Toggle menu custom cabinet doors and cabinetry manufacturer in the USA
1-855-669-5222
| 6am-6pm PT M-F
Holiday production times are ranging from 10-14 business days.
Can I Reface My Kitchen Cabinets Myself?

Can I Reface My Kitchen Cabinets Myself?

Posted by John C. on 2020-09-02

Disclosure: This blog post contains affiliate links and we may receive a small commission for purchases made. These are products we highly recommend.

The simple answer is yes, you can reface your kitchen cabinet yourself! Refacing means that you replace just the cabinet doors and not the cabinet boxes. Cabinet refacing will give your kitchen a whole new look in just one weekend. Plus, it will cost one-third of what it would to replace the cabinets altogether. Try this DIY project today to save thousands of dollars

What You'll Need To Reface Kitchen Cabinets

Before you start this DIY project, make sure you have the following tools:

  • Screwdriver
  • Circular Saw
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Finishing nails
  • File
  • Laminate slitter
  • Scissors or precision cutting tool
  • Veneer edge trimmer tool

Step-By-Step Guide To Refacing Kitchen Cabinets

Give your kitchen a new look by refacing cabinets. Not only is it a quick and easy makeover, but it is also cost-effective compared to remodeling. Refacing cabinets does require you to pay attention to details and have some experience working with tools. But you do not need to be a master carpenter to get refacing cabinets right. To help you get it right, here is our step-by-step guide to refacing cabinets.

In A Nutshell

Simply put, refacing kitchen cabinets can be done by the following:

  • Remove the doors and doors of each cabinet.
  • Cover the front edges of the cabinets with peel and stick wood veneer.
  • Hang the new cabinet doors with easy-to-install cup hinges.
  • Attach the new drawer fronts to the existing drawers.
  • Replace molding where needed.
  • Add new hardware to all cabinets.

A person measuring for new cabinet doors.

Step 1: Measuring Your Cabinets

You'll need to measure your cabinets to ensure that you get the correct size for new doors, drawers, and end panels. You'll need to measure the following:

  • Drawer opening width
  • End panel width
  • Door opening height
  • Door opening width

We advise you to sketch a basic outline of your kitchen cabinets and write down the measurements - both width and height - next to them. Check out our measuring guide to help keep track of everything as you plan to reface your kitchen cabinets.

Step 2: Ordering Your New Cabinet Doors & Drawers

Before you order your new cabinet doors and drawers, you need to take precise measurements. Decide how much of the door and drawer you want to extend past the face frame opening to create an overlay. The amount of overlay is determined by the hinges you install into the cabinets. You can choose whatever overlay you want, but 1/2-inch is a good place to start.

Once you've decided on the overlay and have measured your doors and drawers, you need to calculate your new cabinets' size. To do this, you need to double the overlay distance and add this to the opening size. This will give you the size of the cabinet door.

For example: If the opening is 20x22 inches, the door size with a 1/2 inch overlay, the final measurement would be 21x23 inches. Drawers are calculated the same way, except you'll need to add 2x the overlay to the opening size. Be sure to double-check all your measurements and calculations before placing your final order.

For a professional finish, your refacing process also needs to include covering the face of the cabinet frames with veneer. Additionally, you need to cover the end panels with 1/4 inch plywood.

Step 3: Getting The Right Materials

Before heading out to purchase your materials, ensure that it includes the following:

You will need to figure out how many veneer stripes you'll need to cover the face frames. Don’t forget to measure the panels and make a note of the sizes you'll need to purchase.

Step 4: Prepare Your Cabinets

It is now time to prepare your cabinets for the refacing process, which includes doing the following:

  • Empty the cabinets to avoid damage and dust.
  • Remove the cabinet door by unscrewing the hinges.
  • Remove the drawer fronts.
  • Clean all the face frames and end panels with a rag dampened in denatured alcohol.
  • Scuff up all surfaces with medium, grit sandpaper to ensure that the adhesive on the veneer and end panels bond well.
  • After sanding, remove any dust with denatured alcohol.

Step 5: Install End Panels

Now that your cabinets are prepped and cleaned, you can start your kitchen's transformation. Start by adding the end panels, which can be done by attaching plywood with construction adhesive. Use a few 3/4-inch finishing nails to securely hold it in place. Next, you can measure and cut the end panel to size so that its front edge is flush with the face frame's surface. While holding the end panel in place, mark and then cut where the toe-kick should go. Once you are 100% sure of the placement, you can install the panel with construction adhesive.

Step 6: Cutting & Applying The Veneer

When you reface your kitchen cabinets, don’t forget about the cabinet frames. Using a laminate slitter, you can cut your veneer strips to the exact width and length needed before applying them. If you do not have this tool available, you can cut oversize strips of veneer with a sharp razor knife and then trim it once in place. To get the strips perfect from your PSA-backed veneer, measure the stiles and rails' width so that the strips fit.

Five cabinet doors floating next to each other.

 

You can now start applying the veneer to the outer stiles in a run of cabinets. Carefully align the veneer and gently press it down to the surface. With a firm downward push, bond, and smooth the veneer by pressing it down with a veneer applicator tool. You can add the veneer to the remainder of the stiles. Touch up any unstained edges of the veneer with a matching stain pen.

Step 7: Hang The Cabinet Doors

Before you can hang the doors, you'll need to mount the cup hinges in the doors. To do this, simply line up the hinge and push it into the larger round recess. You can then tighten the screws and anchor the hinge. Once the hinges are secured, mark the center of the top hinge on the face frame stiles. You can calculate this distance by measuring from the top of the new door to the hinge center. Once you have that number, you need to subtract the overlay.
To secure the door, you can now line up the hinge center with the mark you made earlier and drill a pilot hole. Screw the top hinge plate into the stile before doing the same to the bottom hinge.

Step 8: Adding The Drawers

Before adding the drawers, you need to measure the drawer front placement. You'll need to measure the distance from the drawer box to the face frame stile. Additionally, you'll need to measure from the drawer bottom to the face frame drawer rail. Don't forget to add the overlay distance to these measurements. Mark these dimensions on the back of the drawer front to align the drawer before attaching it with four screws.

And that's it. For a professional finish, replacing molding where needed and add new hardware. That’s how you reface your kitchen cabinets like a pro.