How to Safely Demolish Cabinets for Refacing

Instructional Video and Written Instructions for your DIY Cabinet Project

If you haven’t already, make sure to take some before pictures! Capture a couple different angles. Remember where you stand so during the after photos, you can take the same angle for better comparison. 


1. Pull Out All Appliances

Usually there are screws in the face or in the sides of the inset appliances which you can find by opening up the door. Appliances with trim kits/plates (such as a microwave) will either have screws or clips. Unscrew or unclip these, pull, and slide out the appliances just enough to slip your 1/4 inch refacing material behind there.

2. Remove Drawer Fronts

Most draw fronts are screwed on. Unscrew the drawer fronts if applicable.

3. Remove Doors

Before removing the doors, remember to mark which side your hinges are mounted on your notes if you haven’t already. This is so when you rehang them, you will remember where they go.

Take off the doors one at a time by unscrewing the hinges from the cabinet box. Set the doors aside and out of the way.

4. Remove Molding

You will be removing all millwork, including crown molding, base molding, and scribes. Use your scraper and pry the molding from the cabinet box. Often times, you will be able to find a gap to slide your scraper into easily. Once you have it loose, you may be able to pull the rest of the way.

Once you release the first miter, you can use a hammer on the cut diagonal edge of other miters and loosen the molding from the cabinet box. It will be easy to just pull the molding off from there.

If there is wall paint attached to the scribe, take your box cutter and cut along the edge where the scribe meets the wall. This is to separate the paint that is connecting the scribe to the wall. This is to prevent the tearing of any paint off the drywall.

Make sure to remove everything, including nails, to safely demolish cabinets for refacing and to prep for sanding.

Remember to mark which side of the opening your cabinet doors will be attached to.

Prepping / Setup

Once the demo has concluded, it is time to start prepping for the reface!

1. Feel the Cabinet Box

Run your hands along the entirety of the cabinet box to make sure that there are no nails or any other obtrusion on the box face. You don’t want to be running into nails or anything when sanding or applying the refacing material.

2. Sanding

Sanding a surface allows for a better bond when you apply a new material to your cabinet box.

Take a high grit piece of sandpaper and apply it to all surfaces that you will be applying the 1/4 inch skin. It does not have to be an extremely thorough sanding process. It needs just enough to create scratches/scoring on the old cabinet face.

3. Clean Up the Demo Space

Do a quick cleanup of the space to safely demolish cabinets for refacing. Remove old doors, molding, nails, and tools you won’t need from the area.

Tools Needed

  • Power Drill
  • Bit Set
  • Hammer
  • Scraper
  • Crowbar
  • Box Cutter
  • Something to pull or break nails with
  • Paper (notes from measurements)
  • Pencil

We recommend a second person to help you safely demolish cabinets for refacing.

Cabinet Refacing Vocabulary

Contact one of our Expert Cabinet Technicians over the phone if you are having any issues. Please give us a call at 1-844-818-3357 to get started with your DIY Project.