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DIY Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Tips & Techniques

DIY Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Tips & Techniques


In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into various aspects of DIY kitchen cabinets refacing. Cabinet refacing is a cost-effective and visually rewarding way to transform the look of your kitchen without the expense of a full cabinet replacement. We will address the ten most commonly asked questions about this DIY project, providing you with valuable insights, tips, and techniques to achieve stunning results.

Question 1: What Is Cabinet Refacing?

Cabinet refacing is a process that involves updating the external appearance of your kitchen cabinets while keeping the cabinet framework intact. It typically includes replacing cabinet doors, drawer fronts, hardware, and applying a new finish to the cabinet frames. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the cabinet refacing process:

  1. Assessment: Evaluate your existing cabinets’ condition to determine if they are suitable for refacing.
  2. Choosing Materials: Select new cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and hardware that match your desired style.
  3. Preparation: Remove old doors and drawer fronts, clean the surfaces, and make any necessary repairs.
  4. Installation: Attach the new doors, drawer fronts, and hardware to the existing cabinet frames.
  5. Finishing: Apply a fresh coat of paint or veneer to the cabinet frames to match the new doors.
  6. Final Touches: Reinstall shelves, add any accessories, and enjoy your transformed cabinets.

Question 2: Is Cabinet Refacing Right for My Kitchen?

Cabinet refacing is an excellent choice if your kitchen meets certain criteria:

  • The cabinet frames are structurally sound and in good condition.
  • You like the current layout and functionality of your kitchen.
  • You want to update the appearance of your cabinets without a full renovation.
  • You have a limited budget and are looking for a cost-effective option.

However, if your cabinets have significant structural issues, you may need to consider a full cabinet replacement instead.

Question 3: What Tools and Materials Do I Need?

To successfully reface your kitchen cabinets, you’ll need the following tools and materials:


  • Screwdriver
  • Drill
  • Circular saw
  • Paintbrushes and rollers
  • Sandpaper
  • Clamps
  • Level
  • Measuring tape


  • Cabinet doors and drawer fronts
  • Cabinet veneer or paint
  • Cabinet hardware (handles, knobs, hinges)
  • Wood filler
  • Screws and fasteners
  • Adhesive

Having the right tools and materials ensures a smooth and efficient refacing process.

Question 4: Can I Reface Cabinets Myself, or Should I Hire a Professional?

DIY cabinet refacing is a popular choice for homeowners looking to save money and take on a rewarding project. However, it requires some level of skill and patience. If you’re comfortable with basic woodworking and have experience with tools, you can likely handle the job.

Hiring a professional is an option if you prefer to leave the work to experts or if your cabinets require extensive repairs. Professionals can also provide design guidance and ensure a flawless finish.

Question 5: How Do I Choose the Right Cabinet Doors?

Choosing the right cabinet doors is crucial for achieving the desired look of your kitchen. Consider the following factors when making your selection:

  • Style: Decide on a style that matches your kitchen’s overall aesthetic, whether it’s traditional, modern, or somewhere in between.
  • Material: Cabinet doors come in various materials, including wood, MDF, and thermofoil. Select a material that suits your budget and preferences.
  • Color: Choose a color or finish that complements your kitchen’s color scheme and design.
  • Hardware Compatibility: Ensure that your chosen doors are compatible with your existing or selected cabinet hardware.

Question 6: What’s the Best Way to Refinish Cabinet Frames?

Refinishing cabinet frames is a crucial step in cabinet refacing. You can choose between painting and applying veneer to achieve a fresh look:

  • Painting: Clean the frames thoroughly, sand them, and apply a high-quality paint primer and paint. Multiple thin coats are better than one thick coat.
  • Applying Veneer: Veneer is a thin layer of wood that adheres to the cabinet frame. It’s a good option if you want a wood grain appearance. Use adhesive to attach the veneer, then trim it to size.

Whichever method you choose, take your time to ensure a smooth and professional finish.

Question 7: How Do I Measure and Install Cabinet Doors?

Measuring and installing cabinet doors correctly is essential for a seamless refacing project. Follow these steps:


  1. Measure the width and height of each cabinet opening.
  2. Subtract 1/8 inch from each measurement to allow for clearance.
  3. Order doors that match your adjusted measurements.


  1. Align the hinges on the door with the pre-drilled holes in the cabinet frame.
  2. Attach the hinges securely using screws.
  3. Adjust the doors to ensure they are level and open and close smoothly.

Question 8: What Are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid?

Avoiding common mistakes can save you time and frustration during your cabinet refacing project. Some key mistakes to steer clear of include:

  • Rushing the process without proper preparation and planning.
  • Neglecting to sand surfaces thoroughly before painting or applying veneer.
  • Using low-quality materials that won’t stand up to daily wear and tear.
  • Failing to measure accurately or install doors and hardware properly.

Taking your time and paying attention to detail will lead to a successful outcome.

Question 9: Can I Add New Features During Cabinet Refacing?

Yes, you can enhance your kitchen’s functionality and aesthetics during cabinet refacing. Consider adding features like:

  • Soft-close hinges: These prevent cabinet doors from slamming shut.
  • Pull-out shelves: Increase accessibility and organization in your cabinets.
  • Under-cabinet lighting: Illuminate your countertops and workspace.
  • Glass inserts: Replace some cabinet doors with glass panels for a decorative touch.

These additions can elevate your kitchen’s functionality and style.

Question 10: What’s the Estimated Cost of Cabinet Refacing?

The cost of cabinet refacing varies based on factors such as the size of your kitchen, the materials you choose, and whether you DIY or hire professionals. On average, DIY cabinet refacing can cost between $1,000 to $3,000, while hiring professionals may range from $4,000 to $10,000 or more for larger kitchens.

Ultimately, the cost will depend on your specific project requirements and budget.

In conclusion, cabinet refacing is a rewarding DIY project that can transform your kitchen’s appearance without breaking the bank. By following the tips and techniques outlined in this guide, you can achieve impressive results and enjoy a refreshed kitchen space. Whether you’re a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a beginner, cabinet refacing is an accessible project that can breathe new life into your kitchen.

In this continuation of our guide on DIY kitchen cabinet refacing, we will address more commonly asked questions and provide you with additional insights and techniques to ensure a successful cabinet refacing project.

Question 11: What’s the Best Way to Clean and Prep Cabinet Surfaces?

Before you begin the cabinet refacing process, it’s crucial to thoroughly clean and prep the cabinet surfaces to ensure proper adhesion of new materials, whether you’re painting or applying veneer. Here’s a step-by-step process:

  1. Remove all cabinet hardware, including knobs, handles, and hinges.
  2. Clean the cabinet surfaces with a mild detergent and warm water to remove grease, dirt, and grime.
  3. Sand the surfaces lightly with fine-grit sandpaper to create a rough texture for better paint or adhesive adhesion.
  4. Wipe away any dust or residue with a damp cloth and allow the surfaces to dry completely before proceeding.

Proper surface preparation is key to achieving a professional-looking finish.

Question 12: Should I Reface the Inside of My Cabinets Too?

Whether or not you should reface the interior of your cabinets depends on your personal preference and budget. Refacing the interior can provide a more cohesive look, but it’s not always necessary. Consider these factors when deciding:

  • The condition of the interior: If the inside of your cabinets is in good shape, you may not need to reface it.
  • Your budget: Refacing both the exterior and interior will increase the cost.
  • Aesthetic preference: If you want a uniform look, reface the interior to match the exterior.

In many cases, refacing the exterior is sufficient to achieve the desired transformation.

Question 13: How Can I Ensure a Long-Lasting Finish?

To ensure a durable and long-lasting finish on your cabinet doors and frames, follow these tips:

  • Use high-quality paints or veneer materials.
  • Apply multiple thin coats of paint for even coverage.
  • Allow sufficient drying time between coats.
  • Seal the finished surfaces with a clear topcoat or sealer for added protection.
  • Avoid using abrasive cleaners that can damage the finish.

Proper care and maintenance will help preserve the beauty of your refaced cabinets for years to come.

Question 14: Can I Reface Cabinets with Laminate Surfaces?

Refacing cabinets with laminate surfaces is possible, but it requires special considerations. Here’s how to tackle laminate cabinet refacing:

  1. Surface Preparation: Sand the laminate surface lightly to roughen it, allowing better adhesion for paint or adhesive.
  2. Primer: Apply a high-quality bonding primer designed for laminate surfaces.
  3. Paint or Veneer: Follow the same painting or veneering process as you would for wood cabinets.
  4. Sealer: Seal the laminate surface with a clear topcoat to protect the finish.

With proper preparation and the right materials, you can successfully reface laminate cabinets.

Question 15: Can I Change the Layout of My Cabinets During Refacing?

Cabinet refacing primarily focuses on updating the appearance of your cabinets, but you can make some layout changes if desired. However, major layout changes may require additional work, such as moving plumbing or electrical connections. Here are some layout modifications you can consider:

  • Swapping the locations of cabinets or drawers.
  • Adding or removing cabinets to create open shelving.
  • Installing new cabinets or shelves in unused spaces.
  • Incorporating organizational features like pull-out trays or lazy Susans.

Remember that significant layout changes may impact the cost and complexity of your project.

Question 16: What Are Some Eco-Friendly Cabinet Refacing Options?

If you’re environmentally conscious, you can make eco-friendly choices during your cabinet refacing project:

  • Choose sustainable materials like bamboo or reclaimed wood for cabinet doors.
  • Opt for low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and adhesives to minimize harmful emissions.
  • Donate or repurpose old cabinet doors and hardware rather than discarding them.
  • Consider refinishing existing wood cabinets instead of replacing them.

These choices can reduce your environmental footprint while giving your kitchen a fresh look.

Question 17: How Do I Address Cabinets with Water Damage?

If your cabinets have water damage, it’s essential to address it before refacing. Follow these steps:

  1. Identify the source of the water damage and repair it to prevent further issues.
  2. Remove any swollen or damaged wood.
  3. Replace damaged cabinet parts with new materials.
  4. Sand the repaired areas and ensure they are level with the rest of the cabinet surfaces.
  5. Proceed with the refacing process as usual.

Addressing water damage ensures a stable foundation for your cabinet refacing project.

Question 18: Can I Reface Cabinets with Inset Doors?

Refacing cabinets with inset doors (doors that are set inside the cabinet frame) requires additional precision. Here’s how to handle them:

  1. Measure the cabinet openings accurately.
  2. Order custom inset doors that fit precisely within the openings.
  3. Install the doors carefully, ensuring they align flush with the frame.
  4. Adjust hinges for proper fit and operation.

Working with inset doors may be slightly more challenging, but it can yield stunning results.

Question 19: Are There Any Maintenance Tips for Refaced Cabinets?

To keep your refaced cabinets looking their best, follow these maintenance tips:

  • Clean spills and stains promptly to prevent damage.
  • Use a mild, non-abrasive cleaner to wipe down cabinet surfaces regularly.
  • Avoid excessive moisture, which can lead to warping or delamination.
  • Tighten hardware as needed to prevent loose handles or knobs.
  • Inspect and touch up the finish periodically to address any wear and tear.

Regular maintenance will extend the life and beauty of your refaced cabinets.

Question 20: Where Can I Find Inspiration and Ideas for Cabinet Refacing?

Finding inspiration for your cabinet refacing project is easy. Explore the following sources for ideas:

  • Home improvement magazines and websites.
  • Social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram.
  • Visiting home improvement stores and showrooms.
  • Consultation with a professional designer or contractor.
  • Online forums and communities where homeowners share their experiences.

Gathering inspiration will help you define your vision and create a stunning kitchen transformation.

In conclusion, cabinet refacing is a versatile and budget-friendly way to revamp your kitchen’s appearance. By addressing these frequently asked questions and following the provided tips and techniques, you can embark on your DIY cabinet refacing journey with confidence. Whether you’re looking for a small update or a significant transformation, this project allows you to personalize your kitchen and enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done.

Read: Cheap and Easy Ways to Update Your Kitchen Cabinets

Read: Creative Ideas for Repainting Kitchen Cabinets

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