What is involved in cabinet refacing - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 15 Old 09-18-2014, 03:51 PM Thread Starter
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What is involved in cabinet refacing

While I have built a lot of kitchen cabinets, I have never refaced one. I have a friend who is looking to have this done over white painted cabinets. What is all involved?

I can see applying 1/4" veneered plywood over the sides but how is it adhered to a painted surface, and what about the face frames? What do they usually do about the underside of the uppers?

For me, is almost seems like less work to just build all new cabinets.

Just curious


Thanks
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post #2 of 15 Old 09-18-2014, 06:41 PM
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Refacing is usually done with formica (low-end) or thin veneer, not 1/4" plywood.
Often accompanied by new doors to match.
The undersides of uppers are not a big issue, depending on the cost and quality, I've seen them remain unfinished.
They are mostly in an unlit area below normal line of sight.
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post #3 of 15 Old 09-18-2014, 07:41 PM
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I prefer to use a phenolic veneer when re-facing cabinets. It basically is Formica with wood veneer on the surface instead of the normal finish. You can veneer over small defects so there isn't the need of all the surface preparation. Also you can get away with using contact cement for the adhesive. If you want to make the job easy get an underscribe router. It is a regular laminate trimmer with a special base that has a guide which rides on the edge of the laminate cutting the part to perfect length so all you have to do is scrape the bur off the bottom and pop it into place for a perfect fit. Then you can use a router with a trim bit and trim off the overhang and file it like Formica.

Going over paint be sure the paint is in good condition. Any flaking of the paint and it will take the veneer off. Also keep in mind that airborne grease settles everywhere in a kitchen and the cabinets will have a coat of oil on them. Be sure to clean the cabinets first with a degreaser. I prefer to use a product called Krud Kutter Gloss Off often available at Sherwin Williams. The next step would be to rough up the paint so the adhesive can get a bite on the finish. You could just go over the cabinets with an orbital sander with 80x paper for this purpose.
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post #4 of 15 Old 09-18-2014, 08:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
I prefer to use a phenolic veneer when re-facing cabinets. It basically is Formica with wood veneer on the surface instead of the normal finish. You can veneer over small defects so there isn't the need of all the surface preparation. Also you can get away with using contact cement for the adhesive. If you want to make the job easy get an underscribe router. It is a regular laminate trimmer with a special base that has a guide which rides on the edge of the laminate cutting the part to perfect length so all you have to do is scrape the bur off the bottom and pop it into place for a perfect fit. Then you can use a router with a trim bit and trim off the overhang and file it like Formica.

Going over paint be sure the paint is in good condition. Any flaking of the paint and it will take the veneer off. Also keep in mind that airborne grease settles everywhere in a kitchen and the cabinets will have a coat of oil on them. Be sure to clean the cabinets first with a degreaser. I prefer to use a product called Krud Kutter Gloss Off often available at Sherwin Williams. The next step would be to rough up the paint so the adhesive can get a bite on the finish. You could just go over the cabinets with an orbital sander with 80x paper for this purpose.
Good advice, if you can afford these guys, their products are great.
http://www.conestogawood.com/
Edit to add, Been out of country too long, seems these guys have discontinued the nice selection of phenolic-backed veneers and matching doors. The fly-tying desk in my pictures was done with their Hickory.

Last edited by bzguy; 09-18-2014 at 08:41 PM. Reason: out-dated info
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post #5 of 15 Old 09-18-2014, 11:54 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies guys. It does look like it can be plenty of work and you need the right prep and the right tools on hand. I would build the doors and drawer fronts myself but she wants the cabinets refaced in knotty pine or alder. The quote she got from a refacing company says they would cover everything in 1/4" but I can't imagine them doing the face frames that way. It looks like a self adhesive veneer would work best for that. If there is a round-over on the edges of the cabinets, which there seems to be in the photos, that would also involved wood filler I presume.

The products at conestagawood look nice but I don't see any veneers available.
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post #6 of 15 Old 09-19-2014, 07:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichO View Post
Thanks for the replies guys. It does look like it can be plenty of work and you need the right prep and the right tools on hand. I would build the doors and drawer fronts myself but she wants the cabinets refaced in knotty pine or alder. The quote she got from a refacing company says they would cover everything in 1/4" but I can't imagine them doing the face frames that way. It looks like a self adhesive veneer would work best for that. If there is a round-over on the edges of the cabinets, which there seems to be in the photos, that would also involved wood filler I presume.

The products at conestagawood look nice but I don't see any veneers available.
Any place that sells Wilsonart of Formica brand laminates should be able to order phenolic-backed veneers.
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post #7 of 15 Old 09-19-2014, 03:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichO View Post
Thanks for the replies guys. It does look like it can be plenty of work and you need the right prep and the right tools on hand. I would build the doors and drawer fronts myself but she wants the cabinets refaced in knotty pine or alder. The quote she got from a refacing company says they would cover everything in 1/4" but I can't imagine them doing the face frames that way. It looks like a self adhesive veneer would work best for that. If there is a round-over on the edges of the cabinets, which there seems to be in the photos, that would also involved wood filler I presume.

The products at conestagawood look nice but I don't see any veneers available.
Yes, I edited to add that it seems they discontinued, today I checked further.
They had a nice line of pre-finished phenolic-backed wood veneers with a very durable finish. There are 25 selections when you go to this link and click on species, website is a little confusing?
http://www.conestogawood.com/veneers.html
I have used that "Peel & stick veneer you refer to, it has to be finished and I've seen it come unstuck and bubble/expand with moisture.
I'd stick with Steve's advice, phenolic-backed is far easier and more dependable.

Last edited by bzguy; 09-19-2014 at 03:46 PM.
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post #8 of 15 Old 09-19-2014, 04:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
phenolic-backed is far easier and more dependable
Understandable but doesn't this need to be contact cemented to the cabinet?
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post #9 of 15 Old 09-19-2014, 06:50 PM
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Understandable but doesn't this need to be contact cemented to the cabinet?
Yes it does, use a paint brush to apply carefully.
It is ridgid and will not change shape or size like regular wood veneer.
It will cover defects and the surface is much easier to prepare.
It comes pre-finished so glue it on, trim edges and you're done.
The thin black lines from the phenolic substrate will show just like formica so plan accordingly, faces last, etc.
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post #10 of 15 Old 09-19-2014, 07:42 PM
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Understandable but doesn't this need to be contact cemented to the cabinet?
Yes phenolic veneer should be installed with contact cement especially going over paint. This really shouldn't be an issue, the cement can be applied with a roller. I just don't have any faith in peal and press veneer. Besides the substrate will have to be nearly perfect or a defect could show through the veneer.
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post #11 of 15 Old 09-19-2014, 11:07 PM
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Companies I have worked for as well as when in business for myself use 1/4....Rebelwork
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post #12 of 15 Old 09-20-2014, 02:21 PM Thread Starter
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The quote she got from a refacing company said it was 1/4". I figured I would apply 1/4" veneer plywood over the sides but for the face frames it would take solid stock. Are large quantities even available in 1/4" thickness or do you have to resaw and plane it down yourself? Adhered to existing face frames with construction adhesive and pin nails?
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post #13 of 15 Old 09-20-2014, 08:17 PM
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Here's a link to a discussion, gives you an idea what you're getting into...........
http://www.woodweb.com/knowledge_bas...bor_Hours.html
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post #14 of 15 Old 09-21-2014, 10:09 AM
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I did my cabinets a few years ago I removed the face frames and used 1/4" oak plywood for the flat areas and 3/4" solid oak to rebuild the frames. I glued the plywood on and used finishing nails around the edges (the nails would either be covered by the trim or would be filled in). I had a cabinet shop make the doors. Lots of work but they came out pretty good. I can post a few pics if you want

Last edited by Sorrowful Jones; 09-21-2014 at 11:27 AM.
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post #15 of 15 Old 09-21-2014, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the link bzguy. That covers a lot.

Removing the existing face frames would be ideal but I highly doubt I would be able to remove them without doing some kind of damage to the boxes because they seem to be on there pretty solid.
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