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Refacing Kitchen Cabinets

Category Remodeling
A less expensive way to update your kitchen may be to reface your cabinets rather than replace them. This is a page about refacing kitchen cabinets.


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August 12, 2009

I have no income to reface or replace my cabinets in my kitchen professionally. They are 36 year old pressed wood with plastic veneer over the top. They were badly painted white about 15 years ago. What can I do to update them?

My husband said he could cut new pressed wood and possibly buy wood veneer and re-face them himself. Has anyone done this? I have searched the net and can't find anyone who did this ?

By janis walter from Fort Myers


August 12, 20091 found this helpful
Best Answer

For wood veneer, yes, you can do this but you need to use a special glue (not rubber cement) or the veneer can easily warp (I saw this happen on TV). Go to a place that sells hobby wood (look up "wood" in the yellow pages) & ask them or give them a call. You could take your cabinet door off, then use it as a pattern to cut the wood then after he glues on the veneer he needs to use a router to finish& cut around the edges.

I'll also give you some other (mostly) low cost ideas that I've been thinking of using for my VERY cheaply made mobile home cabinets that were painted a nasty bright pink when I moved in:


1) Matting: I also saw thin on TV. Cover them with cane or woven matting & trim the edges with a thin wood trim (like a frame around the matting) You'd have to seal them with a clear varathine, probably water-based. The ones I saw on TV were absolutely gorgeous! You can even use a woven or bamboo type rug.

2) Placemat: Hang large rectangle Placemats on the front. Like woven or placemats made of bamboo strips. Cover edges with wood strips or molding.

3) Picture Frames: 11" x 14" or larger wood picture frames (maybe from a dollar store) each hung after painting the cabinet with a wood colored paint, or white cabinets with white frames. Inside the frames you either put old fruit or botanical type prints or wallpaper.

4) Cover with Paper: Use gift wrap or wallpaper: woven-look or any simple tiny classy print... You decoupage the gift wrap on.

5) Cover with Fabric: Same thing, decoupage it on with white glue mixed with water.


6) Add Molding & Paint: Re-paint but add some nice molding around the edges or in form the edges 2 or 3 inches.

7) Antiqued Look: Do a streaked or "antique" look or a decorative type painting on them.

8) Hammerite Paint: Use Hammerite. for a metallic brass or stainless look. It's oil based so very smelly!

9) Flashing: Cover with copper roofing flashing or punched tin or Aluminum roof flashing. The copper roof flashing is very thin & bends easily, so you can wrap it around the edges of the cabnets.

10) Stainless Veneer: They sell a stick-on stainless steal veneer. It has a stick-on backing & looks wonderful (I also saw this on TV).

11) Cut Outs: Cut out rectangles in the center then frame the edges of the outside of the rectangle cut-outs in simple wood molding then behind the hold tack or hang metal grating (made to cover radiators) punched tin, screening, clear glass, frosted Plexiglas, fake stained-glass, or mirror.


12) Framed Mirrors: Hang framed mirrors on the front (like the frames above #3 above) only mirrors instead.

13) Fake Leather: a fake "leather" look done with tissue paper.

14) Faux Paint: paint then do a faux-wood frame that looks framed but is really only highlights (you could do this with a stencil.

15) Stencil, but instead of gaudy colors, just do a light & dark "shadow" or reverse-shadow effect; like white on off white cabinets or light brown on medium brown in simple frames or shapes around the edges.

16) Paint: Use a foam roller & a high quality brush... Wash cabinets well first then wipe them down with rubbing alcohol & an old T-shirt rag, then prime & use 100% acrylic paints.

17) Wood veneer: Your wonderful idea!

18) Melamine Veneer: For an easy to clean surface, melamine will do the trick! Much cheaper than the wood veneer. Easier to hang but not nearly as nice looking as wood (in my eyes).

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August 12, 2009

Is it possible to reface cabinets by simply flipping the cabinet doors over and re-hinging them? Someone told me that they heard of this, but I can't find any instructions on the internet.


By Rachel Whitcomb from Oklahoma City, OK


Refacing Cabinets

I guess, but it depends how they are hinged. If the hinge is the simple two piece type, fixed to the "edge" of the door, then all you need to do is turn the hinge around. Remember, the door on the left will become the right side door. If you only have one door on a cabinet, then you can turn it over, but the hole(s) for the handle would then be at the top.

If the hinges are fixed to the inside of the door, then you will have holes on the outside. It might be easier to repaint the doors instead. Can you take a photo of a cabinet and door? It would be easier to make suggestions if we can see the original door arrangement.

Rob (04/21/2009)

By Rob

Refacing Cabinets

Here is the cabinet door. The carving looks very dated to me, so I'd like to do more than paint. (04/24/2009)

By Rachel Whitcomb

RE: Refacing Cabinets

Refacing Cabinets


And this is a picture of the inside hinge. My thought was to re-hang the hinges, fill in the holes (isn't there a wood filler?) and paint. That way I have a smooth surface on the outside of the cabinets. (04/24/2009)

By Rachel Whitcomb

RE: Refacing Cabinets

Refacing Cabinets

I would not recommend flipping your cabinets. The first time someone opens one they will be sorely surprised at the lack of effort put into updating your kitchen. What you should do (and this is very inexpensive) is get a sheet of 1/4 inch plywood (about $40 a sheet and you should only need one sheet). Make sure it is a smooth plywood and cut a rectangle large enough to cover the carving details on your current cabinets. Center it and glue it down.

Now, get some trim pieces that have a 1/4 inch bevel already inset, measure your lengths and cut the corners on 45s. Glue and nail the trim around the edges of the 1/4 inch ply that you have already glued to the door. Run a bead of caulk around the inside of the trim where it meets the 1/4 ply and smooth out with your finger. Paint and viola! New cabinet doors. (05/04/2009)

By Krista Franks

RE: Refacing Cabinets

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