Kitchen cabinets - refinishing

Hi,
Considering refinishing the 60's look, dark brown (inexpensive) kitchen cabinets. They are all flat, not texture, grooves or moldings. I can replace the hardware for a more updated look.
I read that painting is an option. Are there any other methods practical for a do-it-yourselfer? Perhaps gluing a thin layer of surface material? Or is that silly.
Also want to remove and replace the backsplash wall tiles. What's a good way to remove them?
RichK
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Painting is a good option. If you're interested, check around at some real paint stores for a product that a local hardware store used to carry. It was a paint additive that would result in a piano-smooth finish. Never tried it - just discussed it with the owner for some project I was dreaming up at the time. As far as the "thin surface material", you might be able to do that, but you might want to hire a countertop place to do it. Laminates require some skill to come up with first class results.
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Paint is the method for your old tired cabinets. The key is prep work, sanding off whatever finish is there, prime, paint. A thin layer of formica is silly though might be fun if you don't care about resale value. It's messy.
The wall tiles can generally be removed with a putty knife, pound it behind the tile with a hammer. Some tiles, depending on the underlying surface and the amount of glue, will pop right off. WEAR eye protection !
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was
at
I was hoping for a light color, but not so shiny as a piano :-) Or did you just mean smooth alone? In fact a semi-gloss would be closer to my taste, or even less glossy.

Hiring anyone would run up the cost. For the labor, I may be able to buy new (cheap) cabinets :-)) But I will try to get an idea on the cost.
Rich
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glueing wood veneer onto the sides and edges of cabnets is an accepted method of refinishing cabnets but it is usually accompanied by new doors. Veneering the doors is certainly possible but could be more expensive than replacing at that point. Plastic laminate (cheaper than wood veneer) could look good if done well if you want that look. for example some darker shades of green look good next to white oak trim. the edges of the door will need to be pretty square for this to look good.

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could
Thanks Autotracer,
Local Home Depot has some service to "refurbish" the cabinets, which I will also explore. They mention replacing the doors. Not sure what they do with the rest of the cabinets.
Messing with veneer or laminate may be a major project, for someone who has not done it before, but wanted to get some opinions here. Sounds like it's possible.
Regards,
Rich
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Refacing is an excellent option. I did it 9 years ago with my kitchen and hired a contractor to do it before I figured out how to do it myself. Now I just refaced two bathrooms. To reface you:
1. Mount 1/4" hardwood veneered plywood over all side panels. 2. Using water-based contact cement and peel and stick veneer, reface the styles and rails of the face frame. Very easy to do. 3. Mount new doors and install new drawers using the european style concealed hinges (Blum).
You can find on-line resources to new drawers and doors. All you do is measure and place the order and you can have doors and drawers delivered to you. I built my own doors and drawers only because I can do it. Did both bathrooms in Cherry and it came out gorgeous.
I stained my side panels and peel and stick veneer before refacing the cabinets and then did a wipe on finish as the last step.
I would check out www.rocker.com and search for refacing supplies. I would also consider purchasing a book called "Kitchen Refacing" which has a wealth of info on the subject.
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Sorry, typing too fast. Reference is www.rockler.com. I can't believe it. I clicked on rocker.com and it is a port site. Sorry for this!!!
www.rockler.com
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Thanks Jerry,
----- Original Message -----

Why would I replace the doors and drawers? Could they not be done the same way. I noticed that local Home Depot offeres that service.
Rich
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DO NOT PAINT YOUR CABINETS! After you do you have very limited options in the future. And if ever you decide to reface/refurb ALL that has to be encapsulated.
I have many rental properties (11) and I always use kitchen refacing companies to give my ALL my properties a giant face lifts. Either for resale or rental. Here are some of my experiences:
I used Home Depot - the price was right (isn't it always), who I also use for carpet. They weren't exact as far as time frames were concerned and the sub contractor chosen was very new (I think), because after going through this process before I had some first hand info. Price was so cheap I had another condo done through them. Total time for this 10X12 kitchen was around 2 weeks including counter top (which I had to go seperately through HD for that). Over all experience was good/great until after 2 years. I don't know who in this thread said to buy that peel and stick crap, but they are 110% wrong. It lifts and it is thin (you can actually crack this stuff when you bend it). Both kitchen were almost exactly the same.
After looking into ALL their availible products here is my analysis. They will put that peel and stick (junk) right over painted boxes w/ out any kind of prep work. Wrong way - nothing sticks to paint well. And they also applied that peel & stick right over my existing laminate which was already lifting on some of the seams. Guess what they are starting to lift in the exact same areas. Their door were laminated particle board, which I found out after the heat the oven made it start peeling the foil wrap doors.
Called HD and after about a dozen calls - I was out of warranty with one, so had to buy new door and used finishing nails to stop the lam. from peeling more. I guess you get what you pay for. Over all I would rate them a 6-7 - Approx. 2weeks of work and 1.5 month from when I bought. But price couldn't be beat. About 1/2 the cost of Facelifters.
I used Sears - Much more expensive - About $800-$1200 more for cabinet refacing. This is after the HD experience. I went with their quoted price. Which I though was a little too high. But, I was in a crunch and had a renter coming in at the end of the month and they put some kind of "rush" order and they DID included counters. So my decision was made. They were in that condo 3.5 days while I watched. They preped the paint, affixed plywood to the existing cabs and resurfaced over that. Without me puting in any of my opinions. Counter went in as they did the cabs. Got a new free sink (which I am sure was already included in pricing) and they even built me some interior slide out shelving (drawers inside cabinets at no charge). Which I never ordered. But what the hay I'll take it. Over all exerience: 9.5 and it took 3days of work and 3weeks from when I bought. Buyer beware - they want you to buy then and there (they give you about a $1000.00 incentive to buy that day).
I had a renter tie a dog to one of the doors - tore it off called Sears and in 3 days had the same door shipped to my renters house. No questions asked. Sure Sears was more expensive but because of the customer focus and product I now have 5 other properties with their work in it and they all still look great after 7 years. Also had a problem with one of the drawers after their 5yr warranty. They still followed through at no charge.
Bottom line: Worry free, great product - highly recommend them.
I also used a company called facelifters - because of their add. Which the other 2 companies I never saw any advertising until this year. So they should be thanking this company, because I had no idea that they did refurbishing cabinets.
Well to make a long story short - this company went through Chap. 11 about 5 months after I used them. So voided any kind of warranty, I think it was one year anyway?? And from what I hear they have done this a couple of times. They broke my lighting system in the kitchen without any kind of repair or even an "I'm sorry". Over all experience: 4 - 4days of work and 7 weeks from purchase. I had to reface this kitchen after 6 years.
Buddy, kitchen refacing is a great way to go! Their are a lot of negative posts about it and how it sucks. I have had all 11 properties done and have had great experinces and very poor experiences. There is a huge difference in the refacers themselves. So beware:
What costs $9,000 at sears will costs you $7700-8500 at Home Depot - It all depends on the subcontractor you get and they have many. Their products and processes are different - NO MATTER WHAT THEY SAY.
And as far as using a contractor - They will all knock this post - but not one of them can say they will be around the next few years with an absolute certainty. Or if they are, can they say they will have the time to warranty your kitchen! I am sure they can do a great job as equal to these companies for less money and similar product - but they can't give you piece of mind!
Hope this Helps
For price go with HD and cross your fingers For Quality go with Sears
Bassinkurt (self made millionair - I wish...)
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They replace doors and custom build drawers and give you all new hardware. From what one of the companies told me - that is the only way they can warranty you kitchen
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RichK wrote:

Are they solid wood? What kind? Veneer? Laminate?
You can paint anything, including laminate, providing you prep correctly and use the right primer/paint. Resurfacing is expensive, but nice. We kept old cabinets, refaced with laminate (built in place, 35 y.o.) and got new doors and drawers. Kept the old handles and drawer pulls. Great job.
Had old metal tile behind stove which was ugly but very firmly attached. We debated a lot about what to do with it. I love tile, but don't want greasy grout behind stove. Got a piece of plain laminate cut to size and cabinet contractor glued it up for us. Then, got patterned pressed glass cut and tempered. Put it in place with just clear silicone all way around, braced while it set. Got to seal it well so moisture and grease don't get behind it. It would probably be easy to break by putting a pot up against it and getting it too hot. It doesn't get very hot, and we love it. Simple to clean, and light makes the pattern interesting. Could put colored laminate behind another pattern of glass, or use glass that has steel mesh if you like "tech" look. Did I say we love it? The laminate was a second, about $20, and the glass about $60. Glass has a seam, due to pattern running up/down only. Ground the edge and filled with silicone.
Some folks thought we paid a lot, but we have the best of both worlds. New hinges and drawer glides seem very sturdy and good quality. A couple of drawers are a pinch too narrow and don't want to stay on the track. Just installed a couple of washers behind the track to bring it a bit closer.
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