Outdated Kitchen Remodel

A small, outdated kitchen gets a do-it-yourself facelift including refaced cabinets, new countertops and a stainless-steel backsplash.




Dan Nelson is due to finish his deployment in Afghanistan in less than four months. As a surprise, his wife Melissa wants to remodel their kitchen before he returns home.




The kitchen is for the most part functional and it is nice and bright, but the room sorely needs some updates. Many of the cabinet doors don't close all the way. The linoleum floor and countertops are scratched and stained. Melissa has already purchased new appliances, but she hasn't installed them yet, they're sitting out in her shed.

Materials and Tools:

air compressor and hoses
brad nailer
electric miter saw
painting supplies
pry bar
safety glasses
utility knife
3/4" birch plywood for cabinet doors
granite-style laminate countertop
concrete board
pre-cut stainless steel for backsplash


Prep — very carefully

  • Start with removing all furniture and appliances from the kitchen. Before removing the stove, be sure to turn the gas line off.
  • Empty the cabinets. Using a utility knife, pry bar and hammer, carefully remove the crown molding at the top of the upper cabinets and the baseboard trim around the floor. Using a screw gun, remove the cabinet doors and hardware. Label each door and cabinet so they can easily be matched up later.
  • Unhook the plumbing from under the sink. Unscrew the countertop from underneath and score the silicone caulk with a utility knife. Once the countertop is removed, the fridge and surrounding cabinets can be removed.
  • The old linoleum floor can stay until the cabinets are refinished.


    Cabinet Prep

  • HDSWT513_Nelson_Cabinet_Doors_taking_doors_off

  • Unscrew the base cabinets and set aside. Use 3/4" plywood to fill the area under the dishwasher and the footprint of the base cabinets. This will allow the cabinets to be the same height of the new tile floor. It also makes moving the new appliances much easier if they ride on the same plane.
  • Using an orbital sander, sand down the cabinet frames. We are priming and painting, so the sanding only needs to take off the finish.


    Cutting the Hole for the Sink

  • HDSWT513_Nelson_Kitchen_counter_installing_new_counter

  • With the countertop in place but not fastened, trace the inside of the base cabinet on the underside of the countertop. This helps assure that the sink cutout will be aligned correctly. Then, place the sink upside down on the underside of the countertop, positioning it correctly side-to-side and front to back. Trace around the edge of the sink with a pencil.
  • Using a circular saw or a jig saw, cut out along the marked line to remove the area for the sink. After installing the countertop, install the sink using provided hardware. Attach all necessary drain and water lines.


    Installing the Backsplash

  • The stainless-steel backsplash comes with mounting hardware that will allow easy installation to the wall and cover any cut edges. Measure and cut to fit. The bottom edge should be seamed with a silicone caulk sealant.


    Cabinet Doors

  • Using the table saw and circular saw, cut the new cabinet doors and drawer fronts out of 3/4-inch birch plywood. It's a good idea to label each door so they don't get mixed up in the installation. Using a table router, rout the edge of each cabinet door to add a decorative element to the cabinets.
  • The next step is to prime and paint. When dry, use a hardware template to set all the handles and hinges in the same place. Install the cabinet doors using a level and screw gun.


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