What is Kitchen Cabinet Resurfacing?

Sheri Cyprus

Kitchen cabinet resurfacing can mean painting or staining cupboards, but it usually refers to adding a new veneer top coat onto them. Veneer is a thin layer of wood that can be affixed to less expensive material. Resurfacing is a low budget way to get a new look, as replacing entire cabinets is expensive. During the resurfacing project, cabinet door hardware may also be refinished or it may be replaced. Changing both the door handles and cupboard surfaces can really create a fresh new kitchen look at a very minimal cost.

A kitchen with resurfaced cabinets.
A kitchen with resurfaced cabinets.

Not all kitchen cabinets are suitable for refacing; only sturdy cupboards with a strong structure should be refinished rather than replaced. If the cabinets aren't going to simply be repainted or restained, but rather have veneer glued on, accurate measurements of the front and sides of the cupboards are necessary. Kitchen cabinet resurfacing using veneer and new stylish door handles can give an expensive appearance to a cheap, yet sturdy base structure. Since the resurfacing material will cover all of the fronts and sides of kitchen cabinets, the homeowner, or renter with a landlord's approval, is free to choose any color or wood finish he or she wants.

Good quality finish should be applied to kitchen cabinets and handles to avoid peeling.
Good quality finish should be applied to kitchen cabinets and handles to avoid peeling.

Although the cost of cabinet refacing is low and entire cupboards aren't being ripped out to be replaced, there is still quite a bit of preparation needed before the actual resurfacing can be done. All of the door handles and hinges must be removed as well as the kitchen cupboard doors. The surface areas of the cabinets must be sanded down to allow self-adhesive veneer to stay down properly. Excess powder left from sanding has to be removed, then all of the surfaces need to be washed with a damp cloth before the kitchen cabinet resurfacing material can be added.

Veneer resurfacing material must be cut to fit, then pressed onto the cabinets. If the home owner or renter is changing the style of hardware, then the holes left by the old door handle will have to be filled in with material made for that found at building supply stores. New holes can be drilled after the self-adhesive veneer covering is added to the cabinets. If the budget is super-tight for a kitchen cabinet resurfacing, then repainting the old hardware as well as the cupboards is likely to be the best option. As with adding self-adhesive veneer, the cabinets must be properly cleaned before paint can be added.

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