  • “I wanted to rip out the nasty cabinets that are in the new house that we bought as a repo. The money to replace the cabinets would have come...

    John Robison – Republic, MO

  • “Thank you for doing a great job in my home. Not only was the craftsmanship superb, but the attention to detail and extra effort to finish in one day...

    Jack H. Cole Mayor, Rogersville, MO.

  • “Gleam Guard technology brought our dull cabinets back to life! They looked so good we had all of our molding, doors & frames treated.”

    John & Sally McAlear – Springfield, MO.

  • “Thanks for such a beautiful transformation of my old kitchen cabinets. Gleam Guard’s attention to detail, care of my household and genuine desire to do the best possible job...

    James Lowell Thomas ( V.P. Architecture & Construction, John Q. Hammons, Inc. Ret.)

  • “Gleam Guard was a Godsend! After finishing a home addition and remodel, our kitchen cabinets, doors and trim still looked old and worn. The Gleam Guard Team made them...

    Dr. Jeff & Carmen Dorman-Springfield, MO.

  • “I spent three years going to local shops & calling radio “woodworking experts”, but no one could help my cabinets. I’m still amazed at how simple it was for...

    Dr. Brett & Laurie Bowling – Monette, Mo.

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