How to Reface Your Cabinets With Wood Skins

Instructional Video and Written Instructions for your DIY Cabinet Project

Tools Needed

  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Notes and Measurements from previous steps
  • Wood Glue (We recommend Gorilla Wood Glue)
  • 23 Gauge Micro Pin Nailer
  • Small Compressor (120 PSI)
  • 3/4 inch Pin Nails
  • Table Saw
  • Miter Saw
  • Puddy Knife (for prying)

Before you reface your cabinets using wood skins, check your cabinets once more. Demo down to just the cabinet box and remove all nails. The exact order to do this depends on your cabinet setup but on average it should go similarly as shown in the video.

We are willing to work with you over the phone to get proper measurements necessary and to order doors! Please give us a call at 1-844-818-3357 to get started with your DIY Project.

Refacing Cabinet Face Frame Stiles using 1/4 Inch Skinning Material

Traditionally, the face frame is built on the front of the cabinet box and looks a bit like a picture frame. The rails (horizontal) and stiles (vertical) form a face frame from which the cabinet doors attach.

The stiles will be long pieces reaching from the top to the bottom of the cabinet face. After, you will install the rails to fit between them.

Once the piece has been cut to size, apply wood glue generously to the back of the skin in a zig-zag wave pattern. Adhere the skin to the cabinet face, making sure visible edges (those that will not be covered up by molding) are flush.

Place face nails along the entirety of the edge of the stile that will be covered up by the molding. To Toenail in construction is to drive a nail at an angle through multiple boards for better stability. Toenail at a 45° angle along the inner edge of the 1/4 inch skin and the stile of the cabinet box. It is better to go at a shallower angle than a sharper one because you want to make sure the pin nail goes through both pieces.

Apply cabinet face skins outside to inside. Outer stiles first, then outer rails, then inner stiles, and finally inner rails.

Refacing Cabinet Side Panels using 1/4 Inch Skinning Material

It’s time to reface your cabinets! You will cover the sides of the cabinet box with large pieces of 1/4 inch skinning material. It is very important to get accurate measurements so we recommend drawing a picture of all the angles on the panel and write down all measurements.

Depending on the side panel, you may want to install the scribe edge first.This will later be reinstalled once the crown is up.

Any area that will be covered by molding has some leeway in measurements. Measure each edge of each measurement (one at the top, one at the bottom). Use your best judgment on choosing the cut you will settle with.

Use the fresh cut edge that is going up against your scribe and against your countertop, if applicable so your clean edges that you just cut will be where they are most visible. After cutting, place the cut panel in location and make sure everything fits snug. Any part that will be covered by molding or corner edges, make sure there is no less than 1/4 inch gap at any point.

Take it back down and apply wood glue to the back of the 1/4 inch skin panel. As long as you have good glue coverage, there is no need to spread the glue out. Ease it back into place and punch a couple pin nails along the bottom edge. Then, work around the back edges. Keep nails less than 1/4 inch of edge to be able to cover them with molding or corner edge later.

If you have a scribe, pry it off with the puddy knife. Double check and make sure the side panel is not coming up anywhere and toenail at a 45° angle along the inner edge of the 1/4 inch skin to the cabinet box.

Refacing Cabinet Face Frame Rails using 1/4 Inch Skinning Material

When cutting the rails, make sure to cut long because you will want a perfect fit. Hold the rail up to where you will attach it. Mark a line with a pencil where you need to trim. Do a new cut using that pencil line as the guide. If the rails are slightly inset, shim out the side with little pieces of edge band.

Once you cut the piece size, apply wood glue generously to the back of the 1/4 inch skin in a zig-zag wave pattern. Press the 1/4 inch skin to the cabinet face and make sure visible edges are flush.

Place face nails along the entirety of the edge of the rails at the stiles and shims. If there is nothing to cover up the nails you’re using, only use toenails. Toenail at a 45° angle along the inner edge of the 1/4 inch skin and the rail of the cabinet box.