Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

How to apply veneer to kitchen cabinets: finishing

by Karl Fendelander
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

Your cabinet refacing project is nearly done. Your kitchen cabinets have been resurfaced with wood veneer and you're ready for the finishing touches. Whichever kind of veneer you've installed, be sure to wait 24 hours for the adhesive to cure before proceeding.

Finishing touches of veneer refacing

If you've gotten a wood veneer that doesn't require any finishing oils, stains or finishes, you can move on to accessorizing and detailing. If not, it's time to get out the sand paper again. Go over all surfaces with 150 grit sandpaper to make sure everything is flush, then smooth with 180 grit. This can be done without waiting 24 hours, but too much pressure could accidentally push a piece of veneer out of place or peel up an edge, so be sure to follow the directions of whichever adhesive you used.

After you've sanded, you're ready to use any stain or other finish. It's a good idea to give kitchen cabinets a good coat of polyurethane to protect them. They take a lot of abuse, and this will increase the lifespan the veneer, keeping it looking good for years. Follow the specific directions of your veneer product.

Accents and interiors

Here are a few options for really making your cabinetry look and feel like new:

  • Corner molding: Not happy with the way your corners look? No problem. With stained, matching corner molding, you can cover up any unsightly corner seams.
  • Crown molding: Topping off your cabinets with crown molding that's stained to match gives your kitchen a classy look that's sure to impress.
  • Decorative onlays: From fleurs-de-lis and faux feet to braided columns and beyond, you can find a huge variety of decorative elements to suit your style.
  • Fabric backing: A quick way to make the interior of your cabinets look like new is to measure the back wall of the cabinets between shelves and cut thin foam board to that shape. Find a material with a fun pattern, and use spray adhesive to attach it to the foam board. These inserts are temporary and easy to replace.
  • New hardware: From soft-close hinges and shock-absorbing drawer slides to new drawer pulls and cabinet handles, new hardware really completes the transformation.
  • Shelves: Need a little extra space? Extend those cabinets a bit further with external shelves that line up with your interior ones. Use the right angle of the corner made by the cabinet box and the wall to secure the shelf. You may want to back the shelves with a matching board for extra strength.

Once you've added the finishing touches, it's time to put the new or refinished doors and drawer faces back on. If you made it all the way through, congratulations! If you're stuck or in over your head, don't hesitate to call in a professional to help you get your kitchen back.

Previous--How to apply veneer to kitchen cabinets: prep

Previous--How to apply veneer to kitchen cabinets: refacing

About the Author
Karl Fendelander cut his teeth on web writing in the late nineties and has been plugged in to the newest technology and tuned in to the latest trends ever since. With an eye for design and an ear for language, Karl has created content and managed digital media for startups and established companies alike. When he unplugs, Karl can be found biking about town and hiking and climbing throughout the West.

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