When it comes to wooden kitchen cabinets that have become faded, discolored, or scratched, beauty (and value) is in the eye of the beholder. While their unattractive surfaces might makeÂ some people want to replace them outright, others see their potential and consider the far cheaper option of cabinet refacing instead.
Cabinet refacing basically means you keep the cabinets you’ve got, but you cover any surface you seeâsides, tops, and bottoms of the cabinetsâwith aÂ 1/8-inch-thick wood or laminate veneer. After a few cosmetic touches, your cabinets look like new atÂ a fraction of the cost it would take to replace them completely.
Cost ofÂ cabinet refacing
Professionally refaced cabinets in a 10-by-12-foot kitchen cost $1,000 to $9,000 depending on the refacing material you use, according toÂ HouseLogic. Replacing them outrightÂ can range from $4,000 to $20,000.
âRefacing is easy and beautiful,â says Halina Hofmann, a contractor and a real estate agent for Level Group, in Manhattan. âIf the cabinets are in great condition, they can be refaced. Itâs wayÂ cheaper than installing new ones.â
Refacing kitchen cabinets is also generallyÂ fasterÂ than replacing them; the whole process shouldn’t take more than a week.
Unfortunately, not every cabinet is a candidate for refacing. If cabinet boxes are warped, rotted, or falling apart at the seams, then refacing will throw good money after bad.
ButÂ most cabinets arenât falling apartâthey just need a face-lift and then they’re good to go.
Types of cabinetÂ refacing materials
First things first: You’ll haveÂ to select which styleÂ and materialÂ you want for your new cabinets. Here are theÂ top options:
- Laminate: Hard, plastic sheets that donât mold easily and are good for simple-line cabinet designs.
- Rigid thermofoils (RTFs): Pressure-molded vinyl foil thatâs malleable and good for more detailed designs.
- Wood veneer: Real, ultrathin wood that sticks to cabinets.
You can match the existing finish or give cabinets an entirely new look. You can reface oak cabinets with cherry veneers, or banish those avocado-colored cabinets forever with a white reface.
How to reface cabinets
Refacing is best left to professionals, but if you feel confident in your construction skills, here’s how you do it.
Step No. 1: Draw a diagram of your kitchen cabinets.
Measure the cabinets carefully, including base cabinets and drawers.
Step No. 2: Remove and clean the doors
Take the cabinet doors off their hinges and clean the cabinet faces to remove grease and grime.
Step No. 3: Sand the cabinets.
BuffÂ cabinets with 150-grit sandpaper, which will help the veneers adhere. Wipe off the sawdust.
Step No. 4: Cut the veneer.
Leaving an overhang that’s a half-inch wide and 2 inches long, cut the veneer to the size of the cabinet.
Step No. 5: Adhere the veneer to the cabinets.
Apply glue, if needed, and press on the veneer. If using a self-adhesive veneer, align the veneer with the cabinets, slowly peel away the backing, and press the veneer to the cabinet as you peel.
Step No. 6: InstallÂ the cabinet doors.
Hang the doors with new hinges that you align, if possible, with the old holes, or drill new holes. Install knobs and pulls.
And there you have itâcabinets thatÂ have the appearance of being brand-new.
To learn more, watchÂ the video below from Showplace Renew.