We often receive questions and requests for refacing kitchen cabinets so I thought it would be a great idea to share what refacing your cabinets means and how it compares to replacing your cabinets.
Simply put, refacing is sort of like a face-lift for your cabinets. It is a process that involves adding a new layer of wood veneer to your existing cabinet frames thereby changing the look of the cabinets on the outside. When refacing a set of cabinets, the doors and drawer headers (some call them drawer fronts) are also replaced with a new style and color to match the look you want. Here are three times you should consider refacing:
1. If you love your kitchen layout but want an updated look.
With our Renew® refacing method, we can add cabinets to your kitchen to match the refaced ones. However, if you are seeking a major layout change, refacing is probably not the best option.
2. If you want to save your nice counter tops.
Sometimes customers will replace their counter tops hoping it will change the look of their kitchen. Sometimes that works, sometimes not. Your cabinets can be refaced without moving the counter tops. In fact, a lot of your cabinet contents can stay in place. We don't recommend refacing if you are getting new counter tops because the cost is not much more to just replace cabinets at that point.
3. If your cabinets are in great condition.
The quality and condition of your existing cabinets needs to be considered before investing money to change their appearance. If your cabinets are separating, have water damaged, loose parts, or are constructed using particle board, we recommend replacing your cabinets instead of refacing them.
Now that we have discussed a few reasons for and against refacing, I'd like to walk you through the process. Let's assume by this point we have already discussed pricing, design options, color selections, all the measurements have been taken, the materials have been ordered and arrived.
What are the steps to refacing cabinets?
Step 1: Remove all the existing cabinet doors, hinges, molding, and drawer headers (more about drawer headers near the end of this section).
Step 2: Now that all the proper items have been removed, the cabinets will be cleaned with denatured alcohol to remove any surface grease and oils.
Step 3: All surfaces that will be refaced (mostly the cabinet face frames) will be lightly sanded.
Step 4: One more cleaning with denatured alcohol to remove any dust left by sanding.
Step 5: All exposed cabinet ends will now received a new plywood skin and spacer skin if needed. This will new skin will be a finished product. See picture #1.
Step 6: After all exposed ends are finished with our plywood veneered finish, the next step is to apply the wood veneer to the face frames of the cabinet. Our Renew® refacing material has a high quality 3M® pressure sensitive adhesive. This adhesive is the same type that is used to adhere labels on airplanes.The veneer is ripped a little wider than the face frame with a special tool then applied to the cabinet so that there is a little of the veneer hanging over. The overhang will then be trimmed flush with the edges of the cabinet frame. See picture #2.
Step 7: Once all the face frames have been refaced and trimmed flush, All the new moldings are then installed. There are a lot of moldings used when refacing. The reason is to cover as many of the edges as possible to ensure a nice clean look. This includes crown molding, outside corner or flat molding on all the exposed end corners, and a bottom molding on all upper cabinets. See picture #3.
Step 8: Now the fun part! New doors and concealed hinges are installed. Our hinges are a soft-close hinge that is adjustable to get the perfect fit. The drawer headers also are installed at this time. There may be some cabinet drawer designs that require replacing the entire drawer box and new drawer slides. See pictures 4 & 5 below. It's important to know that if your drawer header is fourth side of the drawer (vs. being separately fastened to a four sided box) then the drawer will have to be completely replaced instead of just the drawer header. Your consultant will have instructed you about this before the materials were ordered. Now that all the cabinets have been refaced, and the doors and drawers have been replaced, your kitchen cabinets will look brand new!
Bottom Line: Refacing can be a great option even if it's not for everyone. There are some awesome benefits. Refacing is not very messy, and takes just a few days to complete compared to a couple weeks (If you're keeping you counter tops etc.). In fact, you can still keep using your kitchen in most cases. When it comes to the budget, you will only save about 15% (+/-) over replacing your cabinets. Because of this, many of our customers choose to completely replace their cabinets.
If you're interested in having your kitchen remodeled please don't hesitate to contact us here.