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The ReStoration Corner

Kitchen Remodel 101: Save Big with Used Kitchen Cabinets

Posted by ReStore Staff on Oct 16, 2017 8:29:19 AM

Remodeling your home can be a fun way to customize your space, but it can also be expensive. As DIY television shows and networks increase in popularity, so does thrifting, reusing and repurposing. Try a unique approach to your next home project by purchasing gently-used instead of new materials to lower the cost, especially in your kitchen. Used kitchen cabinets can make your next kitchen remodel substantially more affordable.

Not sure what to look for? These four tips can help you find the right used cabinets and make them your own.

Begin by taking careful measurements

Psyche yourself into this project right from the start by remembering that kitchen cabinets are like bookcases – only they're nailed to a wall. That's all they are: boxes on a wall. So if you've measured the height and width of a wall to ensure you purchase the right-sized bookcase, you can surely measure the height and width of the walls on which your kitchen cabinets will hang.

Draw a diagram of your kitchen and write the measurements of the cabinets already in place, as well as the appliances. Take the measurements again to double-check your numbers. Then take a picture of each wall to accompany the diagram. Take these two crucial pieces of information with you to your favorite home improvement store.

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Determine your quality standards

Generally speaking, you will have a choice of three types of cabinets: solid wood, plywood and pressboard. Solid wood will be the most expensive, but it makes for the sturdiest “box,” too. Plywood is a mid-grade choice, enhanced sometimes by a veneer finish. Pressboard is the lowest quality – almost bendable by someone with a strong grip.

Pressboard often expands when it becomes wet, making it a less than an ideal choice for a kitchen (or laundry room or garage, for that matter, if this is where you plan to make the most of used kitchen cabinets). Inspect the drawers carefully, too. Dovetail joints are the strongest, made from interlocking channels that are cut in the wood. Pinned rabbet joints are a fine alternative.

Use your imagination – and expect to paint or stain

ACPhoto_JRCWP_20101004_490.jpgYou might find used kitchen cabinets in great condition – virtually ready to hang on the wall. More likely, though, they will require some restoration work. Used kitchen cabinets usually must be cleaned, sanded, patched and primed before you apply at least two coats of paint or stain. Try to consider any scuffs, scrapes and dings a good thing; after sanding them away and patching them, you will begin with a blank slate that will allow you to create a signature look – and with a stain or paint color that will best complement your kitchen.

So look beyond those minor imperfections and focus instead on the style of the cabinet door itself. Inlays and trim are opportunities, too – allowing you to add accent colors that would not be achievable on new kitchen cabinets. Close your eyes at your favorite home improvement store and unleash your imagination: how will the slightly worn, used kitchen cabinets with the faded mahogany stain sitting before you look once they're transformed with, say, a few coats of gleaming ivory paint? If you take your time with this project, the answer should be “fantastic.”

WATCH NOW: Tips on Boosting the Appearance of Your Kitchen Cabinet Doors [VIDEO]

Personalize used kitchen cabinets with hardware

P1630746.jpgUp until now, you've probably given little thought to the knobs and pulls on your doors and drawers; they've been chosen for you. In this case, you're in store for a pleasant surprise when you see the choices available to you. Choose a simple “button” knob, if you like. But think about adding long, sleek handles – or even those in the shape of utensils. As arguably the most underrated feature of kitchen cabinets, hardware can positively transform the look of a kitchen – and infuse it with personality, too.

Revitalizing used kitchen cabinets is one of the most rewarding DIY projects you can undertake – saving you thousands of dollars while allowing you to achieve a look that belongs to you and you alone. The experienced team at Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity ReStore is eager to assist your best efforts – and help you add up the savings up and down your balance sheet.
 
DIY Project Instructions

Topics: DIY, Kitchen Cabinets