Reface Kitchen Cabinets for a Fresh, New Look

Reface Kitchen Cabinets for a Fresh, New Look
  • Opening Intro -

    Kitchen renovation projects can cost tens of thousands of dollars to complete, especially if you’re planning for the latest appliances, fresh counter tops and new cabinets.


You can shave thousands of dollars off of your costs by keeping your current cabinets and resurfacing the faces. Moreover, cabinet refacing may be something you can handle yourself, reducing your renovation costs further.

Costly Update

What would it cost you to replace cabinets? In “This Old House,” Pete Goode offered up a price ranging from $25,000 to $30,000. Refacing, however, can cost you a fraction of that amount, perhaps just 10 percent of the price.

The reason you may want to replace your cabinets likely has everything to do with its looks. Which is why replacing the cabinet faces can be the best option, especially if you’re satisfied with the current cabinet dimensions. With an all new kitchen, you’ll get the new cabinets, but if the size or layout that is no different from what you have now, then you shelled out a mint for a project that could have cost much less if you had chosen to reface.

How should you handle your kitchen refacing project? By following each of the steps as outlined by This Old House:

  1. Remove the cabinet doors from the frame with the appropriate screwdriver. Remove dirt and great from cabinet faces, using a standard household cleanser and a soft, nonabrasive cloth.
  2. Sand down the cabinet faces with a fine grit sandpaper. Use a tack cloth to remove residual sand dust.
  3. With your measuring tape, measure the sides of the cabinet. Using a veneer plywood panel, cut it according to the size your measurements.
  4. On the back of the plywood veneer panel, apply construction adhesive and stick it to the side of the cabinet. With your hammer, nail the panel into place with casing nails and fill the holes with wood putty.
  5. With your measuring tape, measure the front strips of the cabinet, adding an extra half-inch to the width and two inches to the length of your final measurements. On the veneer plywood panel, mark your measurements.
  6. Next, take a straightedge and place that on the measurements that are marked on the veneer, cutting the veneer to the appropriate size with a utility knife.
  7. Place the veneer on the cabinet and using your hand, smooth it down. Remove any bubbles and trim the veneer to size with your knife.
  8. Resize and apply the veneer to the remainder of the cabinet until it has been completely covered.

All Done

You’re now done! All you have to do is reinstall the cabinet doors and enjoy your kitchen update.

Certainly, if this job seems too challenging or time consuming for you, there are businesses that offer this service. You’ll pay much more to outsource the work, but your final price should be about one-third  of what you’d pay for new cabinets.


This Old House: Reface or Replace Cabinets?; Pete Goode

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Categories: Kitchen and Dining

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Auto Trends Magazine", an online publication. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and weblogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".