When to Replace and When to Reface Kitchen Cabinet Doors

(guest post by Kevin Morse)

Ready to update and remodel a room in your home? If you are like many homeowners, your kitchen is at the top of the list.

While a kitchen update may be the perfect project for you to take on over the coming months, what’s standing between you and your dream kitchen may be your budget. Kitchen updates can quickly escalate into the tens of thousands of dollars. Where do you cut back? Where do you spend? A lot of difficult choices must be made.

Yet for every choice in front of you lies many different options and opportunities. With today’s technology, it’s easy to have it all and create the kitchen of your dreams on any budget.

When it comes to the final look and feel of your kitchen, your kitchen cabinets will be one of your biggest decisions. New cabinets can take up nearly 50 percent of your total kitchen renovation budget. So how can you have everything you want and keep the costs low? The answer may be easier than you think.

For some homeowners, they may enter a kitchen remodeling project with the intention of replacing the cabinets. But if your kitchen has good bones, good structure, and you intend to leave the floor plan virtually unchanged, there may be another alternative.

Refacing Your Kitchen Cabinets

Closeup of Woman Holding Paint Brush and Painting Kitchen Cabinets
Image credit: http://www.pixabay.com

Refacing your kitchen cabinets may be an option if you have quality cabinets already in place, yet desire an updated look, color or pattern. When homeowners today choose refacing their kitchen cabinets, they usually do so in one of three ways:

  1. If the kitchen cabinets have a solid structure and a good design, then refinishing them with a new stain or painting the existing cabinet doors with a new color can give them a fresh new look.
  1. If the kitchen cabinets need a new design, but are structurally sound, then installing new wood or laminate veneer over the existing doors and drawer fronts can create a brand new look and style.
  1. If the old kitchen cabinet doors and drawer fronts have suffered too much wear and tear, then homeowners simply remove the old ones and install new doors.

In every case, the details are also updated as needed: hinges are replaced and handles are updated. It’s not just the fronts that are updated; the interiors are also sanded and painted or stained to complete the look from inside out.

Kitchen cabinet refacing is the perfect opportunity for homeowners who want a new look with their existing kitchen, but aren’t ready to overhaul their entire design. Essentially, look to these three criteria to find out if kitchen cabinet refacing is right for you:

  1. If you are happy with the plumbing, gas and electrical layout of your current kitchen cabinets.
  2. If you are happy with the structure of your cabinetry.
  3. If your cabinets are made of high quality materials.

In addition, cabinet refacing is a much easier project to take on, meaning you can update your kitchen in days instead of weeks or even months. You won’t have to haul out old appliances, fixtures and wood, and spend weeks living with an empty shell while the new form takes shape. It’s a great alternative if you have a limited budget and a tight deadline in place.


Replacing Your Kitchen Cabinets

Even though refacing your kitchen cabinets has the opportunity to save you thousands of dollars, it’s not the right choice for every home. There are a number of things to consider before diving into your kitchen remodeling project before selecting either option.

In order to reface existing cabinets, the cabinets have to be high quality and worth the time and investment of giving them a new look. You can’t put high quality door and drawer fronts on low quality cabinets and expect them to improve the appeal. If your cabinets are worn and weathered; if there are numerous chips and cracks throughout the frame; if you find shelves hanging or sagging, then it’s better long term and more cost effective to replace rather than reface.

Take a look at your existing cabinetry. When was it built?

In many cases, cabinets built before 1980 were made of quality wood. A 3/4-inch board was a 3/4-inch piece of wood. There may still be substance to the overall look and design, while a fresh new look can make it more modern and up to date.

It’s also a wise choice to replace your existing cabinets when your floor plan is expected to change in some way. Want to move the sink to a new location? Are you rearranging the layout of the appliances? Will you be adding an island and modernizing the gadgets you have in place? Then replacing your cabinets may be the best choice for you.


Author: Kevin Morse works at Franklin Building Supply, a one-stop solution for all the building supply needs. He loves to blog about home décor and DIY and often provides valuable suggestions for home improvement.

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