How to cover laminate cupboards

Updated February 21, 2017

Most modern kitchen cabinet systems and cupboards aren't solid wood but are some combination of wood and laminate veneer that's made to look like wood. A typical configuration is to have solid hardwood doors and drawer fronts with a particle board cupboard body topped with laminate. Covering, or ``refacing,'' those cupboards is the process of covering the old laminate with new laminate. The laminate comes in adhesive-backed sheets that you peel-and-press into place. The existing laminate has to be solid, clean and de-glossed before you start.

Use your screwdriver to remove the doors and drawer fronts from the cupboards. Set them aside. Remove the hinges and any other hardware from the cupboard body.

Buff the whole cupboard with your pad sander and 100-grit sandpaper, just enough to take off the shine. Wipe off the dust.

With you razor knife, cut a piece of laminate for each area of the cupboard, making the pieces about 1 inch bigger all around than the area. Cut the pieces from the back of the sheets, laying them flat on the face, running the knife across the back through the waxed paper and scoring the laminate, then snapping it in half.

Hold each laminate piece up to the area it's going to cover. Pull down a few inches of the waxed paper from the top and press the laminate to the surface, letting it overhang on all sides. Pull down the rest of the waxed paper while pressing the laminate to the surface, until it's entire affixed.

Run a wood block along the laminate to squeeze out any air pockets.

Trim off the excess laminate by running your razor knife along the edge of the cupboard, at a 45-degree angle, so the edge of the laminate is bevelled. Repeat for each of the spans.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Palm sander with 100-grit sandpaper
  • Stick-on laminate veneer with wax-paper backing
  • Razor blade
  • Block of wood
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