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Can I Reface Kitchen Cabinets Myself?

Can I Reface Kitchen Cabinets Myself?

Many kitchens in Chicagoland are due for a make-over. Instead of a full remodel, however, many homeowners are opting for kitchen cabinet refacing instead. Kitchen cabinet refacing is the process of updating your cabinets by installing new cabinet doors and veneers. You may be thinking, why would I want to reface my cabinets and can I reface kitchen cabinets myself?

Benefits of Cabinet Refacing

Cabinet refacing can completely change the look and feel of your kitchen. Replacing the doors and veneers can do more than change the colors of your cabinets. It can also add a new style that breathes fresh life into the space. Door styles like raised panel doors, recessed panel doors, and flat panel doors can elevate your kitchen to new heights. Installing new hardware while refacing the cabinets can give your kitchen a whole new feel. Replacing stuck drawers, as well as adding things like soft-close drawer glides. hidden hinges and even lazy susans in cabinets can modernize the feel of your kitchen.

How Do You Reface Kitchen Cabinets?

Refacing kitchen cabinets can be a tedious process to get the brand-new feel that professional cabinet refacing can provide. Attention to detail and triple-checking your measurements can really help make the project go smoothly. With that in mind, here are the steps to a basic kitchen cabinet refacing.

Measure the Cabinets

The first step is to measure your cabinets. When you’re measuring you’ll want to record width, then height. You’ll want to measure the door sizes, the cabinet’s opening sizes, the drawers sizes, and the end panel’s size. We recommend making a diagram of the cabinets to keep track of all the measurements.

When measuring you may notice the size of the door is significantly larger than the door’s opening. This size difference is the overlay of the cabinets. You’ll want to account for the cabinet overlay when you’re refacing your cabinets. You can add more or less of an overlay if you’d like, but typically the standard overlay is 1/2 an inch.

Order Your Materials

Once you have your measurements you can order your materials. You’ll want to order new fronts for your cabinets and drawers, as well as a veneer for the fronts and sides of the cabinets. Keep in mind when ordering new veneer that there are three different types. Non-adhesive veneer will need attaching with contact cement. Peel-and-stick adhesive (PSA) veneer has glue on the back of it already, which makes installation easy but the glue isn’t always the best. The final option is 1/8-inch plywood sheets that need installing with wood glue and nails.  Try to buy the wooden veneer and cabinet fronts from the same vendor so the wood grain will be identical. You’ll also want to order new hardware if you plan on installing some.

Prepare the Cabinets

You’ll need to prepare the cabinets before you install any of your new materials. Empty your cabinets so nothing is broken or covered in dust. Remove the cabinet and drawer fronts, including their hinges. Clean the inside and outside of the entire cabinets, and allow them to dry. Then, sand the surfaces of your cabinets that you’re going to be adding the new wooden veneer to. Medium grit sandpaper is best for this. After the sanding, clean the cabinets again to remove all the dust. This will ensure the veneer will stick properly.

Apply the Veneer

Measure the faces of your cabinet shells, preferably twice, and cut the veneer to size. Ideally, using a laminate slitter is the tool you’d use. However, if you don’t have a laminate slitter you can cut pieces slightly too large and then trim them down once they’re in place. To apply a peel-and-stick adhesive veneer, press down on the veneer once in place and smooth the veneer with a veneer applicator tool.

Install the New Doors and Drawers

Once the veneers are installed you’re ready to replace the cabinet and drawer fronts. Install the new hinges, keeping in mind the overlay you’ll need for your cabinets. Once the hinges are properly installed, you can hang your new cabinet doors. Align the drawer fronts, once again keeping their overlays in mind, and install them as well. Once that’s done, you’re finished!

Is Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Right For Me?

While we’ve outlined the process above, there are still significant barriers that homeowners face when considering a DIY cabinet refacing project. Homeowners who take on a cabinet refacing project will need to purchase specialty tools for prepping the boxes. These tools are often expensive and don’t get used very often for most homeowners. Also, many opportunities exist for misteps and wasted material, for instance, imagine making an incorrect cut on the laminate and having to scrap the cabinet. Also, a DIY project takes away a key benefit of cabinet refacing – the time savings! As professionals, our experts often complete projects in under a week, while the average DIY refacing project regularly takes 4-6 weeks to complete correctly.

Kitchen cabinet refacing can be a difficult project, especially if you don’t have much experience with do-it-yourself projects. Consider hiring a professional to reface your kitchen cabinets for you, so you know you’ll love the outcome. If you’re looking into cabinet refacing in Chicagoland, Contact Redo Cabinets. styles and colors so you can make your kitchen one of your dreams. Also, refer to our cabinet refacing specials to see our latest deals!


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