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Important Things To Know About Resurfacing Cabinets

January 13th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

I began to learn the process of re-laminating existing cabinetry many years ago. In this article, I will touch upon some things that I feel are important to know when it comes to resurfacing cabinets. The purpose of this article is to provide a checklist to follow when you are working with your cabinet refacing specialist in your area. If you have decided to recover your cabinets or counters it would be a good idea to review these tips.

  • Tip: It is possible to refurbish kitchen cabinet doors and install them yourself. Remove your existing set of doors, paint the faces of your cabinetry white with Cabinet Rescue, then install new white thermofoil doors. This is an economical alternative to resurfacing a kithcen, vanity or laundry room.

Questions to ask your cabinet or countertop refacing company

Don’t be timid about asking a few important questions. Sometimes people get so caught up in the design process that they forget to ask about the installation process of replacing old Formica with the new Formica.

Cabinet refacing companies that specialize in recovering existing counters or cabinetry should conduct themselves in a manner that does not wreck your life for weeks after the job is finished. Develope a list from this article to review with each cabinetry company you get an estimate from. Please understand, just because a company specializes in Formica restoration, this does not mean they will conduct themselves in a professional manner by doing things properly.

You must ask these questions to ensure that your house is not left in a dusty, smelly mess or damaged in any way.

What will they be covering with plastic or drop cloths?
There are three things to be keenly aware of about the installation process of your new plastic laminate. They are fine dust particles, contact glue spills or over spray and the contact glue solvents or cleaner.

Let’s talk about the dust factor first.
In order for the new plastic laminate to stick to your existing Formica, the installer is going to have to rough up the surface of your cabinetry parts. This is going to create a very fine mist of dust particles floating in the air. The area that is being worked on should be sealed off, furniture and appliances should be covered with plastic or drop cloths. If the installer or company insists upon not covering things, then you will have to do it yourself. Remember somebody is going to have to clean up, a good question to ask is how much are they going to clean after they reface your cabinets?

  • Tip: When your installer routes the laminate, there will be small chunks of mica that fall to the floor. Make sure that the floor pathway that he is traveling on, to get to his work truck or to go outside, is protected. If it is not covered, ask him if he is going to clean the area before he leaves. The little chips will stick to his work shoes and be carried everywhere that he travels throughout your house.

How will they protect floors, walls and appliances from getting contact glue on them?
Lacquer thinner is commonly used to clean contact glue off of Formica. This paint thinner will damage wood floors and painted walls if there is a spill that is to be cleaned up or if the glue gets on the walls or appliances from over spray. Installers should cover wood floors and use some sort of shield when they are spraying contact glue next to walls and appliances. The use of masking tape should be common practice as well.

What other things should I know about the cabinet refacing process

Here are a few more things that are important to understand about the Formica refacing process. Obviously, you should be a good listener. A good cabinet recovering salesman should inform you of many of these details related to the process of covering over your old mica without you having to ask.

Ask them if there are going to be offensive odors?
This may seem like a silly question to some people, but you would be surprised at how many folks really don’t know that the cabinet resurfacing process or Formica countertop refacing methods come with excessive odors. In fact, lacquer thinner is so potent that I have had customers who were completely on the other side of the house smell the chemical when I had only used a small amount. We recommend that you plan on eating out until the air in your homes atmosphere is breathable again.

Tip: It would be a good idea to plan on having the house cleaning person come the following day once the re-lamination work has been completed.

Most importantly, ask if they are using a flammable or non-flammable contact glue.
To review the reason that you should ask, please refer to my article about what kind of glue should be used on loose Formica. There is an explanation in the first paragraph about the two substances.

I think that we have covered the most important questions related to having your cabinets or counters refaced with new Formica. The result of having your kitchen resurfaced or any other cabinetry areas will be good, if you take the necessary precautions in choosing a company to do the cabinet refacing.

The things that I have shared, about recovering your old Formica, were learned from hands on experience. If your sales person shows any signs at all that he doesn’t know about any of the things that I have pointed out in this article, be careful in deciding who you will hire do the mica re-laminating.

Here’s a final tip, you get what you pay for. If you don’t want dust everywhere, glue on your floors, walls or appliances make sure the lowest bidder is going to take professional care in handling your cabinet resurfacing project.

Related Articles:
All About Cabinet Refacing For Kitchens, baths and Laundry Rooms
What Kind Of Glue Should Be Used On Loose Mica

Categories: Cabinet Resurfacing
  1. Susan Robinson
    March 6th, 2009 at 14:23 | #1

    best article I’ve read yet on refacing – great advice and NEW advice that I haven’t read elsewhere. Thanks!

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