How to Reface Kitchen Cabinets

How to Reface Kitchen Cabinets


Refacing kitchen cabinets is an excellent way to breathe new life into your kitchen without the cost and hassle of a complete renovation. Whether you’re looking to update the style, enhance functionality, or give your kitchen a fresh look, refacing cabinets can be a rewarding project. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to reface kitchen cabinets, providing detailed insights and tips to ensure a successful transformation.

Understanding Cabinet Refacing

What is Cabinet Refacing?

Cabinet refacing involves updating the external appearance of your cabinets while retaining the existing structure. It’s a cost-effective alternative to replacing cabinets entirely, making it an ideal option for those looking to refresh their kitchen on a budget.

Why Choose Cabinet Refacing?

Refacing offers several advantages, such as:

  1. Cost-Effective Solution

Cabinet refacing is significantly more budget-friendly than a complete cabinet replacement, making it an attractive option for homeowners looking to upgrade their kitchen without breaking the bank.

  1. Minimal Disruption

Unlike a complete renovation, cabinet refacing causes minimal disruption to your daily life. The process is typically faster, allowing you to enjoy your updated kitchen sooner.

  1. Environmentally Friendly

Choosing to reface cabinets instead of replacing them reduces waste and is a more environmentally sustainable option.

Preparing for Cabinet Refacing

Assessing Your Cabinets

Before you start the refacing process, it’s crucial to assess the condition of your cabinets. Look for signs of damage, such as warped or cracked wood, and ensure the cabinet frames are sturdy. If the structure is sound, refacing is a viable option.

Gathering Necessary Tools and Materials

Tools Needed for Cabinet Refacing

Ensure you have the following tools:

  • Screwdriver
  • Putty knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Circular saw

Materials for Refacing

  • Cabinet veneer or laminate
  • New cabinet doors and drawer fronts
  • Hardware (handles, knobs, hinges)

Step-by-Step Guide to Cabinet Refacing

Step 1 – Remove Cabinet Doors and Drawers

Begin by carefully removing all cabinet doors and drawers. Use a screwdriver to detach hinges and handles, and label each piece to ensure easy reassembly.

Step 2 – Clean and Sand Surfaces

Thoroughly clean cabinet surfaces to remove grease and dirt. Once cleaned, use sandpaper to roughen the surfaces, promoting better adhesion for the new veneer or laminate.

Step 3 – Apply Veneer or Laminate

Carefully cut the veneer or laminate to fit the cabinet surfaces. Use a strong adhesive to secure the material, ensuring a smooth and even application.

Tip: Pay Attention to Detail

Take your time to ensure precise cuts and proper alignment, paying particular attention to corners and edges for a polished finish.

Step 4 – Install New Doors and Drawer Fronts

Attach the new cabinet doors and drawer fronts using the provided hardware. This is an excellent opportunity to update the style of your kitchen by choosing modern, stylish designs.

Considerations for Door and Drawer Selection

  • Choose durable materials that can withstand kitchen wear and tear.
  • Ensure the new doors align perfectly for a professional look.

Final Touches and Considerations

Step 5 – Add Finishing Touches

Install new handles, knobs, and hinges to complete the look of your refaced cabinets. This small detail can have a significant impact on the overall aesthetic of your kitchen.

Considerations for Long-Term Maintenance

Regular Cleaning

Keep your refaced cabinets looking new by cleaning them regularly with mild, non-abrasive cleaners.

Address Issues Promptly

If you notice any issues, such as peeling veneer or loose hardware, address them promptly to prevent further damage.

Enhancing the Refacing Experience

Choosing the Right Materials for Refacing

When refacing kitchen cabinets, the materials you select are pivotal in the overall outcome. Opt for high-quality veneer or laminate that complements your kitchen’s style and is durable enough to withstand daily wear and tear. Consider consulting with a professional or visiting a home improvement store to explore a variety of textures, finishes, and colors.

Exploring Sustainable Options

Eco-Friendly Veneer Choices

If sustainability is a priority, explore eco-friendly veneer options. Bamboo and reclaimed wood veneers are excellent choices, adding a touch of uniqueness to your kitchen while minimizing environmental impact.

Low-VOC Adhesives

Choose adhesives with low volatile organic compound (VOC) levels to ensure your cabinet refacing project is environmentally conscious. Low-VOC adhesives contribute to better indoor air quality, making your kitchen healthier.

Creative Refacing Ideas

Adding Glass Inserts

Consider replacing some cabinet doors with glass inserts for a stylish and open feel. This creates visual interest and allows you to showcase your favorite kitchenware.

Types of Glass Inserts

  • Clear Glass: Ideal for displaying neatly organized dishes or colorful kitchen items.
  • Frosted Glass: Offers a more subtle look, perfect for those who want a hint of transparency without revealing the cabinet’s contents.

Incorporating Open Shelving

Benefits of Open Shelving

  • Visual Appeal: Open shelving adds an airy and spacious feel to your kitchen.
  • Accessibility: It provides easy access to frequently used items, making your kitchen more functional.

Organizing Tips for Open Shelves

  • Use decorative baskets or containers to keep items organized.
  • Arrange items with varying heights for a visually dynamic display.

Customizing Cabinet Hardware

Unique Hardware Options

Consider unconventional hardware choices such as:

  • Leather Pulls: A modern and luxurious touch.
  • Vintage Knobs: For a touch of nostalgia and character.

Mixing and Matching Hardware

Combine different hardware styles for an eclectic look that adds personality to your refaced cabinets.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Dealing with Veneer or Laminate Issues

Addressing Peeling Veneer

If you notice any signs of peeling veneer, act promptly to avoid further damage. Use wood glue to secure the loose edges and press them down gently until the glue dries.

Repairing Scratches and Nicks

For minor scratches or nicks, use a matching touch-up kit to restore the surface. For more profound damage, consider consulting a professional for advice on repairs.

Aftercare and Maintenance Tips

Long-Term Care for Refaced Cabinets

Ensuring the longevity of your refaced cabinets involves consistent maintenance:

Protective Measures

  • Place protective pads inside cabinets to prevent dishes and utensils from scratching the newly refaced surfaces.

Regular Inspections

Conduct periodic inspections to identify issues early on, allowing you to address them before they become more significant problems.


Refacing kitchen cabinets is a DIY-friendly project that can transform the heart of your home without a hefty price tag. By following this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well-equipped to reface your cabinets confidently, creating a fresh, modern, and inviting kitchen. Remember, attention to detail and careful planning are crucial to achieving professional-looking results. Get started on your cabinet-refacing journey and enjoy the beauty of a revitalized kitchen space.

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