Here, we can see a kitchen makeover on a budget through refacing and refinish old kitchen cabinets from a DIY expert Paul Ryan.
Step 1: Reface Sides, Drawers and Doors with Veneer and Stain
Remove the cabinets doors, drawers and other hardware first. It would be easy to reface the flat-front doors and drawers. But you can choose to purchase a news unfinished doors and drawers when you already have raised panels, routed profiles or some other architectural detailing.
The front part and the side part of the old cabinets need to be sanded. Just sand them to show the new wood veneer, you do not need to sand entirely.
You can use a less-visible area like a side panel to practice your veneering technique. You only need thin wood glue applied on the cabinet surface, and to fix the veneer panel properly, you would need a nail gun with 5/8 inch brads. You can sink the brad heads under the veneer surface by adjusting the nailer. Start nailing from top part then go to the bottom part so that you will not have a bubble in the middle of the panel (see image 1).
Put the side panels properly before you trim the veneer edges with a block plane and flush with the old cabinet faces.
You can start applying veneer on the cabinets front with the horizontal areas and rails. Then cut the vertical stiles into pieces using a sharp razor knife. And trim every intersecting edges and corner flush with the sides once you’re done with the vertical stiles. Follow the procedure to reface the cabinets doors. Use matched wood veneer tape on the door edges so you save some time; you would need a hot clothes iron to easily apply the veneer tape and activate the pre-glued backing.
Use wood putty with a suitable color with your intended stain to fill every brad hole. Before you sand then lightly to remove the excess (see image 2), you must dry it first. In order to spread the pressure evenly and keep the gouges and indentations away, you can use a sanding block.
Step 2: Stain Cabinet Interiors
You can start staining the cabinets from the inside edges and openings then go to the side parts and end up on the cabinet fronts using a paintbrush or a rag. Thanks to this step, you can have a quicker work on the less crucial areas and it also ease you o see and make some corrections on any drip or smudges that might be visible. Then you can apply a generous coat of stain, wipe out the excess and stick to the manufacturer’s instruction in letting it dry, you can continue with a second and final coat.
Along with other separate wood pieces or moldings, you stain the cabinet doors and drawer fronts. You would need a paint brush for raised and routed parts in order to flow the stain into crevices and corners and keep it from accumulating in these spots.
Step 3: Finish Cabinets with Polyurethane
Cooking heat and steam, grease spatters, cleanup splashes and daily use produce many punishments for the kitchen cabinets, that is why they need to be protected properly. The answer to that issue would be three coats of polyurethane. Polyurethane is water-based and become an ideal choice since it is relatively produce no odor, better than oil or alkyd urethanes in the matter of “flattens”, dries quickly, and it also makes you possible to put three coats in one same day.
For the chosen finish, you can use the recommended brush and apply the first coat. Go in one direction in brushing as the wood grain or pattern. Lay a thin finish, work with the brush in a proper way to avoid air bubbles in the finish, also to keep away from creating bumps and pits once it dries.
Once you’re done with the first coat on every new wood, let them dry properly before you sand the surfaces lightly using a fine-grit sandpaper and make them ready for the second coat. Use a tack cloth to wipe away any sanding dust before applying the second coat. You need the same step before the third and final coat.
Step 4: Reassemble the Cabinets
Start with installing the door hinges. Put each hinge with its own length away from the door both top and bottom side; you can use a single hinge to make the correct measurement. A self-centering drill bit is useful when you create the screw holes, put the hardware screw hole in align and watch the holes depth to avoid breaking the door (image 1).
Note: to make the grain or pattern points up or down on every door, you need to orient the door before installing the hinges. You choose any choice as you wish yet the pleasing feel could come from the uniform look (image 2). Notice that the grain tips on the door all point down in this project.
Pre-drilling door hinge holes in the cabinets requires a jig. In order to make sure every door will line up evenly when hung, clamp a shelf to the bottom rail (image 3).
To have a smooth opening and closing, you need to install door shock absorbers inside each cabinet opening. This method will be nicely applied in the cabinet doors which have glass inserts (image 4).
For new fronts and boxes, in order to have proper alignment, you can lay the new drawer boxes on an old one front. After you have equal measurement from the top, bottom and sides, apply them on the new front panel. Make the screw holes first before you clamp the front and box together by the time you install the screws from inside the drawer box (image 5).
The same method goes for the other drawers and then install the drawer pulls.
The next step is reattaching the old slides to the new drawers, or you can install new drawer slides. Normally, ¾-extension slides can be found in older cabinets. You can have more convenience by upgrading to full-extension slides beside the longer durability (image 6).