Refacing existing cabinet boxes with new wood veneer and new doors and drawer fronts can be a nice way to upgrade a kitchen because there is usually less disruption to the homeowners’ lives than with a more involved kitchen remodel. With refacing, the layout stays mostly the same but gets an updated look.
People sometimes assume refacing their cabinets will save a lot of money compared to buying new cabinets, but costs vary widely depending on the quality of the materials involved and how extensive you want the updates to be. For example, if your drawer boxes and glides need replacement, that is a more involved job than just a new drawer front. Also, if you like the quality and feel of real wood for your new fronts, that will cost more than plastic laminate or thermofoil wrapped doors.
There are a number of reasons why new cabinets may be a better choice if you’re trying to upgrade your kitchen:
For one, many older kitchens may not have as much accessible storage as people have come to expect and appreciate. For example, for the past few years, homeowners have come to prefer large drawers that make storing and accessing things in base cabinets much easier. However, many older homes were built without large drawers, so while replacing doors and drawer fronts on existing cabinets freshens up the look, it doesn’t improve storage.
Similarly, people often prefer the look and storage space available when wall cabinets and crown molding go to the ceiling. If your existing cabinets do not take full advantage of this space, refacing won’t change that.
Most importantly, if there are any layout issues with your current kitchen, it’s worth exploring options to improve the function in the space. It doesn’t make sense to spend good money to spruce up an awkward or poorly functioning kitchen that will still be awkward and poorly functioning. In this case, new cabinets can offer possibilities to improve your kitchen that you may not have even considered.
Refinishing cabinets can be a good option if they are of good quality and you already like the layout. If, as stated above, the storage options are not great or it is a frustrating space to work in, refinishing your cabinets will not solve those problems.
A DIY-minded homeowner can paint or refinish cabinets relatively inexpensively, but having patience and realistic expectations are definitely helpful when approaching this job. Getting a high quality result is a specialized, multi-step process. Excellent finishes are easier to achieve in a dedicated facility, or at least by an experienced professional. Also, if your cabinets are already painted, you should test them to determine whether lead paint is involved. If so, proper precautions should be taken to meet the environmental and health safety requirements.
If you decide to hire professionals for refacing or refinishing your cabinets, make sure you are confident you have chosen a quality company. Do your research, ask questions, get references and be sure you understand what the warranty covers (if there is one). And don’t hesitate to contact a cabinet company if you’d like to see what that option might mean for your budget.
See what John Dean, owner of Dean Cabinetry, has to say about cabinet refacing and refinishing in the video below!