Refacing kitchen cabinets with a covering such as laminate or veneer can appear at first to be a difficult task. But it really isn’t as long as you know about some good tips and tricks that can not only prevent you from making mistakes your first time out, but will also significantly speed up the job as well. Here are several good ideas that you should keep in mind when tackling such a job.
– When you are stripping your kitchen cabinets to prep them for refacing, use a finer grain sandpaper to strip off lacquer, and a heavy grit sandpaper to strip paint. With either, be sure that you use medium grit sandpaper for the final sanding so that the wood is just a bit rough to the touch. This will allow for optimal bonding of the refacing material’s adhesive to the wood.
– Always remember that excess is best! Add some width and length to the refacing material you cut out for application. You can always trim off the extra. If there’s not enough material to fully cover the wood, you’ll save money and won’t add more work to your job by having to remove it and start over.
– When you are applying refacing material such as laminates and veneers, you should use one hand to hold the strip while the other hand runs a plastic squeegee firmly down the strip. This will apply even pressure to the strip as you apply it and will remove bulges caused by adhesives and air bubbles.
– Use a metal straight edge ruler not only to measure, but also to help you cut straight lines and edging. Place the straight edge on top of the resurfacing material as you trim. Place an edge of the straight edge plumb against the cabinet frame edging and it will both guard the wood and act as a guide for the blade of the knife.
– Make as few cuts and trims as you need to. When combing horizontal to vertical, strips on the side of the cabinet door frame which will have no hardware. Check to see if the ends will butt up perfectly flush against each other, making for one less cut. Another advantage of doing this is that the other end you will have to trim to fit will be considerably if not completely concealed by the edge of the cabinet door when it opens, and you’d be able to see any rough edge made from cutting by hand. You are not getting paid by the hour after all!
– Some people worry about the mess involved when using contact cement instead of peel-off adhesive backed refacing materials. However, contact cement doesn’t instantly bond to wood like its counterpart does, allowing you to budge the refacing material around if you don’t have it on quite straight. So just have a few wet rags handy to wipe off any excess glue that comed spurting out as you press down on the refacing material. A wet rag will pick up contact cement quick and easy.
– If you are using a wood grain refacing material, and have to use more than one strip to reface an area – such as the sides, top or bottom of the kitchen cabinet – you’re going to want the finished result to look as much like a single piece of wood as possible! So when you have cut your strips, arrange them by flipping them around and butting them up against each other on a table to see which way will look the best, and label each with a piece of masking tape so you don’t forget the combo you’ve decided on.