In Part 4 of this small Australian renovating series, you can experience the pain and hurdles of renovating a kitchen during COVID-19.
A little background
Flying from Italy to Australia initially, we only scheduled 6 weeks to complete a mammoth renovating project. As it so happens, this is at the height of COVID-19.
You may like to read Part 1 (the reason for so much renovating), Part 2 (internal and external house painting), and Part 3 (Replacing the patio and enclosure) of this renovating series before continuing.
After the state that the kitchen is left in, why install a new kitchen and pay thousands of dollars for the next lot of new tenants?
Instead, we take on the job of refurbishing the kitchen as this is cheaper and after all, this is a rental property. Although, refurbishing is a ton more work and it’s not as though there isn’t anything on our plates right now.
The renovating staged approach
A staged approach to renovating the kitchen is the better option because there’s so much to renovate. So, start with repairing everything before renovating doors and cupboards, followed by the benchtops.
Not sure of the exact age of the kitchen, but guessing maybe around 20 or 30-plus years, and following the tenants leaving after 14 years, nothing is in a good state.
The timber is quite grotty, greasy, and knocked about. The doors are not closing anymore and need shaving. Everything needs a lot of preparation work. This is where I come in, as the filling and Sanding Queen! Pretty sure this is a legacy from my boat-building days in my early 20s.
How do you prepare old worn timber and benchtops?
With loads of systematically filling dents and then sanding. A very time-consuming renovating job.
While the cupboard doors are still on, holes, dents, cracks, and anything else are repaired and filled.
Digging out the old silicone from the splashback is next. Although everything is dry, the splashback behind the sink suffered water damage over the years and swelled out.
Instead of replacing the panel, the laminate panel is screwed back into place before filling and sanding. This works well and is much cheaper, although this takes longer.
As with any renovation, the preparation takes a lot of time but is crucial to get a great result.
There is so much repairing, filling, and sanding that goes into renovating before the painting of this kitchen even starts.
Painting the cupboards
Removing the cupboard doors is the only way to end up with a good finish, and also much easier to apply the paint with a roller.
More sanding, followed by a couple of undercoats, followed by a couple of topcoats, is required to cover the aged thirsty timber.
The 4 coats of paint harden the timber nicely. Hoping the final finish is also hard-wearing for future tenants.
Painting the benchtop
After sanding the laminate benchtop to create a key, cleaning the area properly also takes time.
Masking everything around the benchtops takes a couple of hours but is well worth the effort. Especially for a messy painter, so always need this step before painting anything.
As the benchtop is laminate, a clear primer coat is necessary otherwise the topcoat can’t stick – even though the benchtop is sanded.
My job is to cut in corners, surrounds, and small panels while my partner follows after me and rolls the paint on the larger benchtop areas.
It’s a pesky paint product to use and seems to dry quickly. You can’t re-paint over what’s been painted more than once. Also, the paint doesn’t look as though it covers the laminate.
Once the paint settles out, it does cover the laminate. This is left to harden overnight before applying a 2nd top coat.
To really harden the benchtop surface, we apply another 2 clear topcoats, which also bring out the shine.
After 2 weeks of never-ending work on this kitchen and waiting 7 days for the benchtop paint to fully harden before use, the result is fabulous – from a distance. The hard work paid off.
Although, if looking closely at the benchtop, you notice the effect known in the painting trade as “orange peel”.
The smudgy part of this photo is where I brushed the surface lightly with a damp cloth containing Mineral Turpentine – not good. I tried to remove the silicone residue. This is how delicate the Dulux renovating paint range is after a few days when not fully cured.
Before starting the kitchen renovation, we watched many DIY videos, including the Dulux video. Also, using the correct implements to apply the expensive Dulux Renovation Range and following instructions to the letter. But still, the finish close-up is unsatisfactory with the orange peel effect. Although not noticeable from a distance, still disappointing after so much hard work and effort.
Of course, Dulux blames how we applied the product for this end result. Many emails, phone calls, a little shaming on FaceBook, and finally, Dulux offers a can of the benchtop Renovation Range for free – “out of goodwill” – so generous! Followed by the words of wisdom: “best to sand everything back and start again”! Seriously?
Check back next week for the never-ending fun and games, which sees renovating the bathroom and en-suite next…