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How to Reface Kitchen Cabinets in 7 Basic Steps

By Karin Mangan

If you don't know how to reface kitchen cabinets, it may be surprising to find out that it is a fairly easy and straightforward process. You don't need to be a professional - you just need some focus, patience, and the willingness to dig right in.

Here is a basic overview of the process, which can give you an idea of what it takes so you can decide if it's the type of project you want to take on yourself.

1. Prepare the Room

The first step is to get the room ready. Haul all the movable bulk appliances outside and place a drop cloth or some other kind of protective sheeting over every surface that remains. Take your time with this, being sure to cover everything very well so you minimize the risk of damages.

2. Remove the Doors and Hardware

Take off everything that can be taken off without damaging the cabinets. Unscrew hinges and remove the doors. Pull out the drawers, and take off the fronts. Remove door runners, shelving, and any design features.

3. Sand the Surface

The cool thing about refacing cabinets with veneer is that you don't even have to remove the old finish before you stick on the adhesive wood veneer product. All you have to do is use some sandpaper and give it a good once-over to make an abrasive surface that bonds with the adhesive back.

4. Apply Veneer

Apply the veneer carefully, starting with the end panels, then moving to the front of the cabinet boxes. Be sure to go slowly so you don't affix it wrong, which can become a cumbersome problem. Then, slide something hard and flat over its surface to make sure it sticks tightly and correctly.

5. Finish

Apply two coats of finish over the veneer to give the surface adequate protection.

6. Install Doors

Install the old doors with their new coat of finish, or prefinished doors if you chose to purchase them.

7. Attach Hardware

Re-attach all of the old, cleaned hardware, or new hinges, pulls, and nobs.

These seven steps can give you a basic idea of how to reface kitchen cabinets. The key considerations are preparing properly, applying the veneer correctly, and making sure you have the right measurements if you plan to purchase new doors. With a commitment to following the process correctly, you can complete this DIY project successfully on your own.

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