Cabinetry is expensive. Would you replace or reface the existing cabinets?

November 30th, 2016

Replacing cabinets are typically the costliest part of a kitchen remodel so whether to replace or reface the existing cabinets is a question worth pondering. New cabinets may consume nearly 50 percent of your total kitchen renovation budget. If you can’t afford all-new cabinets with the latest storage features and styles you might consider refacing. This can give your kitchen a whole new look at a much lower cost than installing all-new cabinets. It’s quite obvious that with refacing you’ll be spending much less than if you completely replace all of the cabinets. Some of the cabinets built 20 and 30 years ago are more solidly constructed than most modular, prebuilt cabinets of today. So it might be not sensible to start from scratch.

Cabinet refacing is also much more convenient than removing old cabinets and installing new ones. As removal of the appliances is not required, so the kitchen stays functional while the refacing work is underway.

How much money you’ll save by refacing vs. replacing, will depend on the size of your kitchen, the materials you select for refacing and the style of doors you choose.

How refacing changes the look of a home?

Refacing means covering the existing cabinet boxes with a thin veneer (which could be real wood or vinyl) and completely replacing the drawer faces and doors. This will drastically change the look of your kitchen.

Suppose you have builder’s grade cabinets (typically wood with a stain and lacquer) in your kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room – all the same, oak color. You could reface the kitchen cabinets one way, the bathroom, and the laundry room cabinets another way, giving each room a unique look. The change could be delicate or dramatic, depending on your taste.

There are three primary ways to reface cabinets: 1. Paint or refinish existing cabinet and drawer fronts. 2. Install new laminate veneer or wood over existing cabinet and drawer fronts. 3. Install completely new drawer fronts and cabinet doors.


Are there any other cons of refacing cabinets?

Refacing may not be right for every kitchen remodels even with the advantages of cost-savings. You need to keep in mind a number of factors, starting with the “quality” of the current kitchen cabinets before making the decision to reface, rather than replace. If they are not high-quality cabinets, it is better to replace the entire piece.

Find out the age of your kitchen cabinets before embarking on refacing drive don’t spend money to reface products that are truly worn out.

Refacing doesn’t address the issue of a poor kitchen layout. Even after spending money if you end up with a non-functional kitchen, you’ve wasted your money on refacing. Then again, if the existing cabinets are beginning to fall apart, or if the metal cabinets are rusting, or if there are larger structural issues like floors that have settled and left cabinets out of kilter, then you shouldn’t consider refacing.

Another option for homeowners with older cabinets in good condition is to convert their existing cabinets to open shelving by removing the doors altogether. For a thoroughly modern and updated look interior shelves can be removed or reconfigured inside the existing cabinet frames. Open shelving offers an opportunity to refinish interiors in another color from the exterior or add breadboard backs.

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