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Music Teacher
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been asked to reface a kitchen. Face frames, drawer fronts, doors, hinges. It looks like materials will be around 600 dollars. How does one calculate labor or total cost to charge? I am not interested in doing it for the experience or for charity. But I don't need to retire after either...

Any rules of thumb so to speak out there?

Thanks,

Brad
 

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It's like any other job, you just guess what materials and labor it takes to do it. Normally on a reface you don't remake the faceframes but recover them with veneer because the sides of the cabinets need to be refaced also. I like to use phenolic veneer (formica back) to reface cabinets. You don't have to be as fussy fixing damage to the cabinets to veneer over with that type veneer. On the average kitchen, I figure a days labor to take the doors down and re-veneer the cabinets and another day to sand it and finish them. Then the doors and drawer fronts are done at the shop and priced as finished doors. Then there is another days labor to put up new trim and hang the doors. If you have never done it before you might figure in an extra day or two for unknowns. A customer usually comes up with something while you are doing the job that wasn't discussed. It usually goes better to say sure I can do that and not add it to their bill than give them a price for every little thing they think of.
 

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Old School
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I have been asked to reface a kitchen. Face frames, drawer fronts, doors, hinges. It looks like materials will be around 600 dollars. How does one calculate labor or total cost to charge? I am not interested in doing it for the experience or for charity. But I don't need to retire after either...

Any rules of thumb so to speak out there?

Thanks,

Brad
There are a few ways to reface cabinets. For the finished ends and face frames you could use a peel and stick wood veneer (PSA...pressure sensitive adhesive). There is no gluing involved. There is no real need to do any routing, as a mill file can be used on the edges. This means minimum mess.

Using a mica backed veneer is one of the most expensive ways to do it, and it entails using contact cement, which will stink up the house. It entails using a router and that will make a lot of noise and a lot of mess. You will still need to use a mill file.

Or, you could use a paper backed veneer (you'll need contact cement), which you can pre-size with a straight edge and a utility knife, just like the peel and stick veneer. In any case, the veneer (whichever you use) will likely need to be finished. It may be just a natural film finish, or a stain and topcoat. I would suggest you figure on wipe on finishes, as doing any spraying in the house can be a real PITA.

As for the doors, depending on the type and whatever profile they are, you must figure enough time to strip/sand and refinish. Or, you can just order new doors and drawer fronts. Whatever finish they will be figure the time involved.

The job start to finish, if you are working alone, will take you longer than you think. If you are relatively new at this type of work I would allow at a minimum of a week. I would price out all the parts you have to buy. If you are new at this, and decide to charge by the hour, the time alone could overprice the job, compared to someone that has done this many times.






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We refinished our own cabinets this year. We owned a refinishing business for 20 years so we had a little experience.
We looked at refacing but decided just to completely refinish instead. The doors we could strip and then the face frames and sides of the cabinets we sanded to bare wood. Came out real nice. The doors were all sprayed outside 3 coats inside and out.... cabinets had to be brushed.
You might think about refinishing the existing wood instead of refacing.
 

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Music Teacher
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the thoughts...

I see some further information is needed to get better thoughts.

The current cabinets are faced with knotty pine. They would like butternut whic I have shown the, some projects out of and they like a lot. Perhaps sanding the pine face frames and staining slightly could get a close enough color match to butternut with natural on it? Or is there a PSA or Heat sensitive veneer that would be similar to butternut? I will be making the doors and drawer fronts in my shop. Usually I only make whole projects, not just doors and drawer fronts, so not real sure how to price. I was leaning toward wipe on poly and cabinet an cemented that deal!

Thanks,

Brad
 

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Cedan makes butternut veneer....you don't have to fake it. I would suggest you apply non-flammable contact cement to the parts being veneered, then apply PSA veneer. The bond this forms has to be seen to be believed. I got that tip from Herrick Kimball's book, he also has a few shop built tools detailed in there that are extremely useful. You can get used copies for next to nothing.
 

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Refacing kitchen cabinets is one of the best way to save money instead of replacing them. In my opinion, you should take professional help, if you decide not to, make sure that you have all the tools needed in one place.
 
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