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Kitchen Cabinets Finish Peeling? Quick DIY Fixes to Restore Charm

Peeling kitchen cabinet finishes can be a real eyesore, detracting from the overall aesthetic appeal of your cooking space. Fortunately, with a bit of elbow grease and the right approach, you can restore that fresh, vibrant look without breaking the bank or hiring a professional.

Identifying the Causes of Peeling Kitchen Cabinet Finishes

Before diving into the fix, it’s crucial to understand what led to the peeling finish in the first place. Several factors can contribute to this unsightly issue:

Once you’ve pinpointed the culprit, you can better devise a strategy to tackle the peeling and prevent future occurrences.

kitchen cabinets finish peeling

Prepping Peeled Kitchen Cabinets for Refinishing

Proper preparation is key to achieving a smooth, long-lasting finish.

By following these steps, you’ll have a clean, smooth canvas ready for the new finish to be applied.

DIY Refinishing Options for Peeling Kitchen Cabinet Finishes

Now comes the fun part – choosing the right refinishing method for your kitchen cabinets. Here are a few budget-friendly options to consider:


Painting is one of the most cost-effective and transformative ways to breathe new life into your kitchen cabinets. Not only can it cover up peeling finishes, but it also allows you to completely change the look and feel of your kitchen. You’ll need:

Start by applying a primer coat if needed, then follow with two to three coats of your chosen paint color, allowing each coat to dry thoroughly between applications. For a professional look, lightly sand between coats with a fine-grit sandpaper (220-320 grit) to ensure a smooth finish.

Don’t forget to remove hardware, doors, and drawers for easier painting, and consider updating knobs and pulls for a fresh new look.


If you prefer to showcase the natural beauty of the wood grain, staining is an excellent option for refinishing peeled kitchen cabinets. You’ll need:

Apply the wood conditioner if using, then follow with the stain, wiping away any excess and ensuring even coverage. Let it dry completely, then apply a few coats of polyurethane or varnish to protect the finish and enhance the depth of color.

Staining can be a bit trickier than painting, so it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and test the stain on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure you achieve the desired color.

Refinishing Kits

For a hassle-free solution, consider investing in a cabinet refinishing kit. These kits typically include everything you need, from deglosser to the final topcoat, and come with detailed instructions for a professional-looking finish.

Many kits offer a variety of finishes, from paints to stains and even glazes, allowing you to achieve the look you want without having to purchase and mix multiple products. They’re also formulated specifically for cabinets, ensuring excellent adhesion and durability.

Whichever option you choose, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and apply thin, even coats for the best results.

Once you’ve put in the effort to restore your kitchen cabinets, you’ll want to ensure the new finish lasts. Here are a few tips for prolonging the life of your refreshed cabinets:

With a little care and maintenance, your revitalized kitchen cabinets will continue to look their best for years to come, providing a fresh, updated look without the need for costly replacements.