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How to Resurface Your Kitchen Cabinets


Refacing and Adding Hardware: Steps 4-7
With custom cabinets costing upwards of $20,000, you should really consider refacing.
With custom cabinets costing upwards of $20,000, you should really consider refacing.
©istockphoto.com/George Peters

The next step for refacing comes when the materials arrive. If you did a good job measuring the cabinets and drawers, then your job will be a whole lot easier.

Step four: Start with the end panels. Using high-quality wood glue, make a zigzag "S" pattern on the back side of the panel from top to bottom, about an inch from the edge. Line it up, stick it on and press firmly on all corners, then the center. Wipe away any glue that squishes out immediately and secure the panel with finishing nails. These small nails can be found at any hardware store. Put one in each corner and then every 8 inches or so down the sides.

Step five: Add veneer. The next step is to apply the SAC to the fronts of the cabinet boxes. Using sharp scissors or a utility knife, cut out strips of the veneer that measure a half inch wider and 2 inches longer than the stiles and rails you'll be covering. Peel the backing from the top of the strip and line it up evenly before pressing down. Then peel the rest of the backing as you go down, pressing the veneer onto the cabinet frame. Once the pieces are in place, you need to trim the excess from the rails and stiles. Use your utility knife and straight edge to make even cuts. It's important to note that you should finish one cabinet at a time. Use your 150-grit sandpaper to smooth out the edges of the trimmed veneer. Your final step is to take a Plexiglas scraper and apply pressure on the SAC from the top down.

There is also an iron-on version of the veneer. It's applied in the same way the SAC is, except it's ironed onto the front of the cabinet, not pressed on with an adhesive. Once you have the veneer ironed on, you would trim and sand it in the same manner outlined above.

Step six: Replace hardware. If you're using the same hardware, simply reattach it in the existing holes. If you want new hardware, the easiest thing to do is take one of the old pieces to the store with you to compare sizes. You don't have to buy in the same size, but it will prevent you from having to fill in the old screw holes. If you can't find any you like in the same size, use a wood putty to fill in the previous holes and drill new ones that match the hardware you've chosen.

The final step is to attach the door and drawer fronts. Follow the instructions that come with the materials closely. Never put new hinges back into the previous hinge holes that lay beneath the new veneer surface -- they can become loose and pull the veneer off. Ideally, the hinges should be 2 inches from the top and bottom of the doors. So if you're putting in new hinges, stay as close to that measurement without using the old holes as you can.

The next step is to redo the doors and drawers. The possibilities here are endless. You can reface the cabinet doors and drawer fronts to match the base that you just veneered, or you can get a little more creative. You can use plastic, Plexiglas, tile or glass to dress them up. Or, if you running low on time and have some extra money to spend, you can always order premade doors and cabinets.

Once you have your door and drawer fronts back on and the hardware in place, stand back and marvel at your brand-new looking kitchen cabinets. Now pat yourself on the back for doing it yourself and saving a lot of money.

In the next section, we'll look at whether or not painting your cabinets is a good option for resurfacing.


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