How to Reface Kitchen Cabinet Doors

Step-by-Step Instructions for Refacing Kitchen Cabinet Doors

By Mark J. Donovan

One low cost way to remodel your kitchen is to reface the kitchen cabinet doors. Refacing kitchen cabinet doors can be a do it yourself project, and is much less disruptive and expensive than all out replacing the kitchen cabinets. When refacing kitchen cabinet doors it is best to do one door at a time to minimize the mess and disruption to your kitchen.

Tools and Materials Required to Reface Kitchen

  • Cabinet Doors
  • Screwdriver
  • Sandpaper – between 80 and 180 grit
  • Power Sander
  • Rags
  • Paint or Stain Remover
  • Wide Blade Scraper
  • Wood Putty
  • Putty Knife
  • Replacement Hardware if desired (Hinges, Knobs, handles)
  • Paint or Stain
  • Safety Glasses and Work gloves

How to Reface Kitchen Cabinet Doors

To begin the task of refacing kitchen cabinet doors, start by using your screwdriver to remove a kitchen cabinet door from a cabinet face.

After removing the kitchen cabinet door, next remove all of the hardware attached to it. Save the hardware to either reinstall it later or to find replacement hardware of the same size.

Next, in a well ventilated area apply the paint or stain remover to the front surface of the kitchen cabinet door. Make sure you follow the specific instructions on the paint/stain remover container and always wear eye and hand protection when using these chemicals.

In general, however, after the paint/stain remover begins to bubble you can begin to scrape it off of the kitchen cabinet door with your wide blade scraper.

Refacing kitchen cabinets is a low cost kitchen remodeling alternative.

After removing all of the bubbled paint/stain remover assess whether a second application of remover is necessary. If so, repeat the process. If it looks good, then repeat the process on the other side and edges of the kitchen cabinet door.

Once the kitchen cabinet door has been stripped of the old paint or stain, you can now sand the door. Use your power sander and a low numbered grit sandpaper, e.g. medium 80 grit, to begin with. After sanding the kitchen cabinet door with the medium grit sandpaper move up to a higher grit paper and repeat the process.

Finally, sand the kitchen cabinet door with 180 grit fine sandpaper. Next, examine the bare wood kitchen cabinet door for any holes or dings that need to be filled.

Use your wood putty and a putty knife to seal the holes or dings. Finally, after the wood putty has dried, sand the wood putty down to the surface of the kitchen cabinet door.

Once the kitchen cabinet door has been sanded smooth, apply a coat of primer followed by a coat of paint.

Kitchen Remodeling Bid Sheet
Let the kitchen cabinet door fully dry and apply a second coat of paint to complete the painting process.

Alternatively, you can stain the kitchen cabinet door if you prefer. Use a rag to apply the stain, and then another rag to wipe off the excess stain. Repeat this process until you achieve the shade of color you desire. After the stain has fully dried, apply a couple of coats of polyurethane to protect the kitchen cabinet door.

Finally reattach the old or new kitchen hardware and remount the kitchen cabinet door onto the kitchen cabinet face.

Repeat this process for each door to complete your kitchen cabinet door refacing project.

For help on your kitchen remodeling project, see my Kitchen Remodeling Bid Sheet. The Kitchen Remodeling Bid Sheet provides a request for quote checklist section that you can provide to prospective kitchen remodeling contractors. It also includes a comprehensive kitchen remodeling cost breakdown table, in Microsoft Excel format, that allows the contractor to include his projected remodeling costs for every phase of the project.

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Additional Kitchen Remodeling Design Resources


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