Proposed Title: As Easy As 1-2-3: DIY Cabinet Refacing Project

Every home needs a set of well-maintained and functional pieces of furniture. But keeping the quality of a particular furniture is difficult. Usually, the quality deteriorates as time passes. So, more often than not, the family just lets the furniture stay as is, finding it too hassle to even have it fixed.

But this is the DIY  (do it yourself) era, instead of having someone else fix something which is broken, people feel the need to do it themselves. Same can be said for fixing or even upgrading the furniture at home. Questions like, “Do we really need to replace the kitchen cabinets? Or can we just repaint them ourselves?” often surface among the household. And for most, the more practical option would be to just do it themselves.

Maintaining Cabinets at Home 

Cabinets, in general, are highly functional in a common household. Hence, they are the ones which break down more easily since they are used a lot. So, in trying to maintain/fix the cabinets at home, it is best to ask a couple of question first. Are we repainting the cabinets? Do we want the cabinets to have a wood finish? Etc. But, as a reminder, simply repainting the cabinets is way simpler than having to achieve a wood finish on them.

DIY Cabinet RefacingIn trying to maintain/fix broken cabinets, the concept of refacing is often taken into account. In aiming for a painted finish, one can either choose to just replace all existing cabinet doors or to just continue in repainting the existing ones. But for most, DIY cabinet refacing involves replacing the cabinet doors, and replacing them with entirely new ones.

However, in aiming for a wood finish with the DIY cabinet refacing, the need to replace the cabinet doors becomes more apparent. Rest assured this do-it-yourself cabinet refacing project is not as easy as simply repainting the cabinet doors, instead, it involves a couple more steps along the process.

The DIY cabinet refacing process involves the replacement of the old cabinet walls with new ones. Adding a solid wood veneer to the cabinet frames or to other exposed areas of the cabinet is also an option. The veneer is cut in order to fit the given surface area of the cabinet walls. Overall, the process might seem daunting at the start, but at the end of the day, it is still considered to be a DIY cabinet refacing project, something that virtually everyone can accomplish.

To Buy or Not to Buy Cabinet Doors? 

DIY Cabinets RefacingIn deciding on whether to simply repaint the cabinet doors or to stick with the wood finish look, new cabinet doors are very much essential for the whole do-it-yourself cabinet refacing project to work. Although constructing custom-made cabinet doors is considered to be not within the scope of do-it-yourself projects and far beyond this article, many have still resorted in building their own cabinet doors. But it is important to keep in mind that the construction process of the cabinet doors entails the use of a variety of specialized carpentry tools and equipment as well as a relatively huge chunk of lumber.

But nowadays, the cost of the already-made cabinet doors has been made more affordable (without sacrificing quality of course) for the average DIY-er. There is quite a number of companies which specialize in manufacturing high quality yet affordable cabinet doors. I have included a list below of these reputable companies which offer the best of quality, price, and selection of cabinet doors and refacing materials that I found up to date.

Easy Steps to Cabinet Refacing

Step1: Measuring Cabinet Doors And Hinges

Cabinet RefacingBefore purchasing new cabinet doors, the exact measurements of the old cabinets must be taken note of. To save money, the existing cabinet door hinges that are still in good shape can be reused. While ordering the new cabinet doors, the DIY-er must keep in mind two conditions: A. Did the existing cabinet doors have rabbets or notches that run all the way around the door? B. Will the measurements of the newly ordered cabinet walls fit the existing hinges that are to be reused? But some hinges can be quite tricky. Sometimes, the use of the wrong type of hinges can cause gaps between the cabinet doors. Therefore, it is best to make sure that the newly purchased cabinet doors will work with the reused hinges.

Typically, in do-it-yourself cabinet refacing projects, people simply decide on buying new hinges for less hassles. Having the correct measurements of the existing cabinet doors is still needed, but also, the addition of the appropriate overlay for the hinges are needed as well. Commonly used hinges are usually 0.5” in size, but 0.25” and 0.75” are also commonly used by most. On the other hand, for 35mm European style hinges, these are oftentimes determined by the mounting plate that the hinges use. In European style hinges, part of the hinge that gets drilled into the door remains the same. There are numerous types of European hinges that suit almost all kinds of applications. It is just a matter of finding the correct one that fits perfectly.

Step 2: Types of Cabinet Doors

Once the correct dimensions of the old cabinet doors are obtained, one can now proceed to ordering the new cabinet doors. There are virtually countless designs of the doors to choose from but one of the more common and affordable ones that are used in DIY cabinet refacing projects is the shaker style door. It’s considered to be an inset or more commonly known as the recessed panel cabinet door. These shaker style doors are usually made of MDF (medium density fiberboard), an element which adds to the affordability of this type of cabinet doors. Along with the shaker style doors, other cabinet doors such as the traditional raise panel, bread board, and applied molding doors are also popular with typical do-it-yourself cabinet refacing projects.

Usually cabinet doors also come with the purchase of cabinet ends that match or give new accents to the newly bought cabinet doors. These cabinet ends tend to give a more finished look to the whole refacing project, something that might actually give a customized look for the whole DIY cabinet refacing project.

Step 3: Additional Options

With the newly purchased cabinet doors, comes the option to also replace the old cabinet drawers, as these prove to be the more practical way to go. Other options for cabinet drawer boxes include “pullout” drawers or “roll-out” trays. These are great ways to maximize the storage options of the cabinet itself as well. Other space saver options include, organizer trays suited for storing silverware, etc. But it is always important to remember that  in any DIY cabinet refacing project, performing preliminary research is recommended to achieve optimal results.

Step 4: Applying the Veneer

The application of the veneer is a relatively simple yet complicated process at the same time. The veneer needs to be cut to the dimension of the existing cabinet frame and cabinet end panels for it to fit perfectly. In addition, the veneer also needs to be cut with a sharp utility knife or using a metal knife with a straight edge. A sacrificial sheet of plywood or MDF is sometimes needed in order to protect the existing cabinet doors from potential scratches. The need to be accurate when cutting is essential in the DIY cabinet refacing project, but if this cannot be avoided, there still exists some way to salvage it. A sanding block or a block plane can be used to mend the excess veneer in order for the cabinet doors to fit properly. Once all cabinet doors and frames are successfully covered by the veneer, the installation of the doors can now take place.

Step 5: Installing The Cabinet Doors

Before installing the cabinet doors, the option of painting them first can take place. This is done in order to avoid any staining of the paint in other places of the cabinet. Also, the hinges are recommended to be installed lastly, after everything has been painted. This is done in order to prevent an unwanted finish buildup around the hinges and drawer guides.

One of the common ways of painting cabinet doors involves setting up a few saw horses and placing a couple of 2×2 or 2×4 planks across them. One may also opt to spray the doors one at a time and then placing them on the saw horses to dry afterwards, while making sure that each side of the cabinet door is flipped and recoated properly.

After drying, all newly painted cabinet doors can now be mounted on the actual cabinets, wherein final adjustments can be made before securing them finally. Drawer or tray boxes can now be installed to complete this simple do-it-yourself cabinet refacing project.