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tsbusch
RE-covering formica kitchen cabinets

We have great kitchen cabinets we would like to update with new cabinet doors. They are the 80's style formica with wood trim. The boxes would need to be veneered to match the new wood cabinets. Can this be done well and with longevity? Cabinet makers want to tear them all out which seems really wasteful.
Help!
Thanks!
tsbusch

dj1
Re: RE-covering formica kitchen cabinets

I got news for you: the cabinet makers are right.

Your cabinets are at least 30 years old. I don't know their condition or what type of cabinets they are, but maybe it's time to replace them.

Shop around, there are huge price differences among cabinets.

junkout
Re: RE-covering formica kitchen cabinets

I disagree with dj1 I think if they are in good shape and you like the layout why not reface them. this may involve removing the laminate of just scuffing it you will have to follow the recommendations on the adhesive you are using

dj1
Re: RE-covering formica kitchen cabinets

In many cases refacing may make sense and will save money. However, cabinets built in the 80s with foremica are most likely not made of plywood. Particle board cabinets that old are worn out and smelly making refacing a waste of good money.

We don't know the exact condition of the current cabinets, but if all cabinet makers suggested replacing and not even one recommended refacing, it tells us something.

One thing about investing money in remodeling will always be true: In most cases, the cheaper is more expensive.

cammianne
Re: RE-covering formica kitchen cabinets

There are many good products (Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations and Sherwin Williams has one also) out there now that make it easy to re-paint these kind of cabinets.

I'm very shocked by some of the responses you received. Who said they were "worn out and smelly?" If I'm not mistaken, the original posted stated they were "great." "All cabinetmakers?" He stated cabinetmakers wanted to tear them all out, not that there's been multiple cabinetmakers who've even looked at 'em. I would assume cabinetmakers would want to rip 'em out either way, since that's their job.

If you want to do it to save money, or just to save cabinets that are in good condition, go for it. You can also add trim/molding before painting to also change to look.

Sombreuil_mongrel
Re: RE-covering formica kitchen cabinets

If you want to do a full reface on them, including new doors, then you need to see if the faceframes are up to the task. See how well they are holding the hinges/screws. If all is tight, you have acceptable boxes for a reface.
there's really no way to reface the laminate doors (melamine over p-board most likely) and a more respectable door style will actually give you a tangible result, any less will look only like a paint job. There are many places that manufacture cabinet doors for the refacing industry; find one nearby because doors are heavy and the shipping can kill the budget. Find a door you like in a finish you like, and you're off to a good start.
If the cabinet boxes are frameless, then there is really nothing worth saving, as you have nothing but particle board there to fasten to. In that case, paint away.
Casey

dj1
Re: RE-covering formica kitchen cabinets
cammianne wrote:

There are many good products (Rust-Oleum Cabinet Transformations and Sherwin Williams has one also) out there now that make it easy to re-paint these kind of cabinets.

I'm very shocked by some of the responses you received. Who said they were "worn out and smelly?" If I'm not mistaken, the original posted stated they were "great." "All cabinetmakers?" He stated cabinetmakers wanted to tear them all out, not that there's been multiple cabinetmakers who've even looked at 'em. I would assume cabinetmakers would want to rip 'em out either way, since that's their job.

If you want to do it to save money, or just to save cabinets that are in good condition, go for it. You can also add trim/molding before painting to also change to look.

I'm the one who said that some old cabinets are "worn out and smelly", even when the homeowner thinks that they are in "great shape". You see, for resurfacing you need a cabinet that can hold new doors (weight and new screws). Most old particle board cabinets can't do that, they just fall apart.

Don
Re: RE-covering formica kitchen cabinets

"...weight..."

Wait...really????

Almost all face frames are made of solid wood. And doors are mounted to the face frame.

Small cabinet doors don't weigh that much - even if made from solid wood.

ordjen
Re: RE-covering formica kitchen cabinets

Almost anythng s possible given enough labor and money. the question is whether it is cost effective. Real veneers are not inexpensive and their application not all that easy for a novice. Very labor intensive for someone who is experienced.

If the cabinet footprint is not being changed, it may be well easier, and not all that much cost difference, to just change out the cabinets. Changing the cabinets would actually be quicker and easier for a relative amateur than all that reworking of the existing cabinets.

Jeanne
Re: RE-covering formica kitchen cabinets

I agree that replacing the cabinets would give you the kitchen you really want. However, if you are looking for a short term fix-up that does not cost much money there is a “decorator fix”. The blog Simply Chic Treasures on the Feb. 8, 2013 blog gives a treatment to change the look of the doors of melamine cabinets. Scroll down to the blog archive on the right side of the screen.

I have not done this myself and I think it is only a temporary solution until you can afford to get the cabinets you really want. This does require some DIY skills. The guys on here always recommend the good sound construction answer, and I think they are right, but I also remember those days when I used a “decorator fix” to get me through a few years before I could afford to do the real construction job.

Mastercarpentry
Re: RE-covering formica kitchen cabinets

The basic cabinets don't change styles much but the doors and hardware do, so often you can get an entirely new look by using new doors and refinishing the cabinets. And yes, there are other considerations to make first- structural integrity, ease of changing the finish to what you want, and the cost of the new doors (which with a good woodshop isn't beyond DIY'ing). If you approach a cabinet-maker to make the doors you're going to get sticker-shocked.

One trick I use to is to see if there are currently-manufactured cabinets available that have doors which will fit in the style wanted, then price those doors (which can usually be special-ordered separately). Most of the time I can get doors this way for half of what custom-made ones will cost locally, but this only works for situations where all the cabinetry is standard sizes and the new ones come in those sizes too. Since the new 'replacement' doors will be pre-bored for all the hardware you must make sure that it will work before ordering. This is one time I like big-box stores because I can buy a cabinet, take it to the site, pull the door and check the fit, then return the cabinet for a full refund without anyone caring about anything.

Basic cabinet face-frame refacing isn't really all that hard to do, but it's a job where the results you get depend on how well you handle the details. A few tools you'll need are beyond the basics too; a trim router or laminate trimmer and jigs for hinging come to mind. Basic refacing often forgets that cabinets have exposed sides which should be refaced to match, and they may have crown molding which will now be too short to reinstall after adding the facing. Because of all this I consider the job to be 7-8 out of 10 on the DIY scale if you expect great results, and not much less for just acceptable results. It's a case of where if you have to ask, you probably shouldn't tackle it yourself.

Do your checks and figures, and then check them against installing new cabinets before you make the final decision- new may not cost much more and if that's the case just go with new and go for quality- cheap cabinetry does not last no matter how good it looks today.

Phil

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