The Easy Way to Reface Kitchen Cabinet Doors

If you are anything like me, you probably spend most of your time in the kitchen. Cooking, eating, washing dishes, or stealing a midnight snack, it’s the center of most of my waking hours. All that activity can put a little wear and tear onto your floors and cabinets. You may think remolding your kitchen will cost you a fortune, but with a few adjustments and added knick-nacks your home can be good as new. Refacing your cabinets is the cheapest and easiest way to add some flavor and value to your home. Your home is something you take pride in so just by adding a little elbow grease and a little time, you can sit back and relax for a job well done.

Before we get started

You are gonna need a few things before you get started. A Power sander with dust catcher which will run you about $70, and for some added comfort, use the smaller and lighter sanders that go inside the palm Sander/Polisher mouse which will cost about 30-40 dollars. You will also need some Sanding paper to fit your sanders, sanding papers usually come 5 in a pack for around 3 dollars, grab a few pack in several grades (medium coarse to fine). Finally grab some Polyurethane finish, buy enough for your cabinet size just as you would if you were planning on painting. Don’t forget the screw driver!

You can go one stop shop for all these things at your local hardware store or Home Depot.

Ready for the first step.

First you need to check out the quality of your kitchen cabinets before you reface them. If it’s a low quality, you might need to choose another way of refacing. Good quality, and consistent wood will refinish much better without leaving unevenness or weird spots after you put the finish on. If you aren’t sure you can ask your carpenter friend. Don’t have one handy? Sand a small area on the inside of one cabinet door, add finish, then check out the results. If every thing is going good, let’s move to the next step.

Taking down the house.

Take a manual or electric screwdriver and start to take off the doors. I suggest you remove one door at a time if you have a bad memory, because I tend to forget which door goes to which screws. If not, remove all the doors and lay the corresponding screws and hardware in a place where you will remember. It isn’t to hard to remove them, and most times its pretty darn easy. If you happen to have some trouble, it may be from dried up gunk on the screws , nothing a little scrub won’t fix. (they do have special cleaner for that purpose). So now you got the doors off?

Start your engines… I mean sanders.

Using your sander of choice, start to sand your first kitchen cabinet door, with a medium grade paper first. This is to get off the paint, the gunk, the spots, so you can get to the new fresh tree meat below. You want to sand in the same direction as the wood is going. Not sure? Sand a small area and then carefully run your hand over the spot, you will feel the grain… sand that way. Do not sand against the grain! Also, let your tools work for you, there is no need to stress or tire yourself more than needed. Just relax and sand, and do not press hard, you can damage your wood that way. (holes, deep grooves, other unspeakable things)

Wax on, wax off

Okay we aren’t waxing yet, but this is the most important part. Time to make a smooth foundation for your poly finish. This is the part where we really start to reface, so take a dry cloth, or sock, and dust off the surface of the gunk. Replace the medium grade sand paper with the fine grade sand paper, and lightly scrub until you have a smooth finish. When is it smooth? Carefully, rub you hand over it… if it feels smooth, it is.

This part usually takes the most time, it could be because I am a perfectionist but regardless. If you want your cabinets to look professionally done you have to take your time and smooth then out nicely just like the kitchen cabinets when you first seen them.

After you finish your exquisite sanding job, give yourself a pat on the back, the worst is over. Just wet a towel, ring it out until its damp, and wipe off your doors. Make sure it’s all clean so you will not have any bumps or inconsistencies. Then, just sit and let it dry. Or if you’re like me, go lay down and wait.

You’re in the home stretch.

Now this is the fun part, time for the poly finish. Now you can either brush on the finish and let your journey end here, or you can add a few more things. After the sanding, you can add a wood stain, or even paint it over another color. But, I’m sure you want the easy way out, so brush on the poly finish and presto you’re done. (Perfectionist warning: you can wait for the finish to dry, re-and with the fine grade, and then re-varnish until you are satisfied. Wash, rinse, repeat.)

Now replace your kitchen cabinet doors, and you’re done!

See? Not so bad…

I’ve spent some time fixing up cabinets with my uncle, and even past the thought through my mind to fix up my own. It take some effort but the results are magical, and it doesn’t take a brain surgeon. So now I have just taught you how to reface your own kitchen cabinet doors. You’re welcome!

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