Kitchen cabinets are designed to last a long time without replacement. It easy to toss out the worn out, outdated kitchen appliances, but we often forget to do something about the old kitchen cabinets.

Instead of sweating over the cost of a full remodel, consider cabinet refacing. Kitchen cabinet refacing allows you to update your kitchen appearance in a shorter time and maintain the kitchen layout, all at 50% of the cost of a full remodel according to HomeAdvisor.

In this article, you’ll learn each technique of kitchen cabinet refacing and how to decide which one to go for.

How are Kitchen Cabinets Refaced?

Cabinet refacing refers to the application of a ‘skin’ to the surface of the cabinets. Repainting, staining, thin laminates, and the application of wood veneers are common methods. Here is a step by step explanation of each of these techniques.

Repainting and Staining

Sometimes all your kitchen cabinets need is a fresh coat of paint. It is the cheapest way to brighten up your kitchen. Although repainting is a common DIY kitchen improvement project, it is safer -and faster- to hire an expert for better results.

  • The first step is surface preparation, all the cabinet doors and drawers are removed. Also remove the handles, latches, and knobs.
  • Clean the cabinets using a degreaser to remove the oil and dirt from the surfaces.
  • The surfaces are sanded. A 100-grit sanding block is recommended for this process. If the surface is laminated, extra steps are necessary.
  • Every surface is cleaned to remove the dust. The kitchen area is protected by covering all nearby objects and the windows are opened for better ventilation.
  • A primer-sealer is then applied to the cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and surfaces.
  • Your paint of choice goes on next. The paint type (not color) used depends on the type of wood. Using the wrong paint can cause peeling and warping.  Paint can be acrylic, oil, or melamine based.
  • The area around the kitchen is then protected by covering.
  • After the paint dries your cabinets can be reassembled.

Staining follows the same process; the only distinction is the sanding process is much more rigorous to ensure a smoother finish. The stain is then applied without using a primer.


Laminates are a synthetic coating made up of graft paper and resin. Laminates come in different colors, textures, and patterns. The materials are fused using heat.

High-pressure laminates are fused at a higher temperature and pressure than low-pressure laminates. Laminates are preferred for their shiny, beautiful and durable look.

  • First, all the drawers, hardware and cabinet doors are removed.
  • Accurate measurements of the surfaces to be laminated are taken.
  • Gentle cleaning is necessary to remove any dirt, oil or dust.
  • The laminates are then glued to the surfaces. Some laminates are bought with a coating of self-stick adhesive for an extra cost. The adhesive can be applied separately when placing the laminates.
  • The laminated doors and drawers are reinstalled. You can choose to replace the knobs and latches to match the new look or simply re-use the old ones.

Laminates can be maintained by cleaning using soap and water. Avoid leaving water on the surface for too long to avoid water damage. Deep scratches will also damage laminate.

Application of Wood Veneers

Wood veneers are thin sheets of plywood which are bonded to the surface of your cabinets, drawer fronts, and doors. Just like laminates they only cover the visible surfaces of the cabinet to give it a new look.

  • Remove the cabinet drawers, doors, and all hardware. The hinges, handles, knobs, and latches are placed in a bowl or a sealed plastic bag to avoid misplacement.
  • High-grade ¼ inch plywood is then bonded to the cabinet frames to retain structural integrity.
  • The doors and drawers’ surfaces are then prepared by sanding. If the cabinets were veneered or laminated, a stripper paste is applied to remove the old sheet before sanding.
  • Careful measurements are taken leaving room for overlap.
  • Glue is applied and the wood veneer bonded to the surface of the cabinets. Some wood veneers come pre-coated with an adhesive.
  • During installation, the raw edges are finished on the site or a corner molding can be used instead. A sealer topcoat can be applied for easy cleaning but it is not a must.

Update Your Kitchen Cabinets Today!

Refacing kitchen cabinets improve the visual aesthetics of the entire kitchen. If you desire a new look in your kitchen, then this could be for you. Kitchen cabinet refacing is a wallet-wise project which is guaranteed to make your kitchen sparkle one again. The outcome largely depends on the level of experience of your contractor.

JSB Home Solutions boast a team of certified, passionate, and dependable personnel. We guarantee expert craftsmanship, quality materials, and SMART solutions. Our goal is to help you reduce costs without compromising quality. Contact us today to see how we can help refresh your kitchen cabinets!