Pro Tips And Tricks: How To Fix Fake Wood Cabinets?




Did you know that the majority of the world’s population is using fake wood furniture? Actually, this is because of the advantages like affordability, durability, and resistance to moisture. But would you like to spend money to fix them or replace them?

Actually, I don’t. I mean, when I buy something because of its low maintenance and affordability, why would I invest in it to fix it when I can do it by myself? Yes, this is possible!

I am even a professional and I have fixed my fake wood cabinets on my own and the result was amazing. To help you learn how to fix fake wood cabinets, I am sharing the professionals’ tips and tricks with you all.

How To Fix Fake Wood Cabinets

Fix Fake Wood Cabinets

Actually, fake wood cabinets are made of alternative wood materials that are durable, affordable, and high-quality. However, you can fix fake wood cabinets by reattaching the peeling cover, refinishing it, filling the cracks or holes, dents, and scratches, and replacing the water-damaged parts.

Wait before you rush to run the process because I have a detailed discussion of the entire process ahead. Let’s dive deeper into it.

An overview of the project-

Estimated CostEstimated DurationSkill Level
$100024 hoursBeginner

Some main facts-

  • Fake wood furniture is made of particle boards, plywood, MDF, etc, and then covered with laminate, veneer, and thermofoil.
  • Fake wood cabinets are also known as faux cabinets.
  • Matching the color when repairing and finishing with the surrounding area is important to keep the beauty of the cabinets.

What Is Actually A Fake Wood Cabinet?

‘Fake wood cabinet!’ I know you may also have one. However, at some point or another, this question pokes in everyone’s mind what is a fake wood cabinet and how is it made?

You can’t deny but this question may also poke you once in your life! I know, it did!

Well, I think, before knowing how to fix fake wood furniture, it would be better if you get to know what is this fake wood furniture and how it is made.

It still made me laugh! Long ago, after getting some fake wood kitchen cabinets, I was actually wondering if it is possible to make furniture with fake wood, and I wasn’t an expert at that time. I mean, I was really confused about what this ‘Fake Wood’ is.

To be very honest, I am really a curious person, and if something is on my mind, I try my best level to find out the answer to the question. So yes, I found out what this fake wood is.

Actually, fake wood cabinets are also called faux wood cabinets. Basically, fake wood cabinets are made to look like real wood cabinets, and these are designed to copy the appearance of real wood cabinets without using any kind of solid wood.

I know, a question might be arising in your mind. So the question is, then, what is it made of?

Okay! Actually, fake wood cabinets are made of these materials or wood products-

  • Particle Board
  • MDF (Medium-Density Fiberboard
  • Plywood

And then they basically get covered with a standard laminate, veneer, or thermofoil, and therefore, they actually look like real wood cabinets or, furniture.

Also, this is the reason fake wood cabinets are often called laminate cabinets, or veneer cabinets. Thermofoil cabinets are also fake wood cabinets.

Well, shared a lot about fake wood furniture, and you might be clear about fake wood cabinets. And the fake wood gets damaged too often.

Types Of Damages That Can Be Appeared In Fake Wood Cabinets

The beauty of laminate cabinets or fake wood furniture lies in their flawless, smooth, and damageless condition. But over time, because of daily wear and tear or using them roughly, they can get damaged and lose their beauty.

But do you know what kind of damage can appear in fake wood cabinets? How to update fake wood cabinets? Or even is it possible to fix the damage?

Well, I am happy to inform you that, you can actually repair most of the damages that appear in fake wood cabinets.

Types Of Damages That Can Be Appeared In Fake Wood Cabinets

But if the damage is beyond repair with the techniques of professional repairs, you may need to hire a cabinet maker or try professional cabinet refacing.

But before you dive into the thought of repairing damaged fake wood cabinets, let me inform you of the types of damages that can appear in a fake wood cabinet.

As I have already told you I am a professional, I have experience in fixing almost all kinds of damage in fake wood cabinets. Such as-

  • Peeling or chipping (Can be caused by daily wear and tears)
  • Cracks Or Gouges (Can appear if any heavy objects fall anywhere on the entire surface)
  • Dents (Can be seen if any heavy weighted items on the surface)
  • Surface scratches (Can be caused by dragging objects across the flat surface of the cabinets or dragging any sharp objects on the cabinet doors or drawer fronts)
  • Water damage (Can be caused by liquids or spills)
  • Fading or discoloration (Can be caused by spills, direct sunlight, and humidity)

Now that you already know about the damages that can appear, how about moving forward to the next step, which is the process and techniques of fixing fake wood cabinets?

How To Fix Fake Wood Cabinets: The Expert Guidelines

To be honest, fixing the damages of fake wood cabinets is kind of tricky but not challenging or hard. Yes, I can assure you that as an expert.

I am gonna share the easiest DIY techniques to fix your fake wood cabinets. Of course, you heard it right!

So, without wasting any more time, let’s explore the methods so that you can fix your fake wood cabinets on your own perfectly.

How To Fix Fake Wood Cabinets

Prepare The Work Area

The perfect thing to start the process with is to prepare the area. You heard it right. Try to keep the area free and empty. Keep enough space to move freely during the process.

Now, spread paper towels or newspapers around the work area to avoid any kind of mess. Get yourself ready to start the process. Have enough patience, stay attentive, and be careful. Now, let’s move forward to the next step!

Prepare The Cabinets

You are getting close to the fixing process. Before you move forward, it is your turn to prepare the cabinet, which means removing all the removable parts of the cabinet and removing all the objects from the cabinets.

Remove the drawers of the cabinets. Remove all the objects from the cabinet that are inside. Make the cabinet empty properly for smooth fake wood or laminate cabinet repairs and clean them using a soft cloth properly.

Assess The Damage

Now the most important part of the process, assessing the damage of the cabinets.

Remember you need to inspect the cabinets properly to fix the cabinet perfectly. This is undoubtedly important for you.

Inspect the fake wood or laminate cabinet doors, cabinet boxes, cabinet frames, drawer fronts, and the entire surface of the cabinets. This is because your cabinets can also be damaged from the inside.

Check if your cabinets are wobbling or not because this is a good chance to fix the wobbly cabinets and add bun feet to the kitchen cabinets to stabilize them.

If you want to add depth to the kitchen cabinets, you need to check the cabinet box and create a new cabinet layout to match the cabinet frames.

Repair Peeled And Chipped Area

Now, the steps you were eagerly waiting for, start the repairing process. Excited? Let’s end your wait here.

First thing I would suggest you fix the peeled and chipped area. No worries, I am sharing the easiest methods for you.

If the laminate or veneer is peeling or chipping, there are two very simple solutions available for you, one is to use wood glue and another is to use a laminate repair kit that contains a resin or epoxy filler and hardener.

Normally collect the laminate strips, and mix the resin and hardener together or apply wood glue. You need to make a smooth paste. Now apply this to the damaged area and attach the laminate splits to the underlying surface.

Let it dry properly. Now sand down the repaired area with 150-grit sandpaper smoothly. Following the wood grain is a better solution to achieve a smooth surface.

Clean the entire surface with a soft clean cloth and remove all the dust and debris from the surface.

Basically, this process is also appropriate for repairing chipped laminate table tops. To be honest, if you have any broken parts, this is a good time to fix the broken cabinets.

But if the condition of the cover is worse and beyond repair, you definitely need to replace the cover with veneer or laminate. In this case, you need to use contact cement.

Want the best solution? No need to be worried, dear. I have the solution for you.

You need to get a brush or roller for this. Apply the contact cement using a roller or brush. Make sure the layer is thin. You need to apply the contact cement on the underlying surface and on the laminate or veneer as well.

Now, let it dry. Dried completely? Now, place the laminate or veneer accordingly and press it down firmly. Why is that so? Well, it will assure you the perfect adhesion.

Trim or cut the access from the cabinets, and here you are done.

Repair The Cracks, Gauge, And Scratches

It is normal to get cracks, Gouges, or scratches in your fake wood cabinets. Do you have these on your kitchen cabinets, too? Don’t be worried, I have the solution for you.

You can use wood filler from the repair kit. Apply the wood filler with a putty knife to fill the damaged areas. Now, using 150-grit sandpaper sand down the areas lightly in order to get a smooth surface. For some minor and small scratches sanding might be enough.

Now you need to run a paint job to refinish the cabinets for a durable finish.

You can easily refinish wood cabinets but can you refinish fake wood cabinets?

This is a very common question that pokes everyone’s mind. Well, you can.

However, how do you refinish fake wood cabinets? Reading ahead I will unravel the answer for you.

Fasten your seat tight and keep reading to learn about the refinishing process.

Repair The Dents On The Cabinets

I have three solutions for you to deal with the dents on the fake wood cabinets.

  1. Using heat and moisture
  2. Fill the dents with wood filler
  3. Replace the damaged areas

Actually, the replacement of the damaged area and filling the dents with filler is exactly the same as I have mentioned above.

Therefore, instead of repeating the same process, let me share how to fix the dents with heat and moisture. Sounds good, right?

Actually, I am recommending you apply heat and moisture for small dents. You can apply heat and moisture using an iron. It will expand the compressed fibers and restore the surface.

Firstly, you need to put the damp cloth on the damaged parts and then, put a hot iron on the cloth, and apply heat for a few seconds.

The heat and steam will help to swell the compressed fibers and reduce the appearance of the dents.

Fix The Water-Damaged Area

It is absolutely normal to notice water damage in fake wood cabinets while you are using the cabinets in the kitchen. But fixing them is kind of hard.

You will need to detach the laminate or veneer from the cabinets to check the underlying surface. In this case, you may need to replace the damaged parts.

But if the color of the cabinets is gone or faded and looks really dull and old, refinishing is the best choice.

I know you are throwing a question at me!

How to refinish fake wood cabinets?

The next step is for you.

Refinish The Cabinets

One thing I must tell you is that refinishing the fake wood cabinets is really easy. No, this is actually easy! You heard me right.

First sand the entire surface and cabinet doors lightly. Now, clean the cabinet with a soft cloth and remove the dust and debris.

It’s your turn to refinish the cabinets. Remember, match the color of the finish to refinish the cabinet. It will increase the beauty of the fake wood or laminate cabinets.

You need to use a paintbrush or roller to apply the finish. But before applying any finish try to use primer so that the finish can be set properly.

Let it dry properly before you start using the cabinets. Try to use these paints as they stick to the fake wood perfectly-

  • Latex paint
  • Chalk paint
  • Oil-based paint
  • Adhesive-promoting paint
  • Spray paint

I can assure you that by following these steps you can definitely achieve the best result so far. What are you waiting for? Start the process and enjoy the best outcome.

How Do I Match The Repaired Area With The Surrounding Surface?

While replacing or repairing the damaged laminate parts or refinishing the cabinets, matching the color of the filler, laminate splits, or paint with the surrounding area is really important.

Yes, it is. Do not even try to pick any color randomly. It will ruin all the beauty of your laminate cabinets. However, to keep the beauty the same, you need to match the color perfectly without making any mistakes.

Well, I know as a newbie it is tough to understand how to match the color. But as an expert, I am sharing the ways I apply to match the color with the surrounding area.

Most of the time, I actually take the laminate strip with me and match the color with the chosen products. Either I try to pick the exact color, or I pick the color that is close enough if the same color is not available.

How Do I Match The Repaired Area With The Surrounding Surface

Another way I apply is to mix different colors to get the expected color. Well, this may sound crazy but this is really an effective way to match the color.

Here is another similar and easy way to get a matched color, take any broken part of the cabinets and match it to the right color.

Now the last technique, change the color of the cabinets. If you want to change the color of the cabinets or any of the techniques are not working, you can try this. Just get the appropriate finish and filler of your chosen color and apply them to get new looks for the cabinets.

Tricks To Prevent Future Damage To Fake Wood Cabinets

As an expert, I would like to give you a piece of advice. Wanna know what is that? ‘Maintain your fake wood cabinets to prevent future damage.’

Anyway, I will not only advise you, but I would also like to share some tricks with you to prevent future damage. Are you excited to know that? Let’s break your wait now.

Tricks To Prevent Future Damage To Fake Wood Cabinets
  • Regularly clean the fake wood cabinets using a non-abrasive cleaner and be gentle all the time.
  • Always handle the cabinets gently. Don’t be rough when closing the doors and drawers.
  • Do not chop anything directly into the cabinet surfaces, it will leave scratches.
  • Avoid placing heavy objects like heavy coffee makers on the surface as it can cause dents.
  • Do not place any sharp objects on the cabinets.
  • Do not drag or pass any objects across the surface.
  • Wipe off the liquid or spills immediately to avoid getting stains or discoloration.
  • Try to use coasters, trivets, or placemats before placing any hot objects directly on the surface.
  • Avoid placing the cabinets directly in the sunlight as the humidity level is important to keep the cabinets safe.
  • Try to inspect the cabinets often to find out if there is any damage so that you can fix it immediately.


Can I Use DIY Solutions For Fake Wood Cabinet Repair?

Of course, you can use DIY solutions for fake wood cabinet repair if you know the techniques and follow them properly.

Can Laminate Cabinets Be Repaired?

The laminate cabinet definitely can be repaired. Anyway, fake wood cabinets are also known as laminate cabinets. Laminate is basically the cover of fake wood furniture.

What Paint Will Stick To Fake Wood?

Latex paint, chalk paint, oil-based paint, adhesive-promoting paint, and spray paint will stick to the fake wood perfectly.

Can Fake Wood Cabinets Be Restored To Their Original Condition?

Actually, the fake wood cabinets obviously can be restored to their original condition properly. You just need to follow the proper guidelines for that.

Final Thought

How to fix fake wood cabinets? Well, reading this long you may get that this is not that hard. Actually, if you know the right DIY techniques, getting a result like a pro is not an impossible thing.

Hopefully, following the guidelines I have shared with you, you can easily get the best outcome and I can assure you that.

But here is a piece of advice for you, be patient, careful, and attentive when running this process. This is really necessary for the expected result.

If you are interested in learning more things like this, stay with- Restore Journey.

Richard Journey

Written by

Richard Journey

Meet Richard Journey, the Antique Furniture Maestro. With a Fine Arts degree in Furniture Restoration and Conservation, he’s a guardian of historical craftsmanship. His accolades include the Golden Chisel Award, and he’s your guide to discovering and restoring antique treasures.

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