I don't like the metal European kitchen cabinets in our Dover, Delaware, home we purchased, even though they're of excellent quality. As a cabinet refacing idea, I'd like to paint the metal cases and replace the metal doors with wood ones. Are the cabinets strong enough for the weight of wood doors?
Clarise E. ~ Dover, Delaware
Hi Clarise, I'll have to agree with you as I'm not a big fan of metal cabinets either. I have never seen anyone do what you are proposing, but I can't think of any reason why it wouldn't work and depending on the colors you choose it could be very attractive. A lot is going to depend on the metal cabinets that you have. Most of the metal cabinets I have been around are fairly substantial and would have no problem with the weight of wood cabinet doors, but I'm sure there are all levels of metal cabinets.
You mention that the kitchen cabinets are of excellent quality, so I'm assuming they have a hefty feel to them. One concern might be hinge placement as you aren't going to want any exposed holes in the face of your kitchen cabinets. Most cabinet doors are hinged on the inside edge of the cabinet opening, but there are others that are face hinged. You are going to want to purchase wood doors that are set up to be hinged in the same fashion as the existing metal doors.
The same is going to be true with your drawer fronts. Hopefully the metal facing is just screwed onto the drawer assembly and can easily be removed. I would try to find wood drawer fronts that are pretty close in size to your metal fronts.
Repainting your cabinets might be something you should allow a professional painter to do. Painting smooth metal so that you end up with an attractive finish can be difficult, and I almost wonder if the cabinets shouldn't be painted with a spray gun much like body shops paint cars and trucks. It would certainly make it easier to paint the interiors of the metal cabinets and the shelving.
I would try to find some painters in your area to take a look at your kitchen cabinets and give you a price for painting them. Dover, Delaware is a fairly large affluent area and close to a lot of beach towns with older homes, so there should be painters with experience painting kitchen cabinets. It would be even better if you could find a painter with experience painting metal cabinets.
I think on a project like this I would have the painter try one cabinet first to see how it turned out. It would also give you an opportunity to pick up some wood cabinet door samples to compare with the painted cabinet to determine what finish you want on the doors before ordering them.
I think your cabinet refacing idea is a good one, but using a good painter may be critical to it turning out well.