Resurfacing your kitchen cabinets can be an attractive and economical alternative to an entire kitchen cabinet replacement job. And in fact, if you have some older kitchen cabinets, they may in fact be more durably built if constructed from solid wood as opposed to compressed particle or fiber board that many newer kitchen cabinets are built from today.
Kitchen cabinet resurfacing costs much less than an entire kitchen cabinet replacement. The process simply leaves your existing cabinet frames intact and instead replaces the doors and hardware with new items, and then covers the facing of the cabinet frames with another material to give it a brand new look. The surfacing material most often used is either a plastic laminate, rigid thermo foil (RTF), or wood veneer. All of which are available in a ton of varied styles and colors allowing for almost any look you could possibly want.
While having this type of job contracted out will save you thousands over a full kitchen cabinet replacement, you can save considerably more by doing this job yourself, as pretty much anyone can perform a kitchen cabinet resurfacing on their own as long as they are not afraid of engaging in some basic carpentry skills. In fact if you can handle a utility knife, then you should be able to perform a basic kitchen cabinet refacing job with no problems! And next I’m going to go over how you can do the whole job the easy way.
First you’ll want to get new cabinet doors and hardware. If you can make your own or refinish them to your desire, that’s great. If not, you can order just the doors and hardware from most places. One thing you will want to do is also make sure you can get a matching facing material before you go about obtaining the doors. I have found that compared to my local home improvement stores, online sources that offer cabinet refacing material have a much wider selection, and will often even send you small samples before you order. When it comes to the resurfacing material, you’ll either be able to get it with a self adhesive peel-off backing, or not. In the later case you will have to use contact cement as an adhesive.
Now you’ll need to prep the cabinet frame for your resurfacing material, so remove the old doors if you haven’t already and fill in the old holes with some wood filler (you’ll be likely drilling new pilot holes anyways), and allow it to dry. Sand off any paint or lacquer on the cabinet frame.
Next you’re going to cut out your resurfacing material. Measure each vertical and horizontal part of the kitchen cabinet frame. Add one extra inch into your measurements for both sides and ends of the strip. Then trim off those sized strips using a large metal straight edge and a sharp utility knife. You might want to just trim one at a time as you go.
You are going to want to set the vertical strips first. Start at the top of one side of the kitchen cabinet, peel down the backing as you go, or in the case that you’ve gone with non adhesive material; make sure that you have a good application of contact cement on the backside. Press down at the top of the cabinet, and proceed on down all the way applying pressure to get any air bubbles squeezed out as you proceed setting the strips. Now trim off all the excess resurfacing material with the utility knife. Getting a nice even cut can be the hardest part of this job.
Once all the vertical strips are in place, then it’s time to set the horizontal strips. This is a little bit different. At each corner of the cabinet frame on the opposite side of where the door hardware will be mounted, you’re going to want to start by pressing one end of the horizontal strip flush up against one of the sides of the top or bottom of a vertical strip. Now set the rest of the strip by applying pressure and going across to the other corner, but STOP right when you get to the edge of the opposite vertical strip! Eye it good, and cut off the excess so that this end of the horizontal strip will fit as flush as possible against this vertical strip when pushed down.
If you have exposed sides to your kitchen cabinets you will want to do this with the resurfacing material you’ve chosen. Odds are that you will be able to buy a piece of such material in the width that you’ll need, but sometimes that isn’t the case, and you’ll need to cut out two or more strips to do the job. You will want to cut your refacing material into vertical strips. This time add in an extra inch of width on the strip that will have an exposed side. Set them by starting at the top, and working your way down applying pressure. Finish by trimming off the excess on the exposed edges.
Now just add your new doors and hardware, and viola! Your kitchen cabinets look brand new. Now relax, sit back and admire them! Then think of what else you can do with all of that money you just saved yourself.