kitchen cabinet refacingIf you have a little DIY knowledge, refacing your own kitchen cabinets isn't a difficut job and it can save you thousadns of dollars compared to buying brand new cabinets for your kitchen.. By doing this you will give your kitchen a fresh, new look. As long as the base of the cabinets is solid and there is no significant damage to them, then updating their look by refacing is a terrific alternative to completely replacing them.

The cost savings of doing this work yourself is tremendous, perhaps one half the cost of buying new ones. You can use those savings to do other things to them such as adding roll-out shelves, better handles or drawer slides, and other miscellaneous accessories. Plus you will end up with cabinets that are exactly what you want as opposed to settling on off-the-shelf items.

Here are a few steps you can follow when performing this type of do it yourself job:

  • Choose a Door Type: For more traditional face-frame cabinets, choose a door/drawer that will be inset in the frame, and overlay the frame by about 1/2 inch, or that is a cross between the two called a 3/8-in. inset. Using fully inset doors require perfectly square openings and quite a bit more skill to fit properly. Fully hidden hinges can be used only with the overlay and fully inset types. Doors for frameless cabinets are either inset or overlay.

  • Pick a Door Style: Determine the type of wood, the profile (such as raised panel, flat panel), and the finish (painted, prefinished natural, or unfinished). In the majority of cases if the door you want is available in a prefinished style you like, you should order it prefinished. It saves time and, in most cases, you get a better looking and more durable finish than one you might brush on. Unfinished components, however, can be customized to perfectly match moldings or other unfinished cabinets that may be part of an installation.

  • Choose Hinges: Make sure to consider the opening capacity of the door (ranging from about 100 to 180 degrees) and features such snap-closing versus free-swinging, zero clearance (for roll-out shelves), and adjustability, which ranges from none to three-way (height, side, and depth). Careful planning will go a long way towards happiness with your project.

  • Carefully Measure for Doors and Drawers: Measure the width and height of every door and drawer opening to within 1/16 inch. And if necessary, don't forget the opening that is covered by a false drawer front below your kitchen sink. For single-door openings, add to those dimensions two times the amount of any overlay. When two doors will cover a single opening, add the amount of overlay less 1/16 inch to half the opening width. (The height would be the same as for a single door opening.) For inset doors subtract 1/4 inch from the width and height.

  • Calculate Veneer Order: To cover the front of the face frames so they will match your doors, you'll need about 16 square feet of peel-and-stick veneer for every 10 cabinet doors. Add more as needed for drawer rails in combination door/drawer base units, or stiles and rails for drawer base units. (In this context, rails are the horizontal strips between the drawer and the door below, or between drawers, and stiles are the vertical strips to the sides of the doors and/or drawers.)

  • Measure End Panels: Measure wall and base cabinet end panels, which are covered with the matching plywood or actual door panels. If any cabinets will have glass doors, measure the inside dimensions of the side and back walls and order matching plywood to cover that as well.

  • Make Other Improvements: While you are waiting for your order (typically four weeks or more), tackle any other improvements or needed repairs. You might replace shelves that are warped or water-damaged using plywood (edged with iron-on veneer) that matches the thickness of existing shelves.

You can do a fair amount of improvements by just refacing your existing cabinets, and adding other small accessories to them. And by doing the work yourself, you will save money and end up with a kitchen that is a dream for you to be in.



Author info:  Greg Carter is a professional handyman in Carlsbad, Ca.  He has worked on thousands of homes in Southern California and is an expert in plumbing, construction and finish work. 

- Charlene