The Great White Hype

Remember how a few weeks ago I said that I wanted to refinish our kitchen, but that if I started I would never finish?? That feeling of I am so stinking tired of these white cabinets got the best of me and yesterday I walked into the mega home improvements store and walked out with paint stripper, stain, and flooring.

I have been agonizing for weeks over what colors I wanted in the kitchen and with a little help from the trusty mother-in-law a conclusion was drawn.? The goal of this project is to complete in in under $350.? That includes stripping and re-staining the cabinets, painting the walls, new base moulding and putting down new flooring.? If I have enough left over I would like to replace the cabinet handles (hinges are fine) and replace the black counter tops.? Only problem with that is the back splash is black too and we would have to replace that and the tile we want definitely does not fit into the budget.

I was so excited about our great kitchen adventure I went straight home to start on the project.? I convinced the trusty husband to help and he begrudgingly said yes.? The idea with the cabinet paint removal was to apply the stripper and simply scrape off the paint.? There is three layers of paint on the base cabinets and two on the doors.? It’s not like we are talking about layers upon layers of age old paint here.? Of course Dane the dumbass previous homeowner strikes again.

Our house was built in 1964.? It had wood cabinets that had a simple clear coat of varnish on them.? They aren’t the prettiest cabinets in the world, but at least they aren’t those hideous oak things in all homes built in the 80s and 90s.? We aren’t 100% sure on the type of wood our cabinets are made out of, but I know it isn’t oak.? Clear coat plain wood isn’t the most beautiful thing in the world, but Dane (or his equally dumbassy wife) decided that painting the cabinets would make it better.? He/She/They painted the cabinet bases red.? But they took it a step further and a put masking tape X over the drawers and faux drawer fronts and then painted, peeled off the tape and our kitchen looked like a giant advert for Jamaica Red Stripe Beer.? I had so much to do when we bought the house the logical choice for covering the horribleness was to paint over that.? I picked white.? Never have a white kitchen.

Here’s where Dane’s “smarts” plays in.? We suspect that he selected oil based paint for his lovely endeavor.? Seems logical.? Put oil based paint over varnish.? He didn’t strip the varnish, he didn’t prime, nothing.? Just slapped some red paint on there and called it good.? So now I’m trying to remove 2 layers of white latex paint, 1 layer of oil based red paint and a layer of varnish.? This is going to go well don’t you think.

The first run through with our eco-friendly paint stripper got some of the white paint off.? A second layer got most of the white off and a tad of the red.? I had hoped I could get through all of the bases (top and bottom) with one bottle of stripper (that stuff is expensive), but it didn’t look like that was going to work.? We felt defeated and part way through the bottom cabinets we retreated to the couch.

A quick search on teh googles revealed that a good non-toxic way to remove many layers of paint is to use a heat gun.? Heat up the paint until it blisters and then scrape it off.? Now here is where being crafty is an advantage.? A heat gun you say?? Well, I happen to have one of those.? Albeit it’s a little small.? It is basically a stamp embossing tool.? It puts out a ton of heat and he he! it works like a charm.? It gets all of the white off and enough of the red that I can simply sand that off.? No extra money involved.? So I can now save my eco-friendly paint stripper for the doors (which it takes off the white) and use the heat gun on the bases.

Now should we take bets on how long that little gun will work before I burn the motor out?

Just to give you an idea of what my kitchen looked and looks like here’s a little slide show.? Please don’t comment on the many many layers of burned on grease on my tea pot.

2 Comment

  1. Heather says: Reply

    I have an extra heat gun if you want to burn the motor on it 🙂 Left over from the great “stamping” phase.

  2. We went through the same experience with stripping woodwork in our house. We started with chemical stripper, then organic stripper, and finally the heat gun! It’s been the best for stripping our 1920 wood windows. Although I’m probably huffing lead paint fumes when I use it.

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