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As a single mom with six children, Kathy Kennedy’s kitchen is busier than most. While the kitchen was in fairly good condition, it was in need of a few upgrades, including sprucing up the cabinets and replacing the deteriorated plastic laminate countertops and broken dishwasher.

Kitchen Cabinet Makeover

To give new life to the stained oak cabinets, the surface was cleaned, given a fresh coat of finish, and the hinges and knobs replaced.

After the cabinet doors had been removed, the doors and cabinet boxes were lightly sanded with 400-grit sandpaper and 00 steel wool to remove the gloss and grime so the new finish would adhere properly.

Applying polyurethane to cabinets.
Applying polyurethane to cabinets.

To repair water damage on the cabinets, the damaged areas were sanded more aggressively with 220-grit sandpaper and a coat of Minwax Golden Oak stain applied where needed.

After the stain had dried, polyurethane was brushed on the cabinet boxes and sprayed on the doors.

When replacing cabinet hinges and handles, take the old ones with you to the home center so you can match the footprint and screw holes.

If the screws for the knobs are too long, cut them to the proper length with a multipurpose electrician’s tool.

If the hinge screw holes in the cabinets are too big, dip a toothpick in wood glue, insert it in the hole, and snap it off so the new screw will hold well.

Watch How to Replace Kitchen Cabinet Hardware and read our article on Kitchen Facelift Tips to find out more.

Kitchen Countertops

Water damage around the sink and in the joints caused the particleboard substrate in the existing plastic laminate countertops to deteriorate. To prevent this from happening, make sure to caulk under the sink and in seams when installing plastic laminate countertops.

After the old kitchen countertops had been removed, Formica Copper Quartz solid surface countertops (model # 772) with a built-in sink (model # K155) were installed.

Kitchen with new solid surface countertops, sink, and faucet.
Kitchen with new solid surface countertops, sink, and faucet.

Solid surface countertops are both attractive and durable. Minor scratches can be removed by buffing the surface with a Scotch-Brite pad.

Watch Choosing Kitchen Countertops to find about the different types of countertops that are available.

Kitchen Faucet

A single handle Danze Opulence faucet with a pull-down nozzle in satin black was installed to complement the countertops and sink.

The faucet features a ceramic disc valve to provide a tight seal for drip free performance and long life.

Watch How to Replace a Kitchen Faucet and read How to Install a Kitchen Faucet to find out more about DIY kitchen faucet replacement.

Kitchen after makeover with new countertops, sink, and faucet.
Kitchen after makeover with new countertops, sink, and faucet.

New Dishwasher

As a final surprise, we replaced Kathy’s dishwasher, which hadn’t worked in over a year, with a new one.

Watch How to Replace a Dishwasher and read Installing a Dishwasher to find out how.

Other Tips from This Episode

Using a coat hanger wire to clean the holes in a dishwasher spray arm.

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Cleaning Dishwasher Spray Arms

If your dishwasher isn’t cleaning well, the spray arm holes could be clogged. Remove the spray arms and use a coat hanger wire to clean out the holes. In extreme cases, soak the spray arms in warm water and vinegar to dissolve minerals. (Watch Video)

Can of Zinsser Mold Killing Primer

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Zinsser Mold Killing Primer

Zinsser Mold Killing Primer is a water based primer that contains a fungicide to kill any existing mold, mildew, or odor causing bacteria on surfaces. Zinsser Mold Killing Primer can be topcoated in one hour and is available at The Home Depot. (Watch Video)

Using a sprayer to paint kitchen cabinets.

Ask Danny Lipford:
Painting Kitchen Cabinets

To paint kitchen cabinets, clean and sand all surfaces thoroughly, wipe off any dust, and apply an oil-based primer. Fill holes or dents with auto body filler and sand smooth. Finally, apply two coats of enamel paint, sanding lightly between coats. (Watch Video)

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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