Is your kitchen looking a little drab? You might want to remodel the entire room, but with the average kitchen remodel running just shy of $55,000 that may not be an option for everyone.
So, what can you do to spruce up your kitchen without spending an entire year’s pay? Look at the cabinets. Cabinets make up a huge part of any kitchen, and you can give the room a whole new look by refacing your cabinets.
If professional cabinet refacing isn’t in your budget, consider DIY cabinet refacing. With just a few easy-to-follow steps you can get your kitchen looking brand new.
Keep reading to discover how to do DIY cabinet refacing.
Step 1: Removing and Sanding
Start by removing all the cabinet doors and drawers. Unscrew all the hardware and set it aside. If your hardware is looking dingy or out-of-date, this is a perfect time to consider updating your hardware to match your soon-to-be refurbished kitchen.
Next, sand down everything that is getting refaced. You don’t have to go too crazy here, just make sure the wood is rough enough for the new veneers to stick. Don’t forget to sand the sides down, too!
Step 2: Start Veneering the Sides
If this is your first time doing a DIY cabinet refacing, consider starting with a less-visible area – the sides.
Paint a thin layer of wood glue onto the cabinet you’re about to veneer. Then, using a nail gun with 5/8-inch brads, nail the veneer panel into place. Be sure to push the brad heads below the surface of the veneer to create a seamless finish.
To avoid bubbles, start at the top and work your way down.
Once your veneering is in place, trim the edges so they are even with the original cabinetry.
If you’re not confident you can reface this way, peel-and-stick veneer panels are also available. However, they typically aren’t as sturdy, so we suggest using a nail gun and wood glue if possible.
Step 3: Veneering the Fronts:
Once you are finished veneering the sides of your cabinets, it’s time to start on the front.
Continue to process from step 2 by veneering the rails and horizontal areas first. Then, move onto the vertical areas.
Once the cabinet faces are veneered, trim the edges to match the original cabinetry.
Step 4: Veneering the Doors:
You actually have two options when it comes to the cabinet doors and drawers.
The first option is to purchase new cabinet doors and drawers. Veneering cabinet doors can be tricky, especially if you want them to be embossed. Plus, there are a few DIY projects that can make use of those old cabinet doors if you choose this option.
The second option is to veneer the cabinet doors and drawers yourself. If you choose this option, simply follow the steps listed above. Matching wood veneer tape can be used on edges to save some time and ease the process.
Step 5: Fill the Holes
If you opted for peel-and-stick veneer covers, you can skip this step.
However, if you used wood glue and a nail gun, you’ll be left with some holes where you inserted the nails right below the surface.
Choose a putty that matches your new veneer, and fill in the holes. After the putty has dried, lightly sand off the excess.
If sanding isn’t your forte, consider using a thick sanding block to make even sanding easier and avoid dips and indents.
Step 6: Stain the Interior
Phew – the hard part is over! But, you’re not quite done yet. For a more professional and finished look, you’ll want to stain the interior of your cabinets to more closely match the exterior.
Starting with the openings and edges, use a paintbrush to apply your stain of choice to the interior of your cabinets. Next, move on to the interior sides.
Allow your first coat of stain to dry, and then apply a second coat.
Step 7: Finish the Exterior (Optional)
Depending on the veneer you choose, you might want to stain or polyurethane the front of the cabinets, along with the cabinet doors and drawer fronts.
If you choose to do this, apply two coats of stain, making sure the first coat is completely dry before applying the second coat.
Once both coats of stain are completely dry, you can apply polyurethane.
Some tips to remember:
- Water-based polyurethane tends to flatten better than other types of polyurethane
- Water-based polyurethane tends to have a less harsh odor
- Brush with the grain
- Apply thin layers
- Use fewer, long brush strokes (using many quick strokes can cause air bubbles which will lead to a bumpy finish)
- Lightly sand and wipe the surface after each coat of polyurethane has dried
- For best results, apply three coats of polyurethane
Step 8: Put it All Back Together
Make sure any stains or polyurethane have had plenty of time to dry.
Then, start by applying the hinges. Use a ruler and level to ensure that all the hinges are even and spaced evenly apart.
Finish assembling all of the cabinet doors and drawers. Consider installing shock absorbers inside each cabinet to help lessen the pressure your cabinets will face.
Enjoy Your DIY Cabinet Refacing
Once you’ve reassembled your kitchen take a step back and enjoy your work. You just saved yourself almost $55,000 by opting to reface your cabinets yourself instead of having your entire kitchen professionally remodeled.
DIY cabinet refacing can be a long and difficult task, but it can be made easier with peel-and-stick veneer panels and new cabinet doors if need be.
Are you still considering a few different cabinet styles? Check out our post on the top 7 cabinet trends of 2018.