Cabinet Refacing - Before and After

  • 01 of 10

    Cabinet Refacing: "Before and After" (With Plenty of During)

    Cabinet Refacing
    Cabinet Refacing - Before and After. © Judy Hedding; By Perrmission
    It's the number one question: "But does cabinet refacing look any good in the end?"

    Looking at these before-and-after photos from a house in Phoenix, AZ, one would think so.

    Before: the cabinet boxes were in good shape, but the homeowner wanted to improve the cabinets' look and replace warped/separating doors.

    After: new doors, new hardware, re-skinned boxes and drawers--practically a brand-new kitchen.

    Look closely, though, and you'll see that the homeowner kept the counters, flooring, paint, even the clock. But because cabinets have such a powerful influence on a kitchen's overall visual aesthetic, it looks like a whole new kitchen. That's because cabinets can occupy 75% or more of a kitchen's wall space: change cabinets, change the look.
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  • 02 of 10

    Cabinet Refacing: The Measuring Process

    Cabinet Refacing Measuring
    Cabinet Refacing: The Measuring Process. © Judy Hedding; By Perrmission

    Cabinet refacing begins with a measuring tape.

    The homeowner reports that this was a painless process, in and out in 30 minutes. If it's a big cabinet refacing company, they'll probably have a person who only does measuring.

    Basics: What Is Cabinet Refacing?

    Cabinets consist of boxes, doors, drawers, and hardware. In cabinet refacing, a wood or laminate "skin" is applied to the outside of the boxes.

    This skin comes in the following four forms:

    1. PSA Veneer: A pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) wood veneer commonly known as "peel and stick."
    2. Ordinary Veneer: Wood veneer, same as above, but without the pre-applied adhesive. This veneer is applied to the cabinets with solvent-based or water based contact cement.
    3. Veneer Core Plywood: 1/8″ or 1/4" veneer plywood through-and-through.
    4. MDF Core Plywood: 1/8″ or 1/4" MDF topped with decorative veneer.
    Likely the refacing company will use sheets of veneer core plywood (#3), but check with them to make sure.

    Doors and drawer fronts (or the entire drawer) are completely replaced. You can re-use existing hardware (meaning knobs, handles, and such), but most homeowners put on new hardware.

    Cabinet refacing is an effective, economical middle ground between merely painting the cabinets (a hit-or-miss process that doesn't even address problems with poor drawer and door construction) and full-blown cabinet replacement (which can blow your bank account to smithereens).

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  • 03 of 10

    Cabinet Refacing: Remove Doors and Drawers

    Cabinet Refacing - Removing Doors and Drawers
    Cabinet Refacing - Removing Doors and Drawers. © Judy Hedding; By Perrmission
    The installer removes your cabinet doors and drawers.

    If possible, donate to recycling hubs that accept home remodeling materials. Habitat For Humanity ReStores do a great job of keeping tons of unwanted materials out of land-fills by cycling it back to other homes.

    Who removes the contents of the cabinets? You. Don't do this one hour before the refacing company shows up. You'll be surprised at how much stuff you have in your cabinets.

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  • 04 of 10

    Cabinet Refacing: Applying Veneer

    Applying Veneer to Kitchen Cabinets
    Applying Veneer to Kitchen Cabinets. © Judy Hedding; By Perrmission

    The new skin is applied to the cabinet box sides and faces.

    Cost and DIY Possibilities

    Cabinet refacing isn't cheap--a point that the Arizona homeowner wanted to stress.

    One cabinet refacing company, Kitchen Magic, tells us that that cost of cabinet refacing can run 40-50% less than that of a full cabinet replacement job.

    What about DIY cabinet refacing? Certainly, cabinet refacing isn't Thomas Chippendale-type stuff. But it's still woodworking. You can try DIY cabinet refacing--anything is possible--but I wouldn't. I'd rather have a professional do it.

    However, if you're so inclined, check out the WalzCraft website (link below). WalzCraft is known chiefly as a manufacturer of cabinetry, but it also supplies refacing materials to industry professionals.
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  • 05 of 10

    Rolling On the Cabinets' New Skin

    Rolling On Strips of Veneer for Cabinet Refacing Job
    Rolling On Strips of Veneer for Cabinet Refacing Job. © Judy Hedding; By Perrmission
    Rollers are used to affix the new skin to cabinets (note the roller on the floor). Cabinet refacing is an exacting process with little room for error.
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  • 06 of 10

    Cabinet Refacing: Assembling Drawers

    Cabinet Refacing: Assembling Drawers
    Cabinet Refacing: Assembling Drawers. © Judy Hedding; By Perrmission
    New drawers!

    Cabinet refacing companies will assemble new drawers for you. In other cases, depending on the state of your drawers, they may keep the drawers but attach new drawer faces.

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  • 07 of 10

    Cabinet Refacing: New Cabinet Doors

    New Cabinet Doors For Refacing Project
    New Cabinet Doors For Refacing Project. © Judy Hedding; By Perrmission
    Because it's nearly impossible to re-skin cabinet doors, new ones are installed.
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  • 08 of 10

    Cabinet Refacing: Adding Hardware

    Cabinet Refacing: Adding Hardware
    Cabinet Refacing: Adding Hardware. © Judy Hedding; By Perrmission
    The previous cabinets had no hardware. While you can buy your own hardware elsewhere, this homeowner decided to go with hardware provided by the refacing company. She notes that she got a break on the cost of the hardware by buying it as part of the overall package.
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  • 09 of 10

    Cleaning Up After Cabinet Refacing

    Cleaning Up After Cabinet Refacing
    Cleaning Up After Cabinet Refacing. © Judy Hedding; By Perrmission
    Cabinet refacing produces lots of dust. The company you choose should do a thorough job of cleaning up with a vacuum equipped with a dust filter.

    One thing to ensure a cleaner kitchen: provide your refacing company with a separate work area. This homeowner notes that she allocated space in her three-car garage for the installer to work. Installer gets plenty of flat surfaces and electrical outlets. Homeowner gets a cleaner kitchen than if it had been the sole work area. Win-win.

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  • 10 of 10

    Cabinet Refacing: The "After" Photo

    Kitchen Cabinet Refacing - The After Photo
    Here's What a Post-Refacing Kitchen Looks Like. © Judy Hedding; By Perrmission
    And now, what you've been waiting for: the "After" photo. Cabinets coordinate perfectly with the black appliances.