How To Fix Worn Spots On Kitchen Cabinets

How To Fix Worn Spots On Kitchen Cabinets

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Any time you enter a kitchen, several things come into your sight that will tell you that it is a kitchen. Kitchen cabinets are one of them. The truth is that a kitchen without these cabinets looks disorganized. In general, cabinetry helps store food items, utensils and spices. In addition, they set the tone for the theme and beauty of your kitchen.

Over time, kitchen cabinets become a little worn and develop noticeable dents, ugly dings and worn-out spots. If this is the current state of your cabinets, relax. This guide outlines the best tips on how to fix worn posts on kitchen cabinets before you embark on a kitchen remodeling project.

It is easy to fix worn-out spots on your kitchen cabinets. It can take a few minutes if you are careful and have the necessary things to do. But, the method you use to carry out the fixing process is dependent on your cabinets’ material. Nonetheless, wood filler, stain markers and new paint are essentials to make your cabinets look new.

Why do your kitchen cabinets have spots?

Before diving into fixing the worn spots on kitchen cabinets, you want to know what exactly causes the spots on them. In general, there are many reasons why this is the case. Understanding them is advantageous as it will impact how you can fix the issue long-term. Without further ado, let us dive into it.

Heat damage

Most of the kitchen cabinets contain paint. The heat produced in the kitchen can cause this paint to bubble, blister and peel off. Besides, the sun that enters the kitchen through the windows can cause this. To repair this kind of damage, you must strip and re-finish the cabinet.


Another possible reason your kitchen cabinets may have worn spots is friction. In fact, this is the major cause of these worn spots on the cabinets. It happens around the knobs, countertop edges, handles and most-visited locations in the kitchen. Besides this, friction can be from the pans or pots sliding across the counter. It can also take place where you mostly put your spoon or knife as you cook. Friction on a place causes discoloration.

Moisture damage

When moisture is on a composite or wood, the most-possible outcome is a swell. However, the wood may crack if the moisture and temperature changes exceed. Besides flaking off the varnish, the moisture makes knobs and handles loose. The truth of the matter is that if this happens, the quality of your kitchen decreases.

Age Damage

If a cabinet ages, the varnish, paint and any other finish start to break down for no reason. Here, the possible solution is to remove the old top layer and put in another one.


This occurs when something falls because of cold or heat damage or when an accident arises.  Chipping on a kitchen cabinet is likely to be at a specific place. For the purpose of fixing it, you need a filler or any other necessary material.

Simple Guidelines for fixing worn spots on your kitchen cabinets

You can attest from the above that there are countless reasons your kitchen cabinets can have worn spots. Luckily, they are easy to fix. Below are the possible tips you need to consider to help you do this successfully.

Check the cabinets type

Before doing anything to your kitchen cabinets, start by identifying what they are made of. In general, kitchen cabinets come in different materials. And this material responds differently to damaging elements.

The most common type of material used to make kitchen cabinets is wood. Still, there are different types of wood. Also, you must note that every type tolerates different temperatures, water, physical impact and light.  For example, plywood can warp, particleboards sag, and hardwood is prone to discoloration.

As indicated above, kitchen cabinets can develop worn spots from heat damage, moisture damage, chipping and many more. Take your time to gauge the damage to help you learn the possible treatment method you need to consider.

Clean the affected cabinet

You cannot fix the worn spot on your kitchen cabinet without cleaning off grime and dirt. Do this using a damp cloth. Before proceeding to anything else, allow the cabinetry to dry. Cleaning your cabinet before anything else helps you to see the imperfections in light. By that, you will treat them perfectly. Also, it makes touching up areas easier.

Cleaning the cabinet guarantees you an accurate assessment. At this point, you can tell what equipment and tools you need to proceed to the next step.

Choose the right job tool

To do the fixing task, there are things you need. You might already have these essentials or need to buy them from a hardware store.  If the issue is minor scuffs on the kitchen cabinets, cover them with a touch-up marker. If not the same color as your cabinet, go for the most similar one.

At times, you will be required to sand down worn spots. Here, you need fine-grit or medium sandpaper, a respirator mask, tack cloth and safety glasses. This is done using the following process.

  • Work in a well-ventilated area. Also, make sure you wear protective equipment.
  • Remove any accessories or door handles that may bring an issue while sanding.
  • Sand down the spots with medium-grit sandpaper. Some people prefer sanding all surfaces evenly. But this is dependent on your cabinet’s condition.
  • Use fine-grit sandpaper to smoothen the surface.
  • With a tack cloth, wipe the dust away.

A polisher or a buffer also works well to make a smooth surface.  Your wish is to have the next successful tip. Hence, try everything possible to avoid having a trace of the old finish.

Apply putty if need be

Other common issues in kitchen cabinets are dents, cracks and gouges. Gladly, it is easier to repair the issue. But this is only possible if it does not weaken the cabinet panel. It would help if you filled any present gap on the wood surface here.

In the case of small gouges, use putty sticks and allow them to dry for a number of days before finishing. You can choose to use putty or wood filler for the larger holes. Gladly, the two are available in wood tones which can camouflage the worn spots on your cabinets.

Generally, wood putty tends to behave like clay which you can apply over big areas. It is durable and affordable. Nonetheless, it stays wet for a long time and can prolong your project for several days.

On the other hand, wood filler dries fast. Like wood putty, this one has a wide coverage. But, it expands or shrinks at high temperatures.  Consider sanding certain areas to ensure the areas you fill in gaps are in levels.

Apply new paint or stain

Once you guarantee that your surface is even, apply new paint or stain using a paintbrush. Not just any paint; make sure it matches the one on the cabinet. Allow the first coat to dry to see if you need the second one. Before moving to the subsequent step, allow the coats to dry.

Apply a polyurethane coating

The last and most essential thing you need to do is to apply a layer of polyurethane over a specific spot, if not the entire cabinet. Do this with a paintbrush. The benefit of this coat is that it protects your cupboards from other causes of cabinet deterioration, like water damage and abrasion.

Polyurethane adds durability to your wood surfaces. Also, it offers a smooth finish that makes it look new.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it cheaper to reface cabinets or repaint them?

Painting is known to be cheaper than refacing. But painted kitchen cabinets build up dust and grease more easily than refaced cabinets. Hence, they need more maintenance.

Can you paint over kitchen cabinets without sanding?

It is not a must for you to sand your kitchen cabinets so that you can paint. You can clean and rough it lightly with a rough sponge and mineral spirits. It is after that you can consider painting it. Unfortunately, this does not open up the wood cabinet material as sanding does. Instead, it gives you an extra grippy area to allow the primer to adhere to.

What happens if I don’t want sand cabinets before painting?

Not sanding your kitchen cabinet before painting makes the new paint job chip immediately after it is dried. Many professionals consider creating a smooth and even surface. Even if you choose to begin staining to coloring.

What kind of primer do you use on kitchen cabinets?

The best kitchen cabinet primers you should get are oil-based primers. The truth is that existing cabinets have a lacquered or smooth-painted finish, which is difficult for paint to adhere to. In this case, the oil-based primer acts as the glue that offers an excellent base for the first paint coat.

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