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Updating Kitchen Cabinets Q&A

How to add decorative moldings to laminate cabinet doors

Q: All the cabinets in our house are plain white laminate. Is there a way to add decorative moldings to spruce them up?

A: You can add moldings to laminate cabinet doors, but getting the moldings to seem integrated into the cabinets will be the key to success. Typically, attached moldings are glued in place, then caulked to hide the gap between the surface and molding, and finally primed and painted.

A typical process could go as follows:

1. Prime laminate cabinet doors using primer mixed with a bonding agent.

2. Prime molding pieces and attach to doors with adhesive and nails (if using heavy trim pieces).

3. Caulk the gaps.

4. Finish with two coats of paint.

Often paint won't stick well to laminate, so be sure to ask a paint professional or at a home center about the proper paint and process for the exact type of laminate used on your cabinets. You may decide that the end result doesn't warrant the cost and work involved.

If moldings don't appeal to you, consider refacing your kitchen cabinets. It will cost less than new cabinets, take less time to install, and revive usable cabinet boxes. Plus, with plenty of door options available, you won't have to sacrifice style.

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