Refacing Kitchen Cabinets
If you’re happy with the construction and layout of your existing kitchen cabinets, but are looking for a new style or desire a cabinet face-lift, refacing cabinets can be a great money saving option. Refacing cabinets involves removing and replacing cabinet doors and drawer fronts, then covering the exterior surface of the cabinet boxes with a paper-thin veneer. It creates an opportunity to choose a new cabinet stain or wood without tearing out the existing cabinets, countertops or flooring. For example, you can change the cabinet exteriors from light maple to a dark, stained cherry, or from solid paint to wood.
Refacing not only saves time and money, it also avoids the hassle of a full scale kitchen remodel. In addition, this is also a excellent time to replace worn-out cabinet pulls; add kitchen cabinet inserts and organizers such as roll-outs and spice shelves; and replace old drawer boxes and guides.
Refacing Cabinets: Who should do the work?
And what does Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Cost?
Because refacing is so labor intensive, it’s a job best left to professionals. If you decide to attempt it on your own, be aware of the difficulties of cutting and applying veneers accurately. Even if you hire a professional to reface your cabinets, the cost is still only about half the cost of new cabinets installed.
If you decide to hire a professional, be sure to ask about warranties and customer references. Reputable established companies usually offer a five-to-ten-year warranty on cabinet refacing.
Refacing Kitchen Cabinets: The removal stage: what to expect.
Once you’ve planned your project and ordered the materials, the first step in refacing is removal of the cabinet doors and drawer fronts. During this process, your kitchen will be unusable. Before the start of the project, you’ll need to remove all the items from your cabinets before the work begins. Ranges and refrigerators will also need to be moved out of the way for the duration of the project (this is the responsibility of the installer).
Cabinets will often have irregularities such as warping and chipping. These imperfections will need to be smoothed out or filled so the veneers can adhere properly. Several kinds of veneers are available from cabinet-door manufacturers: hot-melt, iron-on, pre-adhered stick-on sheets, and veneers that require an industrial-strength contact adhesive for application. While do-it-yourselfers often use iron-on or stick-on products because they’re easier to apply, professionals always use independent contact adhesives, which create a stronger, more permanent bond.
Application: Measure, Cut and Apply
Veneers are sold in 4’ x 8’ sheets. The installer will cut, from these sheets, the pieces needed to cover the exterior of the cabinet box. Careful measuring and cutting is essential for a good installation. Do-it-yourselfers should consult with the supplier on the best methods for cutting veneers.
After cutting, the veneer pieces are applied to the cabinets. Depending on the type of veneer, this process can involve any combination of heat application, pre-applied adhesive, and/or multi-stage contact adhesive. After the veneer is attached to the cabinet door or drawer front, final trimming, sanding, and touch-up is required to ensure a secure application and a clean, precise fit along the seams and corners.
Finishing the Cabinet Doors
Pre-finished and laminated cabinet doors and veneers will not require any additional finish work. If your cabinets are refaced in unfinished wood, however, the next stage is staining and finishing. Wood veneers are very thin and will absorb stain differently than solid wood. With light stains, the difference is usually unnoticeable, but the effect is greater with darker stains and certain types of wood. Do-it-yourselfers should ask a stain retailer about techniques and stain products that will help avoid mismatched cabinet doors and boxes.
...and the Last Few Steps
Next comes attaching the cabinet door hinges and hanging the doors. After that, knobs and handles must be installed carefully so that they line up evenly. Appliances can now be reinstalled. The final steps include final adjustments and touch-ups.