Cabinet Refacing: What to Know

Refacing cabinets can make a massive difference to the overall look of your kitchen. Refacing cabinets, also called resurfacing, involves giving your existing cabinets a sort of “facelift,” resulting in a clean, fresh look. 

If you have wood veneers or laminate over your cabinets, refacing would allow you to change its style. You can even change your cabinet's wood type, and color with this project. Some may still have those avocado-green cabinets that were big in the 70s. But with refacing, you can transform them into sleek white modern cabinets. Likewise, those bright and light oak cabinets can turn into dark and regal cherry wood or vice versa. With cabinet refacing, your kitchen can take on the look of an expensive renovation with less cost, hassle, and convenience than a full-on remodeling. 

Making the Most of What You Have 

Cabinet refacing allows you to keep existing cabinet units and revamp them into something that looks bright and new. However, you will be required to replace its drawer faces, doors, and side panels if you want them to match seamlessly. You can also replace its hardware to improve your cabinet’s quality and performance. 

You can also improve the overall feel of your kitchen by changing cabinet handles, hinges, and moldings and replacing them with ones that come in newer styles and looks. You can find a new one at your favorite hardware, home improvement stores, or your local mom-and-pop type of shop that specializes in DIY projects. But before starting on anything, you will first need to decide if you want to use RTFs, wood veneers, or laminate for your refacing project. Even if you work with the most seasoned experts on cabinet refacing in your area, you’d still have to decide on this. 

RTFs (Rigid Thermofoils)

Rigid Thermo foil is a pressure-molded vinyl foil that is more malleable when compared to laminates. Hence, you can use them to cover cabinets with intricate embossed or engraved designs, such as arches and cathedral doors. The wood grains in RTFs are highly realistic. Unfortunately, the ones that come in more solid colors may sometimes be harder to find.

Wood Veneers

With wood veneers, you can change the type of wood on your cabinets without compromising its integrity. This is because wood veneers are real, actual wood that comes in different sheet sizes. Like laminates, you can buy wood veneers that already have adhesives. You can apply the adhesive yourself if that’s not ideal for you.


Laminates are plastics that are extremely hard and can stick to any existing cabinet using adhesives. They are also available in sheets that already have self-sticking adhesives. These are usually more expensive than your regular laminates, but they are much more convenient and easier to install or apply by yourself. Alternatively, you can apply an adhesive separately. 

The downside with laminates is that they are durable and hard, making them difficult to mold, and can only be applied to smooth and flat surfaces or plain cabinet boxes.