How to Reface Your Kitchen Cabinet Doors

Written by damon hildebrand
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How to Reface Your Kitchen Cabinet Doors
Update your kitchen by refacing the cabinet doors. (kitchen image by Rich Johnson from

Refacing or resurfacing kitchen cabinets is a cost-effective way to update any kitchen. New cabinet prices start at ridiculous and go up from there. But a cabinet redo costs much less, and often results in a custom look without the custom price. Probably the most dramatic improvement that can be made on cabinets is with the doors. Choices available for updating kitchen cabinet doors include replacing with new doors and painting, restaining or refacing the existing doors.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Dishwashing liquid
  • 220-grit sandpaper
  • 400-grit sandpaper
  • Sheets of wood laminate
  • Paintbrushes
  • Utility razor knife
  • Laminate glue
  • Screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Remove the cabinet doors from the cabinet boxes by removing the screws from the door hinges, using a screwdriver. Hang on to those screws; they'll be needed again before you know it.

  2. 2

    Clean the doors using a mild dishwashing liquid or washing powder -- both are good at cutting grease and oil. Use warm water and an abrasive scrubbing pad to cut through the visible and invisible grime. Rinse the doors and wipe them dry with an old towel. Examine each door to make sure it is clean. Allow the doors to dry for one day before covering with laminate.

  3. 3

    Remove the handles from the doors by taking the screws loose from the back. Set the handles aside if they will be reused on the refaced doors.

  4. 4

    Lightly sand the door facings with a 220 grit sandpaper to smooth out any rough spots and to provide for better adhesion for laminate. Once sanded, wipe the doors down with a lint-free rag and brush off dust with a clean paintbrush.

  1. 1

    Lay the cabinet doors on a flat surface. Cut wood laminate sheets slightly larger than the door. Laminate sheets are available in self-adhesive and glue-on types. Peel the backing off the self-adhesive laminate and firmly stick it to the door. Press down on the laminate in all areas by hand to help with adhesion. If using glue-on laminate, spread a thin, even coat of glue on the door, then stick the precut laminate onto the door.

  2. 2

    Trim the excess laminate from the edges of the door, using a utility razor knife. Guide the cut with a metal straightedge to prevent cutting into the cabinet door or trimming off too much material.

  3. 3

    Drill holes through the laminate on each cabinet door to match the existing hole for the handles. Install the door handles on each door and replace the screws from the back of each door.

  4. 4

    Rehang the doors on the cabinets by screwing their hinges onto the cabinet boxes, using a screwdriver. Before the screws are completely tight, check the doors' alignment by closing and opening to test fit. Make any needed adjustments, and finish tightening the screws.

Tips and warnings

  • Mark each cabinet door to identify its location before removing them from the cabinets. Reinstall the doors in the same locations to ensure a proper fit.

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