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DIY Cabinet Refacing: Step-by-Step Instructions

Refacing your cabinets can be a cost-effective way to give your kitchen a fresh new look without the expense and hassle of a full remodel. DIY cabinet refacing allows you to update the appearance of your cabinets while saving money and adding value to your home. With the right tools and materials, along with a step-by-step approach, you can achieve professional-looking results. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with detailed instructions on how to reface your cabinets, from preparing the surfaces to applying the final finish. So let’s get started!

Gather Your Tools and Materials

Before you begin the cabinet refacing process, it’s important to gather all the necessary tools and materials. Here’s a list of what you’ll need:

  • Hammer
  • Screwdriver
  • Putty knife
  • Sanding block or electric sander
  • Wood filler
  • Primer
  • Paint or stain
  • New cabinet doors and drawer fronts
  • Hinges
  • Handles or knobs
  • Measuring tape
  • Level
  • Paintbrushes and rollers
  • Dropsheets or plastic sheeting

Remove Cabinet Doors and Hardware

The first step in the cabinet refacing process is to remove the cabinet doors and hardware. This will allow you to work on the surfaces more easily and ensure a clean and even finish. Follow these steps:

  1. Empty the cabinets of all contents.
  2. Using a screwdriver, remove the hinges from the cabinet doors.
  3. Remove any handles or knobs from the doors and drawers.
  4. Place the doors and hardware in a safe and organized manner for later use.
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By removing the doors and hardware, you’ll have better access to the cabinet frames and can work on them more efficiently.

Prepare the Cabinet Surfaces

Once the doors and hardware are removed, it’s time to prepare the cabinet surfaces for refacing. This involves cleaning, sanding, and filling any imperfections. Follow these steps:

  1. Thoroughly clean the cabinet frames, doors, and drawer fronts with a mild detergent and warm water.
  2. Inspect the surfaces for any dents, scratches, or holes.
  3. Use a putty knife and wood filler to fill in any imperfections.
  4. Allow the wood filler to dry completely, and then sand the surfaces smooth using a sanding block or electric sander.
  5. Wipe away any dust or debris with a clean cloth.

Preparing the cabinet surfaces is crucial for achieving a professional-looking finish. By filling in imperfections and sanding the surfaces smooth, you’ll create a clean and even base for the new cabinet veneer or paint.

Apply the Cabinet Veneer or Paint

Now that the cabinet surfaces are prepared, it’s time to apply the cabinet veneer or paint. This step will give your cabinets a fresh new look and can completely transform the appearance of your kitchen. Follow these steps:

  1. If you’re using cabinet veneer, measure and cut the veneer sheets to fit the cabinet frames, doors, and drawer fronts.
  2. Apply a thin layer of adhesive to the back of the veneer sheets and carefully press them onto the surfaces, starting with the cabinet frames.
  3. Use a roller or a clean cloth to smooth out any air bubbles and ensure a secure bond.
  4. If you’re painting the cabinets, apply a coat of primer to the surfaces using a paintbrush or roller.
  5. Allow the primer to dry completely, and then apply multiple coats of paint, allowing each coat to dry before applying the next.
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Whether you choose cabinet veneer or paint, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and drying times. This will ensure a durable and long-lasting finish.

Install New Cabinet Doors and Hardware

Once the cabinet surfaces are refaced, it’s time to install the new cabinet doors and hardware. This step will give your cabinets a polished and finished look. Follow these steps:

  1. Measure and mark the placement of the hinges on the cabinet frames.
  2. Using a screwdriver, attach the hinges to the frames.
  3. Measure and mark the placement of the hinges on the new cabinet doors.
  4. Attach the hinges to the doors, and then hang the doors on the cabinet frames.
  5. Install the handles or knobs on the doors and drawers, making sure they are aligned and secure.

Installing new cabinet doors and hardware is the final step in the refacing process. It’s important to take accurate measurements and ensure proper alignment for a professional-looking result.


DIY cabinet refacing is a cost-effective way to update the look of your kitchen cabinets. By following these step-by-step instructions, you can achieve professional-looking results and transform the appearance of your kitchen. Remember to gather all the necessary tools and materials, remove the cabinet doors and hardware, prepare the surfaces, apply the cabinet veneer or paint, and install the new doors and hardware. With patience and attention to detail, you can give your cabinets a fresh new look that will enhance the overall aesthetic of your kitchen.

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