How can I update wood veneer cabinets that are peeling?

Robin Kanis
by Robin Kanis
Our golden oak veneered kitchen cabinet doors are peeling. We'd like to sell our house and need to find an inexpensive way to repair and update the look of the kitchen. All of our appliances are now stainless steel. You can see on the pictures that the wood is grooved to give a wainscoting effect. We have gotten refacing estimates, but have found them to be much too expensive for us at this time.
Upper cabinet door. Slats actually run vertically.
Sink cabinet front panel.
  10 answers
  • Sandra Crosbie Sandra Crosbie on Jun 04, 2017

    Maybe strip off the veneer, then stain or paint the cabinets. Take a photo further back to show how they look, it might be easier to get ideas from a larger photo.

  • Sherrie Sherrie on Jun 04, 2017

    I would also peel the venner off, sand, stain and seal.

  • C C on Jun 04, 2017

    Thank you Hillela .

    If your cabinets are particle board with veneer over the top, it won't work to strip the veneer off and paint. They just won't look like good cabinets. Repairing them is the way to go. I went to the step by step site you listed and copied the info to save incase I should need it sometime in the future.

    Again, Thanks. Great answer

  • Claire Amirault Claire Amirault on Jun 04, 2017

    Stripping off that type of veneer is nearly impossible, and underneath you will find junk wood that will never look good. We had our cupboards resurfaced at Home Depot recently for a little over $2,000. They replaced the doors and used existing cupboards, went from wood finish to white. Beautiful. Worth it if you're going to sell. The kitchen is the most important feature...

  • Patricia Patricia on Jun 04, 2017

    Use wood glue to re-adhere the veneer then clamp or tape in place until it's completely dry. If you want to update the kitchen further you could paint the cabinetry in a neutral color that compliments the current flooring and counter tops. The details of your cabinets will look fantastic once they are painted. General Finishes Milk Paint is lovely to work with for cabinetry.

  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Jun 04, 2017

    I'd use Gorilla Glue to reattach them for now. Sand, prime then paint or restain until your budget allows for new cabinets. OR , remove the doors completely for a new look. Then sand, prime & paint. It would be a wonderful opportunity to change up your kitchen for little money. Best of luck.

  • Zoe Emiko Zoe Emiko on Jun 04, 2017

    Have you considered removing the center portion of the doors and replacing with glass?

  • GBK GBK on Jun 04, 2017

    Just take it all off using the "wet towel" method, place wet towels on it until it's ready to come off easily. Then prime with Bullseye 1-2-3 and paint. Easy-peasey.

  • GBK GBK on Jun 04, 2017

    You might be able to make a center raised panel using Luan, those really thin sheets of plywood. They are maybe 1/8th of an inch thick, and cost about $13 for a 4 x 8 sheet at Home Depot. Just use Liquid Nails to attach them. Then prime and paint.