As much as you love the lime-green kitchen cabinets in the new home you just purchased, there’s something about it that says… well, it just has to go. Fortunately, refacing cabinets is just as simple as switching out the doors, after you’ve covered all the exposed areas of the frame with a veneer that compliments your new finish.
Before you get started, you’ll have to order cabinet doors that match the old ones, so that everything fits correctly – but once you have them in hand, you can complete this task in a single weekend!
Refacing: Beginning Steps
1) First, you’ll need to remove all of the cabinet doors so that you can clean the faces and sides of the cabinets with TSP. This will remove accumulated grease, after which you can allow it to dry before scuffing all the surfaces with 150-grit sandpaper. Wipe the cabinets off with tack cloth.
2) When this is done, you’ll want to apply carpenter’s glue to your plywood panel and then place it at the exposed end of the cabinet “bank”. Use 2d finishing nails to secure it in place, and sink the heads. Finally, a little wood filler will take care of the holes!
3) Your next step is to measure all of the rails and the stiles. Assuming you went with a peel-and-stick veneer, available at your local hardware store, use a straightedge and utility knife to cut the veneer into strips that are 2 inches longer and a half inch wider than each measurement you took. When ready to apply, hold the veneer up, aligning it so that it overlaps all the edges. Peel away part of the backing, press it into place, and continue down slowly.
Refacing: Halfway There
4) When your veneer is on the stile, take an extra wood block and press it down firmly on the veneer strip. This will ensure that your veneer is free of air bubbles and is secured in place.
5) Since you have overlap, you’ll want to use a utility knife to trim the excess pieces along the cabinet opening. You can use the inner edge of the cabinet frame as a guide for the knife, trimming the top and bottom before moving to the outer edges. Be sure to change your knife blade as needed – or sharpen it – in order to continually create clean cuts.
6) With the rails, place veneer so that it overlaps the stiles. In order to make a clean joint, you’ll want to line up a square so that your blade is along the inner frame and the stock is flat against the cabinet base. Again using your utility knife and square, cut through both veneer layers.
7) Remove the excess piece of veneer from the rail, and lift off the second piece to expose the stile. Take this extra piece off the frame’s face, and push the rail veneer back into place.
Refacing: Final Steps
8) Once you’ve done this along the entire face of the frames, you can put your new doors on! Screw the hinges onto the door, align the door with the cabinet opening, and make a temporary screw onto the frame. Adjust the door until it’s in the right place, and then tighten the screws up.
9) Finally, you can use a drill to make knob holes, and screw these into place!