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Resurfacing Kitchen Cabinets

Bidisha Mukherjee
Resurfacing cabinets is an excellent way to give them a fresh lease of life. And if you manage to do this at home, then you can save a bundle of money as well. For the budding carpenter in you, we provide you with comprehensive instructions on going about this project on your own.
Kitchen cabinets are one of the most visible parts of the kitchen, and as such, we want them to look beautiful and attractive all the time. However, with the passage of time, they lose their charm, and begin to look dull. In such a scenario, you would have to either replace them with new ones or resurface them.
If the structure of the old cabinets are in good condition, then there is no need to replace them. Rather, resurfacing them can be a better option, mainly because it is less expensive. By resurfacing, we mean changing the existing surface of the cabinet with the help of a new coat of paint or veneer.
One of the simplest and most versatile ways of resurfacing is painting. It gives you ample amount of scope to use your creative ideas to make the cabinets look beautiful. You can use different colors for the doors and the rims of the cabinets, and use techniques like stenciling, sponging, rag rolling, and color washing to decorate them further.
If you like the color of the wood, but just want to brighten it up, then you can opt for staining the wood. If painting or staining is not your thing, then you can opt for thin laminate veneers, that are often used to cover up cabinets. Its biggest advantage is that it lasts for a long time and does not require much care and maintenance.
Some of them even come in designs that resemble wood grain. Besides these, there are many other styles and colors that are available in the market. If you have an extremely limited budget, then you can even use wallpaper of various designs to give a decorative look to your cabinets.

How to Resurface Kitchen Cabinets?

To begin with, separate the doors of the cabinet from the box by removing the hinges. Hardware like door knobs and handles should be detached. Then sand the surface of the wood thoroughly to get rid of the dirt and grime. A medium grade sandpaper will be right for this purpose. If you want to stain finish the surface then only light sanding will be required.
In that case, use a fine sandpaper. Make sure you sand the inner side of the cabinet doors as well. Take a damp piece of cloth and wipe off the surface in order to remove all the debris that has resulted from the sanding process. This is important, as if not cleaned, the debris will become obvious if you paint or stain the surface.
Now it's time to add a new finish to the cabinets. As mentioned, it could be paint, stain, laminate or wallpaper. Before painting or staining, a thin coat of primer has to be applied. Let it dry and then apply the first coat of paint or stain. Once the first coat has dried up, add another coat. Cut panels as per the size of each surface for laminate veneers.
Apply a good quality wood glue at the back of a veneer sheet and place it over the surface of the cabinet. Press it on the wood starting from the edges to the center. Wipe off any excess glue with a damp cloth. After covering up all the wide surfaces, cover up the cabinet rims. Cut thin narrow strips and apply them similar to the frames of the cabinet.
Though you will have less of a headache if you contract professionals for the job, you will end up spending a lot of money for this simple home improvement job. Professionals can charge anything between USD 1,000 to USD 9,000, depending upon the material required.
On the other hand, if you decide to bend your back and get to work yourself, the entire project will not cost you more than USD 200 to USD 600, including materials and tools.
Since this is not a hazardous project, it is highly recommended that you do it yourself. If your kitchen cabinets are in such bad shape that you were thinking of replacement, then any job you do will only be an improvement. All the best!