How to Reface Melamine Cabinets

Lead Image
  • 5-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 500-1,500
What You'll Need
Cleaning cloth
Cleaning liquid
Utility knife

In the past, there were a great many melamine cabinets installed in homes and businesses. If you go into most local authority offices, you will probably be able to spot the same kind of white melamine cabinets that were once popular in kitchens. The plastic resin cabinets were seen as a cheap and durable alternative to solid wooden cabinets, but over time, they can start to look unattractive and old.

In order to give your melamine cabinets a new lease of life, you should consider adding a new face to your cabinets. Consider using Formica laminate. Refacing your cabinets can be done quickly and easily without having to spend a lot of money on expensive cabinet replacement.

Clean Thoroughly

Before you start any work on your melamine cabinets, begin with a brisk wash. Use an everyday cleaning fluid, and wipe it over the surfaces with a damp sponge. You should take careful note of any cracks, lumps, or other damage in the wood which may prevent you from getting into a good position, but you should also take care that you don't make the surface of the material too damp. Give the surfaces a good clean, and then leave them to dry naturally before proceeding with the installation.

Sand Down the Cabinets

The next step is to sand down your cabinets so that they are slightly rough, but without any serious chips. You need to have the surfaces slightly rough in order to get a good grip for your contact cement, but you also don't want any serious bumps which could penetrate the surface of the Formica laminate. A good compromise is to use something like a delta sander, as these can remove imperfections without gouging out the cabinets while sanding is being done.

Cut The Formica

You now need to measure the Formica, so that you get the right length for your cabinets. The Formica should be cut so that it covers the entire door or side, plus an inch all the way around to cover the edges. Cut out your Formica using a craft knife, and repeat this for as many pieces as you need.

Apply the Formica

Using your brush, apply an inch or so of contact cement to the back of your Formica strip. Leave the cement to partially dry, returning in about 10 minutes. Hold it at a straight angle, and then press it onto your cabinet, laying all of the sheets down at once.

Using a laminate roller, even out any lumps or air bubbles in the laminate before pressing it down firmly. You should be able to tell if the laminate is stuck to your melamine cabinets. Use your utility knife to cut off any excess Formica from the edges, and hold it firmly while the cement dries.