How to replace the laminate on kitchen cabinets

Written by kevin mcdermott
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How to replace the laminate on kitchen cabinets
Begin the refinishing process by scuffing the surface with sandpaper. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

You may think your kitchen cabinets are solid wood -- and the doors and drawer fronts probably are -- but look closer at the body structure of the cabinet itself (the part that's attached to the wall). In most cases, you'll find that it's actually a wood veneer or other type of laminate, glued over a particle board frame. This is not only more economical than solid wood, but it's less apt to warp over time. You can't refinish laminate when it gets worn like you can solid wood, but you can put new veneer over it.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Palm sander with 80-grit sandpaper
  • Peel-and-stick laminate veneer
  • Razor knife
  • Straight-edge

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  1. 1

    Scuff all the surfaces to be laminated with a palm sander. Get them clean and free of any shine. Clean up the dust.

  2. 2

    Cut pieces of laminate slightly larger than each area of the cabinet you're covering. Use a razor knife and straightedge. Cut the laminate by setting it upside down, setting the straightedge on its surface, running the razor knife alongside it, cutting through the wax-paper backing and the laminate all at once.

  3. 3

    Hold the first piece of laminate in front of the area where you want it to go. Peel off a little of the waxed paper on one side of it. Press the sticky part directly to the surface. Peel off the rest of the waxed paper while gradually pressing the laminate entirely onto the surface.

  4. 4

    Run a small block of wood over the surface to help it stick.

  5. 5

    Run your razor knife along the edge of the cabinet to trim off the excess laminate. For corners where it will butt up against other laminate, set your straightedge across the laminate surface and cut where necessary.

  6. 6

    Repeat for each piece of laminate, until it's all on.

Tips and warnings

  • Laminate the face pieces (the forward-facing spans) last, so you're not seeing the edges of the laminate that's installed on the sideways spans.
  • Always cut away from yourself when using your razor knife.

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