In my long career of being 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. Therefore 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 facelift, I use the following materials and techniques to renew the cabinets to a fresh new and updated look. You may also use these same techniques to do stained trim work, stained doors, windows and paneling. I prefer a white semi-gloss look for updating older homes and the new look can be done for under $100 if you do the following steps from my Rehab 101 system.
First step is to remove all the doorknobs or handles to the cabinets and drawers. Then get a good sponge or cheesecloth and using white vinegar or distilled vinegar full strength, clean all surfaces. This step eliminates oil from cooking over the years and removes any greasy buildup on the surface.
Step two is to 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 all the stained area. Once you are done with this, take a damp cloth or sponge to remove any dust from your project.
The next step is to 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 secrete through paints in time if not primed right. After your primer dries we will use 100% acrylic latex paint to go over all cabinets and drawers.
I want to stress that I always suggest good quality paint, brushes and materials because you have not saved money or time if you have to do a project twice. O.K., 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, but here's a great tip I use Sherwin Williams Pro Classic latex semi-gloss as my finish coat. The reason I choose to use the Pro Classic is that 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 base paint and leaves a smooth look with no brush marks.
My color choice is always white, because clean white cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms make them look brand new and also make the area look larger. Also since it's latex, all my clean up is with simple soap and water. Here's another tip if your ever having to prime a surface or wall before painting, and your changing the color, have your primer tinted strength of the color your finish coat will be tinted. This eliminates an extra coat of paint trying to cover up white primer.Last, replace all knobs and handles with fresh new hardware for great results, saving hundreds over replacing old cabinets.