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Kitchen Cabinet Remodeling - Ideas and Estimates

Kitchen Cabinets: Buyer Beware

by Miriam Kasdan
KitchensAndCabinets.com Columnist

When checking out the work of a kitchen cabinet refacer, ask to see examples of their work before you sign a contract. Check out corners, edges, and where stiles and edges meet on the face frame. The intersections should be crisp. The direction of the grain should match, like any wood cabinet. Be sure that the inside edges of the face frames have also been faced. Remember that a kitchen cabinet refacing job done badly looks very bad indeed.

Dealing with Lead Paint

If your kitchen cabinets were painted before 1978, chances are the paint contains lead. Refacers are required to take special precautions when working in this environment. Federal law also requires them to give you, the homeowner, a brochure called Protect Your Family from Lead in the Home.

New adhesives are being developed so refacers dont have to sand. But until they are available, beware of contractors who dont seem knowledgeable or are cavalier about dealing with this potentially harmful substance. One New York contractor has sent its employees to HUD-sponsored seminars to learn how to safely remove lead paint. The key is to keep surfaces moist to reduce dust, seal the kitchen with plastic, and have workers wear respirators. HEPA vacuums should be used, as they dont exhaust lead dust. Remodelers deal with the lead paint issue by covering lead-based kitchen cabinets with composite board. Its glued to the old surface, and refacing is installed on top of that.

About the Author
Miriam Kasdan has been writing and editing marketing and technical materials for almost 20 years, and specializes in home-improvement features.