Kitchen Cabinet Refacing
Get all the info you'll need on kitchen cabinet refacing, and ensure your kitchen cabinet makeover will be a stylish success.
Stephanie Russo Photography
Whether you're planning a simple kitchen spruce-up or a complete overhaul, deciding what to do about your cabinets is one of the biggest decisions you'll make. If you're contemplating a kitchen makeover, but don't want to break the bank on brand new cabinets, you'll want to explore your options for kitchen cabinet refacing. In many cases, refacing your kitchen cabinets can give them a "like new" appearance, or even create a whole new style aesthetic for your kitchen.
How to Reface Kitchen Cabinets
Many homeowners today are saving money by refacing rather than completely replacing their existing kitchen cabinets. There are three primary ways to reface cabinets: First, refinish or paint existing cabinet and drawer fronts. Second, install new wood or laminate veneer over existing cabinet and drawer fronts. Third, install completely new cabinet doors and drawer fronts.
Installing Wood or Laminate Veneer
Your first step in refacing the cabinets, is to attach clean plywood to the exposed cabinet sides. After cleaning and sanding the sides, apply the correctly sized plywood piece with carpenter's glue. Secure the plywood with finish nails, sink the nail heads, then fill the holes with wood filler.
Next, apply the veneer you've chosen. The key here is to measure properly, and then go slowly when applying. First, measure the stiles (vertical frame) and rails (horizontal frame). Then use a straightedge and a utility knife to cut the veneer into strips that are ½ inch wider and 2 inches longer than each stile and rail. Cut the veneer so the wood grain always runs lengthwise. Hold the veneer strip up to a stile and align it so it overlaps all edges, then peel away the self-stick backing and press the veneer into place, slowly working down the stile. Smooth the veneer with a wood block or other flat, hard object to work out any air bubbles.
Next, use your utility knife to trim the excess veneer from the sides of the stile or rail. When trimming at the joint between two cabinets, use a straightedge as a guide.
Paint or Stain Existing Cabinetry
Your other option for refacing is to strip wood cabinets of their stain, sand down to bare wood, and finish the cabinets with new stain or paint. This is a more labor-intensive process, but it's a viable option if a press-on veneer isn't appealing to you.
When painting cabinetry, first decide if you want to use latex or oil paint. Next, decide if spray or brush painting is right for your skillset and budget and what type of finish you desire. Then, remove the doors and hardware and clean the cabinetry surfaces. When this is completed, sand the cabinets, and apply the paint or stain, as desired.
Replace Kitchen Cabinet Doors
Once you've made the decision to replace your kitchen cabinet doors, you'll need to decide on what kind of doors you want in your space. Your options include custom doors, semi-custom, stock or ready-to-assemble (RTA), and whether or not you want wood, veneer or laminate. Custom doors are designed by you and built to your specifications. Semi-custom is exactly what they imply; they have some prefab elements and some custom elements. Stock is established designs you buy and install, and ready-to-assemble doors require some DIY skills.
Replacing your kitchen cabinet doors can breathe new life into an outdated kitchen. See our tips below on how to give your kitchen a facelift without spending a fortune.
Consider Installing New Hardware
To complete the kitchen cabinet transformation, be sure to change out your hardware for a fresh and updated look.
Painting or Staining Inside the Cabinets
When refacing the cabinets, consider freshening up the interiors too. They can be sanded, painted or veneered for a completely new look. Adding handy functionality, like pull-out drawers and rotating shelves, is another great option.