A technician with Kitchen Tune-Up in Fairfield, Calif., owned by Stu and Gerda Reid with their son Ben, works on a refacing project, which Heather Morrissey of the corporate office says typically takes three days.
Here's the cabinet refacing process in a nutshell, as outlined by Jeff Dixon of I & E Cabinets. Greg Ackley adds two more steps - installing vinyl mats on shelves and drawers so they "feel fresh and new," and attaching 3/4-inch face frames and shelf edges in lieu of laminate or veneer "to make the cabinets appear like brand-new cabinets."
1. Remove existing door fronts, drawer fronts and molding pieces.
2. Measure all openings. Order new doors and drawer fronts.
3. Inspect cabinet boxes and repair or reinforce as necessary. Fill holes from old door hinges with wood putty.
4. If necessary, replace the drawer boxes or fit them out with new glides.
5. Most upper wall cabinets have a space of up to 3/4-inch on the bottom exterior. For a cleaner look and an easier lamination process, fill this space with plywood. Another option is to use the space for under-cabinet lighting.
6. Sand all exterior surfaces to remove grease, paint or food residue and prepare the surface for glue.
7. Apply glue to the exterior surfaces and to the veneer, RTF (rigid thermal foil), laminate or other product to be applied. The "double bonding" process produces a strong, long-lasting bond.
8. Use a routing tool to remove any excess glues or surfacing. Miter the lip of each cabinet to a 22-degee beveled edge to make it chip-resistant.
9. Apply new molding.
10. Install new doors and drawer fronts.
11. If appropriate, stain or finish cabinet exteriors to match the doors.
12. Attach new knobs or handles.