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How to Refinish Medicine Cabinets

Enhance the look of your medicine cabinet by refinishing it with a durable, glossy enamel. Before paint, consider a few crucial points. Whether your medicine cabinet is made of wood or metal, it will not accept a new finish until it is prepped with a base primer.

Prime the cabinet before you paint it.

Things You Will Need

  • Coarse sponge
  • Water-based degreasing cleanser
  • Rags
  • Towels
  • Masking paper
  • Professional painter's tape
  • Drop cloths
  • Latex spray primer
  • Metal etching spray primer
  • Acrylic spray enamel
  • Oil spray primer

Enhance the look of your medicine cabinet by refinishing it with a durable, glossy enamel.  Before paint, consider a few crucial points. Whether your medicine cabinet is made of wood or metal, it will not accept a new finish until it is prepped with a base primer.  Choose a certain type of primer based on the cabinet's composition, or flaking is inevitable. Apply the primer and painted finish, using the right technique, or sags and runs will show in your final results. 

  1. Unscrew the handle. Remove items from the medicine cabinet.
  2. Use a sponge to clean the medicine cabinet with soap. Rinse the cabinet, using wet rags. Let the cabinet dry for a full day.
  3. Use tape to apply masking paper to surfaces on and next to the medicine cabinet that are to remain unfinished. Cover the surface under the cabinet with drop cloths.
  4. Coat wooden medicine cabinets with latex spray primer. Coat metallic medicine cabinets with etching spray primer; maintain 8 inches between the cabinet and spray nozzle as you apply. Allow your medicine cabinet to dry for three hours.
  5. Coat the primed medicine cabinet with acrylic enamel. Maintain 8 inches between the cabinet and spray nozzle as you apply. Allow your medicine cabinet to dry for three hours.
  6. Tip

    Use an oil primer on stained wood medicine cabinets.

    Warning

    Do not use plain primers on metal medicine cabinets, or flaking will result.

    Don't paint unprimed medicine cabinets, or peeling will occur.

    Never refinish a medicine cabinet with latex paint; the finish will not last.

Things You Will Need

  • Coarse sponge
  • Water-based degreasing cleanser
  • Rags
  • Towels
  • Masking paper
  • Professional painter's tape
  • Drop cloths
  • Latex spray primer
  • Metal etching spray primer
  • Acrylic spray enamel
  • Oil spray primer

Tip

  • Use an oil primer on stained wood medicine cabinets.

Warnings

  • Do not use plain primers on metal medicine cabinets, or flaking will result.
  • Don't paint unprimed medicine cabinets, or peeling will occur.
  • Never refinish a medicine cabinet with latex paint; the finish will not last.

About the Author

Ryan Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colorado. He has been writing professionally since 1999. He has 10 years of experience as a professional painting contractor. Lawrence writes for High Class Blogs and Yodle. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and public relations with a minor in history from the University of Oklahoma.

Photo Credits

  • Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images
  • Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images