A Guide to Refacing your Cabinets

If the time has come to replace your cabinets, you might want to consider instead refacing your cabinets. Refacing your cabinets can give your kitchen a fresh new look.

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If you’re remodeling your kitchen and thinking about replacing all your cabinets, you may not need to go to the trouble. One option is to reface your cabinets. With refacing cabinets, you can achieve a beautiful new kitchen while spending half the amount of money. You will be giving your cabinets a well-deserved face-lift.

Wood Cabinets

Everything You Need to Know About the Refacing Process

In the refacing process, existing doors, drawer fronts and hardware are removed and replaced with new ones. For cabinet doors, a wide variety of veneers and laminates are available to cover old surfaces. Other noticeable surfaces such as cabinet ends and frames are finished to match. In addition, cabinet interiors are either refinished or repainted. You’ll also be glad to know that cabinet refacing is available in a variety of styles, materials and colors.

Neither the kitchen layout nor the amount of space available is affected by refaced cabinets. Doors, drawer fronts, and hardware are refaced and then put right back into their previous place, leaving your current arrangement untouched. A beautiful new look will be created, but you will still be standing in the same kitchen. If you are looking for a more drastic change, consider installing a few new cabinets to alter the look. Also, new pull out or swivel shelves can be installed to enhance the appearance and feel.

Finding the Right Contractor

One of the most important factors in refacing your cabinets is that you find a licensed contractor. Getting a contractor that is licensed and bonded means that you will receive quality work without the hassles of hiring an unqualified contractor. Make sure you shop around and get multiple quotes. Contractors typically have different rates depending on the number of employees that will be working on your project. By getting multiple bids you can lower your cost and find the perfect contractor for you.

Not only does refacing cabinets improve the overall look of your kitchen, but it increases the durability of them. It also helps protect and lengthen the life of your existing cabinetry, adding overall worth to your home.

Adding Value to your Property

Kitchens are one of the most popular rooms in the home and the type of room where remodeling can add value to your property. House flippers will focus a large portion of their budget on the kitchen as it is the biggest draw for house shoppers. What if your kitchen needs a face lift but you don’t have the major budget of a seasoned house flipper? You can benefit from a strong first impression by simply refacing your kitchen cabinets. Essentially this process requires a redo of the front faces of the cabinets and the hardware, and includes the doors, drawer fronts, cabinet handles and the cabinet body fronts.

Getting the Paint Job Done

One of the most common methods (and one of the cheapest) is to repaint all cabinet surfaces and doors. This process doesn’t have to be a time consuming; usually you can accomplish the entire job in two or three days. However, it does make a bit of a mess, so it’s advised that you do all the door and drawer painting outside or in a well-ventilated area of your home.  For the cabinet body fronts, you’ll paint them where they stand – put up plastic sheeting over the doorways to prevent excess paint and fumes from leaking into other rooms of your house.

The other most popular method is to simply replace all the doors, drawers and hardware while leaving the cabinet bodies in place and either painting or refinishing those. This method allows you the fun and freedom of shopping for new cabinet doors but also saving hundreds or thousands of dollars over the price of entirely new cabinets.

White Cabinets

Getting Crafty

Cabinet refacing also allows you much creative freedom. Crafty individuals will often cut out the middle section of cabinet doors and replace them with all sorts of materials including punched copper, shiny objects between panes of glass, or even dried food materials in colorful arrangements. Simply using glass insets will provide a more open space visually but be sure you’re on the neat side as visitors will see the entire contents of your cabinets.

Before starting your cabinet refacing project, check out various kitchen remodeling photos online and in your local home improvement stores. They will have hundreds of great ideas to suit any budget. Most of all, have fun and enjoy the process.

Positive Results From Refacing Your Cabinets

The follow lists detail the benefits of refacing your cabinets, some cautions, and positive results.

  • Costs less than cabinet replacement
  • Fresh, new look for your cabinets
  • More pleasant or up-to-date environment
  • Possibly interior functional features for extra cost
  • More appealing to potential home buyers

Refacing Cautions

  • Same old traffic, workspace and storage problems have not been improved upon.
  • Future decision to do the complete job and make floor plan improvements would mean replacing the countertop and sink a second time. The same goes for floor coverings and wallpaper.
  • No opportunity to enhance the kitchen with specialty cabinets like dish or wine rack, etc.
  • Interior of cabinet remains the same, as does interior maintenance
  • Warranty is for new products only. Basic cabinets are not covered

Positive Results You Can Expect by Replacing Your Cabinets

  • The opportunity to improve the traffic, work patterns and storage space in your floorplan
  • One time sink and countertop replacement. A few years after refacing, you decide to tackle the entire kitchen and make general improvements; countertops and sink cannot be re-installed on new cabinets
  • Stronger, more durable cabinets throughout
  • Solid wood face frames, not veneer applied to the surface
  • The possibility of enhancing the beauty of the kitchen by adding specialty cabinets such as a wine rack or display cabinet
  • Light, attractive easy to clean interiors
  • Warranty on the entire cabinet, not just the doors and drawers

Wood Cabinets Kitchen

The Most Trusted Advice

The price difference between refacing and replacing may be minimal when the overall value is considered. Replacing cabinets does dictate the replacement of countertops, sink, built-in appliances and likely floor covering. The additional cost for completely new cabinets compared to refaced old cabinets may be quite small. In some instances, the difference is as little as 10% – be sure to be wise when making shopping decisions.


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