Cabinet refacing

Cabinet refacing not only involves replacing the doors and drawer fronts but also refacing the cabinet exteriors. It’s a real kitchen overhaul and, therefore, a notch up from simply replacing doors and drawer fronts. Not only do you have more choices of doors and drawers—you veneer over the frames as well, giving your kitchen an entirely new look.

While some companies will reface cabinets for you, this can be nearly as expensive as buying new cabinets. Work with a company that will help you do it yourself. They’ll custom-build doors and drawer fronts in any style and finish you like, and provide you with matching self-stick veneer. All of the techniques are basic, allowing you to do your entire kitchen in a weekend or two. Many do-it-yourself refacing suppliers work with home improvement centers. Others are available online. The job starts with measuring—find out from the home center which measurements they need.

Parts are custom-made to your specs, so expect to wait three or four weeks before they’re ready. The peel-and-stick veneer goes on the face frames first. It’s easy to align because you apply it oversized and then trim it with a knife to fit. You can cover exposed cabinet sides with plywood to match, or with a panel that matches your doors. Once you’ve dressed up the cabinets, hang the doors, which come with new, adjustable, European-style hinges. The matching drawer fronts screw in place.

If you’re unsure whether to reface or replace, look at it this way: If you’re keeping the countertop, reface the cabinets. If you’re replacing the countertop, also replace the cabinets. Your choice will result in a project that is either a little harder or a little more expensive. Old doors or drawers can be dressed up with peel-and-stick veneer sold especially for cabinet refacing. The strips on the right are applied to the faces and trimmed to size.

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