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How to refinish/makeover/reface cabinetry for a newer look.
Tools / Materials (See Below for
Cabinet hardware (handles, hinges, etc.)
Cabinet veneers (raw-wood veneers, paper-backed veneers, or
Veneer heat glue (such as Heat Lock Veneer Glue™, which does not
release any volatile elements and thus may be used indoors)
Ordinary clothes iron
Glue roller or paint brush (to apply adhesive glue like Heat
Lock Veneer Glue™)
Bucket of water
Veneer softener (such as Super-Soft 2 Veneer Softener™, which
permits the veneer to still accept stain additives upon bonding
completion, unlike other softeners on the market)
Paint brush (to stain cabinetry)
Wood staining product
Depending on the extent of the
refinishing/makeover of your cabinetry that you desire, either one of the
(3) following guides can be followed, sorted incrementally by the
extent of the refinishing/makeover of your cabinetry:
The relatively basic refinish/makeover of your
cabinetry involves the following: Installing new moldings, hardware
(like new and much more elegant drawer handles, hinges, etc.), onlays, and decorative appliqués.
(These may require the use of a power drill, a hammer, a
screwdriver, finish nails, screws, etc., as may be applicable.) You
may also consider adding a new color scheme to your cabinetry.
A more advanced refinish/makeover of your
cabinetry involves the following: Replacing your existing cabinet
doors with new cabinet doors offered specifically for such refacing
projects at home improvement stores or online home improvement
stores. Many big home improvement stores have their own design
experts in the stores to best help select your new cabinet doors to
give your existing cabinetry a stylish, new look in place of the
old, boring look you have grown used to.
The more complete refinishing/makeover of your
cabinetry, short of replacing it, involves buying veneer coverings,
available in various wood species, to laminate over your cabinetry
surface. Veneer may sound awkward to the complete novice or
even average person, but it is a great product for bringing your
cabinetry back to life within a budget: Wood veneer is a real,
thin slice of wood, and is available in many wood species, even
exotic ones, and, thus, provides for an economically feasible way of
selecting wood that would otherwise be out of reach in price if it
were to be bought as lumber or come as part of the original solid
wood composition of your cabinetry. Caution: It would be wise
to experiment with small bits of veneer covering and scrap plywood
when first going over either of the following ways of Guide 3 so as
to get the hang of it.
Of the many methods to apply veneer coverings,
two (2) popular and least complex methods of laminating the veneer
coverings are as follows, which work well for cabinetry
Guide 3: Method 1
Through a method known as clothes-iron veneering,
you essentially use veneer glue and a simple clothes iron for the
most part to bond the veneer covers to the cabinetry surface areas.
Measure each cabinetry surface area to be covered
and then, for each area, use a utility knife and straight edge to cut out your measured
and pencil-marked pieces of veneer coverings, making sure you have
about a 1 inch excess around the edge (that will be cut later upon
adhering the veneer).
Then, take each cut veneer covering
and apply thereto two coats of the Heat Lock Veneer Glue™ with
a paint brush or glue roller and then apply two coats of said glue
on the part of the cabinetry area (i.e., substrate) that is to be
Make sure the Heat Lock Veneer Glue™ is evenly
Once you have applied the coating, take the veneer
covering that has been applied with the said glue and carefully place
it over, and in effect adjoin it with, the intended cabinetry
surface to be covered.
Use a dampened rag to quickly wipe
away any excess glue that may appear on the surface and trim away
the excess veneer covering.
the clothes iron to high, and while you wait for it to heat up,
clean your paint brush/glue roller free of the said glue, as the
said glue quickly dries, which will stiffen your brush/roller making
continued use of it later difficult for the next veneer covering to
be applied; dipping it into a bucket of water is the best and quick
way to keep it ready.
After a minute or two of having
the clothes iron heat up, use a piece of a cotton fabric (roughly
10" by 10" or even a cotton blouse) to cover the now-placed veneer
over the cabinetry area, a cotton fabric of which will act as the
shield between the veneer and the clothes iron as you iron with firm
downward pressure from the center of the veneer covering and outward
to its edges, causing the generated heat to effectively bond the
said glue of the veneer with the underlying cabinetry surface area.
Caution: Be sure that your clothes iron does not stay in one place,
but moves around at all times.
If the veneer becomes wavy,
burled or crotched, spray a veneer softener product, such as
Super-Soft 2 Veneer Softener™, on the affected area and follow the
product's instructions, which will include adding flat pressure over
the area for some time so as to have it straighten out on its own.
Wait about three hours for the veneer to fully bond to the
underlying cabinet surface area; in the meantime, work on the next
veneer covering by repeating the process above.
success of the bonding of the veneers to the cabinetry surface area,
and if you discover any uneven surface area or loose edges, re-heat
those areas, as those areas obviously did not get enough of the heat
from the moving clothes iron.
Finally, apply any wood
stain you would apply for any other new piece of wood should you
desire it, and you should be done.
Guide 3: Method 2
Through a method known as peel-off veneer
placement, you eliminate the need to deal with any glue as the
veneers you use are self-adhesive as soon as you peel off the back
of each respective self-sticking veneer.
Having measured and cut
your veneer covering to size, leaving 1 inch excess around the sides
(to be trimmed later), peel off the paper
backing of the self-sticking veneer and place over, and in effect
adjoin with, the intended cabinetry surface area to be covered.
Cut off any excess veneer, and you should be done.
Handyman Zone Team
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