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Modernizing Kitchen - Any hope for Oak Cabinets?

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  • Nov 22nd, 2019 1:26 pm
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Apr 24, 2006
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Modernizing Kitchen - Any hope for Oak Cabinets?

Has anyone had any success with keeping nice quality, but outdated oak cabinets while putting in a new/modern looking floor?

It'll cost too much to repaint/reface and the oak cabinets are actually of good and sturdy quality, they are just a little outdated. It's hard to find a good floor, because we will eventually replace the cabinets, but we wouldn't want to re-do the floor again.

Does anyone have any suggestions on what colours of flooring would possibly work? It'll be part of an open concept living design.

Thanks!
15 replies
Deal Addict
Mar 27, 2015
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Why can't you repaint the cabinets yourself? Its a bit of work but nothing that joe average home improvement person couldn't do themselves. Even I did mine and they look great.
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Jun 12, 2008
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icantfigureoutausername wrote:
Nov 19th, 2019 7:48 pm
Why can't you repaint the cabinets yourself? Its a bit of work but nothing that joe average home improvement person couldn't do themselves. Even I did mine and they look great.
If you use Mineral Paint on the cabinets, it'll hold up quite well to the wear & tear of use.
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Oct 9, 2010
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Give us a pic of the cabinets.

IMO, NEVER paint cabinets: it looks like garbage 100% of the time, and you can't undo the damage later. You might consider buying new doors, which if you just want them to be some random painted colour, won't be too expensive.
Maybe some new hardware will also make them look better (which is another cheap option, if you shop online).
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Feb 22, 2007
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We also have a solid wood kitchen (oak doors)...we had this done about 15 years ago...

we are doing a reno now...and my one option was to paint the doors...but i opted against it...because I reviewed some samples and it really does look like garbage once painted.

I went with IKEA now....
my old kitchen is for sale....if it doesnt sell in 2 weeks...it will be dismantled and gone :(
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Dec 10, 2008
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Painted oak always looks like trash, IMO.

Save up and do it right
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pardnme wrote:
Nov 20th, 2019 9:18 am
We also have a solid wood kitchen (oak doors)...we had this done about 15 years ago...

we are doing a reno now...and my one option was to paint the doors...but i opted against it...because I reviewed some samples and it really does look like garbage once painted.

I went with IKEA now....
my old kitchen is for sale....if it doesnt sell in 2 weeks...it will be dismantled and gone :(
Yupp... did Ikea too.. got the cheapest one thinking I was going to sell it but still looks 100x better than the "80s Oak" . And just the little hardware + function design options makes it much more usable.

If DIY painting, invest in an airless spray gun like this Graco or hire someone who does. But when you think about the work and most importantly involved, I say go for IKEA when they have their sale. It's not as pricey as you think. And believe me, you think you can 'just do the floors'. Better off just gutting it and redoing it. Can also make modifications or have types of cupboards that you probably didn't think about much (i.e. Corner cabinet is on an angle with a pullout lazy susan thing which allows for far more storage of pots, pans, etc.

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Dec 17, 2017
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Tijuana wrote:
Nov 19th, 2019 7:14 pm
Has anyone had any success with keeping nice quality, but outdated oak cabinets while putting in a new/modern looking floor?
I would say don't change the floor now and wait until you're ready to replace the cabinets. If you lay the floor around your current cabinets now you're stuck with the same kitchen layout and exact same cabinet dimensions. Also be mindful of your dishwasher if you lay floor around the cabinets. Make sure there's enough clearance to get it out.
pardnme wrote:
Nov 20th, 2019 9:18 am

my old kitchen is for sale....if it doesnt sell in 2 weeks...it will be dismantled and gone :(
Remember Habitat for Humanity will come and pick up your kitchen for free and even do the deconstruction for free if you schedule it far enough in advance. You'll also get a tax receipt for whatever they can sell the kitchen for at the reStore.
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Nov 17, 2012
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Whatever you do with the cabinets, if you're doing the floor, pull the base cabinets out and do the floor properly. Wall to wall under all cabinets etc. Then put the base cabinets back in place.

Don't be 'that guy' who runs new flooring up to the toe kick of the existing cabinets.
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Mar 13, 2004
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We renovated our kitchen a few years ago and got ours painted by a pro and they came out great. If I can find a photo I'll post one.
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Mar 22, 2017
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I'm considering a kitchen reno myself, and it's an absolute bastard. To do it properly you have to take the cabinets out, fix any floor issues so you can lay excellent tile on it, then you have to rehang the cabinets, get appliances reinstalled (which may mean a plumber or an electrician if things got weird), paint the cabinets, put on a new countertop, new sink and faucets (which probably means plumber), you might need to fix other things (maybe you raised the floor with your tile and subfloor work, do you have stairs off the kitchen, how do you address the new grade? New nosing? Entirely new stringer? what about room transitions?) Plus maybe your cabinets are now a touch higher, so does your window still fit or do you need to mess with the trim or even replace the window entirely?

Given you have to take out the cabinets already to do it properly, you should at least explore new cabinets. I also have solid oak cabinets that are fifty years old, and aside from somewhat dated details on them and a few fixable dings they're in okay shape. Any reasonably priced cabinets will probably be MDF boxes with hardwood (or MDF) faces, but you can get exactly what you want, the styling will be what you want, where you want, etc.
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Jul 7, 2017
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If you can bleach the oak, it may work. I actually like bleached oak and think it is rather ageless (or ages well)..
Almost too cheap to shop through RFD
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Feb 22, 2007
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stacksonstacks wrote:
Nov 20th, 2019 11:34 am
I would say don't change the floor now and wait until you're ready to replace the cabinets. If you lay the floor around your current cabinets now you're stuck with the same kitchen layout and exact same cabinet dimensions. Also be mindful of your dishwasher if you lay floor around the cabinets. Make sure there's enough clearance to get it out.



Remember Habitat for Humanity will come and pick up your kitchen for free and even do the deconstruction for free if you schedule it far enough in advance. You'll also get a tax receipt for whatever they can sell the kitchen for at the reStore.

I am donating it to them since I haven't found a buyer....but they said they will provide the receipt once the kitchen has been evaluated....they didn't mention tax receipt that will provide a receipt based on the selling price
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Dec 17, 2017
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pardnme wrote:
Nov 21st, 2019 9:56 am
I am donating it to them since I haven't found a buyer....but they said they will provide the receipt once the kitchen has been evaluated....they didn't mention tax receipt that will provide a receipt based on the selling price
Yes the receipt is based on the assessed fair market value, it's a CRA rule for charitable donations of goods in kind. So they'll assess it to determine the FMV for the selling price at the store and give you a tax receipt for its FMV.

Also good on you for donating them, they're a good cause and it keeps stuff out of the landfill.
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May 30, 2005
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pardnme wrote:
Nov 20th, 2019 9:18 am
We also have a solid wood kitchen (oak doors)...we had this done about 15 years ago...

we are doing a reno now...and my one option was to paint the doors...but i opted against it...because I reviewed some samples and it really does look like garbage once painted.

I went with IKEA now....
my old kitchen is for sale....if it doesnt sell in 2 weeks...it will be dismantled and gone :(
If nobody wants it, I'd appreciate and would gladly take them off of you :)
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