Answers From the Experts: Your Top Kitchen Refinishing Questions
Though NAPCO's business is rooted in bathtub refinishing services, you've probably noticed that we've expanded our range of training to include kitchen cabinets and countertops as well. This is because we want our professional refinishers to be able to stay competitive in today's home improvement market by offering a wider range of services.
However, change can be hard, and we understand that new services also come with new challenges to overcome. To better understand the concerns of our customers, NAPCO CEO, Steve Coven, went out into the field to speak directly with kitchen refinishers. Utilizing this feedback along with online comments, we've compiled your top kitchen refinishing concerns for Steve to respond to directly.
Take a look at Steve's answers to these frequently asked questions below:
Do I still need to remove the hinges and hardware when refinishing kitchen cabinets? Degreasing and masking the hinges can be messy.
Steve Says: You can remove hardware if the customer wants to replace it entirely, but if they don't, it's much easier just to mask it before refinishing. Kitchen Renew was formulated to leave doors and drawer fronts in place, so use TSP to remove tough grease on hinges and then mask them. It's a whole lot easier to do that than remove doors, match up each hinge to where it came from, cart doors offsite to spray, hang or rack them, bring them back to the site and reinstall. We want to save you time, and the best way to do that is to leave the doors and drawer fronts in place.
How do I deal with cabinets that have a heavy varnish? The wood grain is often still visible.
Steve Says: Our Kitchen Renew Satin White for Cabinets is a paint and primer in one. If that's not sufficient to fill in wood grain, be sure to pick up some of our Waterborne Primer which can be used on cabinets that have dark stain or wood grain to fill before applying the Kitchen Renew Cabinet coating.
What do I do if I can't refinish a kitchen in one day? Oftentimes the property management lets us in late, and we have to wait too long for the countertop coating to dry.
Steve Says: Explain to the property management company that you'll need a full day to ensure you can refinish both the cabinets and countertops. Do all of your prep and masking the remainder of the first day, then when you're able to come back the next day, you can begin spraying. Apply the Kitchen Renew Cabinet coating first, as that dries much quicker than the Kitchen Renew Countertop coating. Once the cabinets are dry to the touch (20 minutes after the last coat), remove the masking from the countertop and use large plastic sheeting taped underneath the bottom of the cabinets on the wall to the ceiling. This ensures no overspray will get on the cabinets as you're refinishing the countertop.
How much should I charge for a kitchen refinishing job? I want to remain competitive but still make a profit.
Steve Says: A good rule of thumb is $100 per cabinet door, $25 per cabinet drawer front – then measure the amount of linear feet you're refinishing and multiply it by $50. This is a good starting number for refinishing residential cabinets. For residential countertops, it's $50-60 per linear foot and add $20 per linear foot for a backsplash. Commercial jobs are priced differently, based on the configurations of the kitchen and the cost to replace everything. You should get estimated pricing (including disposal, labor, downtime, etc.) from the property manager and price out jobs accordingly.
Why is kitchen refinishing worth my time when I could stick to bathtub refinishing instead, and make similar profits each day?
Steve Says: Your profit margins are considerably higher when it comes to refinishing kitchens versus refinishing bathtubs since it's a larger job and you're refinishing more area with the same amount of time. Refinishing two residential bathtubs in a day gives you a gross revenue of anywhere from $800-$1,100; refinishing a small residential kitchen (cabinets and countertop) gives you a gross revenue of $2,500-$3,500.
How do I explain to homeowners that refinishing their cabinets is a better option than purchasing new cabinets instead?
Steve Says: Explain that the total cost to replace their cabinets is a lot more expensive than they think. Not only are they purchasing the cabinets, but they'll have to pay someone to install them, disposal fees, and any damage done to the floor, walls, or countertop in the process. Not to mention the mess and the downtime of not being able to use your kitchen for at least two weeks. With refinishing, homeowners can reduce their costs by up to 60% and have the use of their kitchen back in as little as 24 hours!
How do I negotiate with property managers to make them understand the value of my services?
Steve Says: The main benefit for property managers is a quick turnaround time. Meaning there is less downtime for renters and the focus is on needing units ready to rent as soon as possible. Also, by having a kitchen refinished in a day, they're reducing their costs and meeting budget numbers. Finally, refinishing kitchens using a professional refinisher allows their salaried handyman to focus on other things in the property that need attention.
Not every customer wants the flint-stone countertop look, what can I offer them instead?
Steve Says: One of the great things of our Kitchen Renew product line is that it's customizable – so if a customer wants a solid color for their countertops, we can match that color for them from black to pink. We're also looking to expand our countertop refinishing products to include 100% epoxy coatings that can be functional, durable, and customizable based on the customer's desires.
We hope these answers from Steve have helped clarify some of the trickier aspects of kitchen cabinet and countertop refinishing. Though it will take some adjusting, investing in kitchen refinishing training and products are worth it in the long run. As always, please don't hesitate to contact us with remaining questions or concerns about any of our services. You can fill out our online form or give us a call at 800-888-1081.