Cabinet refacing involves replacing or veneering the parts of the cabinet that are visible all the time. The cabinet boxes, called the cases, stay in their current layout, but get a new finish with veneer. Other parts, such as drawer fronts and cabinet doors, get completely replaced. The decoration can be finished off with complementary trim and cabinet hardware.
For a small budget and tight schedule, cabinet refacing can bring a whole new look to a kitchen. When a homeowner refaces his cabinets, he keeps the existing structure but spruces up hardware, drawer fronts, cabinet doors, and exterior surfaces. This way, he can rework an already adequate kitchen with a facelift without interrupting his busy life.
Many people turn to refacing when they'd like to update their kitchen but don't have a huge budget and can't manage total demolition. With this technique, it's easy to coordinate a new floor or wall paint and end up with a beautiful new room for much less cost than true remodeling. It is also appealing as a do-it-yourself project within reach of an amateur carpenter.
For example, a person could do a quick cabinet refacing project where he covers his existing cabinets with veneer. If the cabinet doors are smooth, called flat panel, a homeowner can use wood veneer in another color, rather than replacing the doors. Most veneer is peel-and-stick or iron-on. The most important step is cleaning the surface thoroughly so the veneer adheres properly. The cabinet cases can be covered with sheet veneer in the same way.
A more complicated process might involve removing and replacing all doors and drawers. This way, a homeowner can get fancier, brighter, or richer surfaces in his kitchen that result in a more dramatic change. Drawer fronts with integrated handles that look like cubbyholes for the fingers could be added, for example, or a couple of doors on a set of cabinets above a counter could be replaced with windowpanes to show off collectible dessert plates or fluted baking tins. A regal look can be accomplished with small braid trim on the fronts of doors and wide crown molding along the top of cabinetry.
Along with straightforward refacing, a homeowner might use this opportunity to accomplish other improvements that make the kitchen easier to use. For example, it is fairly easy to add a lazy Susan in a corner cabinet and roll-out shelving for heavy pots that allow a person to use existing cabinet space more efficiently. Self-closing hinges are helpful for someone who is constantly opening and closing doors.