Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Change cabinetry supplies for budget refacing

by Susanne Clemenz
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

If your sagging, outdated kitchen cabinets are an embarrassment, there is much you can do to improve the situation. Set aside a weekend, perhaps bribe friends with your famous barbecued salmon, and host a cabinet refacing party.

Cleaning cabinet components

Begin by doing a thorough cleaning. The first step is disassembling the cabinets. Delegate the following tasks amongst those helping with your refacing project:

  1. Take off doors
  2. Remove drawers
  3. Remove hardware, including suspension systems

Clean laminate (Formica), glass, metal or plastic surfaces with an alkaline cleaner. For wood cabinets, use a dab of hand dishwashing detergent on a damp net-covered sponge around grime build-up areas. Rinse and dry. Then, clean cabinet cases and any doors you're keeping with a Murphy's Oil Soap solution.

Work in small areas so you can clean, then immediately buff in grain's direction with a clean terry towel. Soak your metal door handles and hinges in a dish detergent solution for an hour or so, then scrub them with an old toothbrush. Thoroughly dry each one.

Replacing cabinetry supplies

If you're keeping the cabinet cases without refacing them, touch up scratches. When reusing older cabinetry supplies, consider some of the following tips to help make your cabinets look newer:

  1. Screw holes: Use a tiny dowel, match stick, or toothpick with some wood glue, depending on damage size. Let dry. Re-drill using hardware as a measuring template.
  2. Suspension systems: If you need to replace these, save one of each size of your old drawer suspension systems to take to the building supply or hardware store for matching. Label each old system with how many pairs you'll need. Repair mounting holes if necessary. Tighten wood guides with screws, glue, or new wood. Install new systems.
  3. New hinges and handles: Magnificent handles and pulls are displayed at places like Restoration Hardware, but Home Depot and other hardware stores also have excellent choices. New hardware creates a strong visual upgrade for a fraction of the cost of new cabinets.
  4. Door and drawer fronts: If you're keeping cabinet cases without refinishing them, choose new doors and drawer fronts that contrast in color. A near-miss in grain or stain looks mis-matched. Another option would be to choose a stain or paint color to create a brand new look and feel for your kitchen.

Once everything is cleaned and re-drilled, and new cabinetry supplies are installed, rehang doors and step back to enjoy your inexpensive, beautiful upgrade for years.

About the Author

Suzanne Clemenz designed her passive solar home and remodeled two others. She worked with architects and contractors on floorplans, electrical, painting, windows, flooring installations, flood prevention walls and stonework, major drainage issues, an irrigation system and landscaping.

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