Refacing cabinets allows you to completely change the appearance of your cabinetry without replacing it. Kitchen cabinets that are refaced are covered with veneer and the hardware and doors are replaced with the linear guide rail to achieve the desired aesthetic. Refacing kitchen cabinets is an excellent way to save money if your cabinets are in good condition but need to be updated.
To begin refacing your kitchen cabinets, you should choose veneer, new doors, and hardware that matches the rest of your kitchen renovation plans. Keep in mind that you’ll need doors that are the same size as the existing doors, but style can be completely different as long as all of the refacing materials you choose to complement one another.
With the materials chosen for your kitchen refacing project, you should remove the old doors and hardware. Paint the inside of the kitchen cabinets if you wish to. On the exterior, you should remove any damaged finish, fill holes with wood putty, and lightly sand the entire exterior to break up the finish and allow the veneer to properly adhere while refacing each unit.
After the kitchen cabinets are properly prepped for refacing, you should begin with the veneer. Cut one piece at a time when working with veneer and add a selvage that you will trim after the veneer is applied. To apply veneer for kitchen cabinet refacing, cut a piece that is ½” larger on all sides than the size needed to cover the area you wish to cover. Make sure that the grain is running in the proper direction before refacing, then attach it by removing the veneer backing from a corner and affixing it to the cabinet. Slowly remove the rest of the backing, pressing downwards and removing air bubbles as you go.
To make sure that the veneer is firmly affixed to the kitchen cabinet, use a heavyweight roller to remove any overlooked air bubbles. Then using a metal straight edge and a utility knife trim the excess veneer. In places where the veneer must be flush against another piece, such as the front of a cabinet, you should attach both pieces of veneer before trimming, allowing them to overlap. Then, using your straightedge and utility knife makes a cut in both pieces of veneer to create the seam that should extend from the inside corner of the door. This ensures that your refacing veneer seams are perfectly straight and meet without a gap.
With the kitchen cabinets covered, you can then attach the new kitchen cabinet doors and hardware. To attach the hardware to the cabinet doors, it is easiest to use a combination square that will allow you to accurately measure and place the hardware where you wish. Keep in mind that cabinet hinges should be the same distance from the edge of the top and bottom of the door. Drill pilot holes and then attach the hinges to the doors.
You should then attach any knobs or pulls to the door before attaching the doors to the cabinets. With all the hardware attached, you can then attach each door to the kitchen cabinet. Be sure to use a level and measure carefully to make sure that you hang each door straight. For this job, it is best to have someone hold the door in place while you mark the spots to drill pilot holes. Then, after the pilot holes have been drilled, that same helper can hold the doors while you screw them into place.
Refacing kitchen cabinets is a good way to significantly alter the appearance of your kitchen, but this project should only be done by a homeowner with a steady hand and the patience to complete the work properly. Keep in mind that the materials for refacing can be expensive and the job can look cheap if not carefully done. If you don’t feel that you have the time for the job, contact a professional who will be able to do the refacing for you, or suggest other options for changing your kitchen aesthetic.