While refacing kitchen cabinets is less expensive than installing new, it is not always worth it. If your cabinets are generally in good condition and made of real wood and plywood, then refacing them will result in a good looking kitchen. If your cabinets are in poor condition or made of particle board or press board, it does not make sense to go through the expense of refacing them
Planning and Preparation
Once you decide to reface your kitchen cabinets, you have some decisions to make. Will you do the refacing work yourself or hire a professional? While there are many companies that provide refacing services, it you are handy and patient, doing the work yourself is an excellent way to save some money. Whether you decide to complete the refacing work yourself or hire a professional, you need to decide how extensive of a remodel you want to conduct and how you want your finished kitchen to look.
Refacing your kitchen cabinets can be as simple as removing and replacing the doors, to painting the cabinets to the most extensive refacing, applying a wood grain veneer to your old cabinets. Regardless of how minor the remodel, you can significantly change the look of your kitchen by changing your drawer pulls and handles.
If you decide to do the refacing work yourself, there is a good deal of preparation involved. As in many home remodeling projects, the prep work is more time consuming, but just as important, as the actual work.
Get organized. Remove all of the kitchen doors and label them, so that when it is time to return the doors, you will know where they belong. Remove all the hinges and handles, setting them aside and putting your screws in a small container so that you will not lose them.
Get clean. No matter how meticulous you keep your kitchen, your cabinets are going to need a thorough cleaning before you begin the refacing process. After an initial cleaning with a general cleaning solution, follow up with paint thinner or denatured alcohol. This will cut through the greasy residue that everyone's cabinets accumulate. The residue will be particularly noticeable where the hinges and pulls were located. To clean the cabinets effectively, scrub a small area at a time with your cleaning product and a piece of steel wool. Immediately wipe the area dry with a clean paper towel.
Repair. Once you have the cabinets and doors thoroughly clean, you can repair any dings or dents that they have developed over their life. Use wood putty to fill the damaged area and then sand lightly. After all of your repair work is complete, it is time to clean again.
Clean some more. As you fill and sand the cabinets, you stir up dust. This dust will prevent the veneer from sticking to the surface of the cabinet. After all of your repair work is complete, wipe the cabinet again, and follow with a tacky cloth, which should remove the last traces of dust from the cabinets.
Apply the veneer. The actual process of applying the wood grain veneer is simple, but you must take your time. It is easier to do if you have someone to help you. The veneer backing is very sticky, and if you make a mistake putting it on your cabinets, it is very difficult to move.
Reassembly time. Once the wood grain veneer is on the cabinets, you are ready to replace the doors. If you numbered the doors before you removed them, this should be a relatively simple process.
Final Touches. To polish off the look of your new kitchen, add new handles and door pulls. If your cabinets had door pulls and handles, replacing them is a simple process. If your cabinets did not have them, measure carefully and mark all of your drawers and doors before drilling the holes.
Now stand back and admire your handiwork. Your new kitchen is sure to receive rave reviews.