DIY Cabinet Refacing

DIY Cabinet Refacing – Is It a Good Idea? Tips and Tricks to Help You Succeed

Jul 8, 2023

A DIY cabinet refacing project could save a homeowner quite a bit of money if you have the skills and the ambition to take the project on. However, that should be balanced with the large risk of the job not turning out well, which could be a monstrous headache. The kitchen is usually the most expensive room in the house per square foot. This is not something that you want to take on unconfidently. If you’re ready to take on the job of refacing your own kitchen, here are some tips to help you succeed.


Cabinet Refacing Versus Cabinet Painting


A lot of people simply want to change the color of their kitchen. In this case, all that’s needed is to paint the existing cabinets. However, many homeowners who take this on as a DIY project skip some of the most crucial steps it takes to have a professional looking project. These often include:

  • Proper cabinet grade paint. (Not big box store latex meant for painting walls.)
  • Prep, prep, prep. (Cleaning, sanding, grain filling, masking, etc.)
  • Proper equipment. Brushing on paint will never look as good as spraying it on with professional grade HVLP or airless spraying equipment.
  • Don’t skip coats. Depending on the paint/method, it many times will take multiple coats of paint and primer. Up to 3-5 coats is common.

This process is messy and intrusive. It can overtake your kitchen, house, garage, etc. Make sure you’re prepared before getting started!

At the end of the project, many people like the new color, but recognize it didn’t actually change the outdated profiles of the cabinets or the outdated functionality. Take the profile of your cabinets into account before jumping in to painting your current cabinets.


DIY Cabinet Refacing Tips for Success


If you want to totally update your existing cabinets with a DIY refacing job, you’ll need to consider what it takes to take on a project of that scope and scale. More than just painting, you’ll need to have a basic understanding of general carpentry as well as some advanced skills in finish carpentry and cabinetry.

The way you approach the project depends on whether you want to update your cabinets to have a painted finish or a different wood species. At Veracity, for both painted and new wood species projects, we veneer the cabinet boxes. We use either a phenolic veneer (for solid color painted projects) or a real wood veneer.

However, you could also opt to paint over the existing cabinet boxes. In many cases, this is the most DIY-friendly option. If you do decide you want solid wood, you will need to acquire the appropriate wood veneer (we prefer the pressure sensitive adhesive backed veneers) and apply it to the cabinet boxes/face frames according to the manufacturer’s recommended instructions.

Whether you choose veneer or paint, it’s very important to clean and prep the surface thoroughly. Failure to do this will result in a poor bond of the veneer to the face frame. Eventually, failure of that bond will have disastrous results for your cabinets. Take the time to clean and prep!


What Makes Refacing Different Than Painting?


One main difference between refacing and other options is the ability to update the doors and drawer fronts. In order to do this yourself, you’ll need to have the tools, skills, and access to materials in order to make the new doors/drawer fronts. Or, you can find a reputable supplier that can manufacture them for you.

Keep in mind that many of these suppliers in the refacing industry only supply to wholesale clients and not directly to consumers. This means that finding these new components may be difficult depending on what style and standard of quality you’re looking for.

If you plan to DIY your cabinet refacing job, you’ll need to be comfortable with some carpentry skills such as taking accurate measurements, cutting crown molding, installing drawer glides and hinges, and cutting and applying veneer.


Learn More About Updating Your Cabinets


Want to learn more about updating your kitchen cabinets? We have lots of free information available on our blog! Here are some articles that might help as you consider the options for adding value to your space.



Have more questions? Contact us! We’d love to chat about your next project.

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