How to Remove Kitchen Cabinet Refacing


The easiest way to revamp the look and feel of your kitchen is to reface the cabinetry. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on new cabinets, save big simply by transforming the surface of your old ones. Refacing is easily accomplished by even the most novice do-it-yourselfer. It's not always necessary to remove preexisting cabinet facing to install new veneers, but this, too, is a simple project.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • Pry bar
  • Dish towel
  • Hammer
  • Sandpaper
  • Remove cabinet doors and drawers using a screwdriver. Whether you need a Phillips-head or a flat-head screwdriver depends on the hardware you have on your cabinets. Put the screwdriver into each screw head and twist counterclockwise to loosen and remove the screws. Place hinges and other hardware in a safe place.

  • Begin on an exposed side of the cabinet. Use a small pry bar to lift up edges of the plywood facing. Use a hammer to gently tap the end of the pry bar to aid in lifting. Underneath, you will either see carpenter's glue or a sticky residue from self-adhering veneers.

  • Pry the plywood facing from sides, rails and stiles of the cabinets. Rails are the horizontal pieces of facing that extend along the top and bottom of the cabinets. Stiles extend vertically from the bottom to the top. Combined, the rails and stiles form the rectangular shape surrounding the cabinet opening.

  • Dispose of old facing. Clean up dust and dirt with a damp dish towel.

  • Sand the cabinets with sandpaper to smooth the cabinet surface. Rub vigorously to remove any adhesive residue.

Tips & Warnings

  • Match doors and drawers to the original cabinetry found underneath the facing for a cohesive design.
  • Keep tools away from children.

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  • Photo Credit kitchen image by Rich Johnson from
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