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What is Cabinet Refacing

Cabinet refacing allows you to rejuvenate the look and feel of your kitchen or bathroom without having to go through the expense and considerable effort of completely replacing your cabinetry. I’ll be writing specifically about the kitchen, but the same information can be applied to bathroom cabinet refacing with only a few minor adjustments if any.

Is the Cost of Cabinet Refacing Worth It?

Most people would tell you that the answer to this question is an easy yes. I think the answer is a yes, but a qualified yes. If you are going to completely remodel your kitchen, then it probably does not make sense to go through the effort of trying to reuse your existing cabinetry. To be clear, when I say remodel, I’m talking about a major project which can involve expanding your current space by bumping out walls or rearranging the physical layout of islands and appliances. In this case, you will have to reconfigure the layout of your cabinets. You might also have to deal with the hassles of new plumbing and wiring. If this is the case it is probably easier to get new cabinets.

Another reason you might decide to replace your cabinets rather than reface them is depends on the current condition of your cabinetry. Deep mars, dents, or gashes on the frames might be too difficult to repair just by refacing or other surface treatments. In this case, new cabinets could be purchased.

For the time being, I will assume that your cabinets are in good to excellent condition. If your goal is simply a fresh, new look for your kitchen then cabinet refacing costs will end up being significantly cheaper than most replacement options.

How Much Does Cabinet Refacing Cost?

Sorry to be anti-climatic, but it depends. When people talk about kitchen cabinet refacing they could mean one of two things. Some people think that refacing cabinet doors means to replace the existing doors with new or custom made kitchen doors. Others think that to reface cabinet doors means to take the old ones down, refurbish them, and then hang them again. The kitchen cabinet refacing cost depends on which one of these methods you choose.

If you decide to go with the replacement option then this is how the process generally takes place.

  1. Select new doors
  2. Remove doors from cabinet frames
  3. Remove drawer fronts from drawers
  4. Separate out hardware like knobs, door pulls, handles, hinges, etc. in case you want to reuse them
  5. Strip and reface the fronts of the cabinet frames left behind to match your new doors
  6. Put old or new hardware on cabinet doors and drawer fronts
  7. Place new doors on frames
  8. Place new drawer fronts on drawers

The expenses in this method are the refacing of the cabinets and the new doors and hardware if applicable. Of course, the price of the new kitchen doors and drawer fronts is the main function of price. You could spend as little as $2,000 or as much as $100,000 if your kitchen was large enough and you chose custom made cabinet doors. The kitchen cabinet refacing price also depends on whether you do the work yourself or if you hair a contractor. Even if you hire a contractor, the cost of replacing the cabinet doors with new ones to reface your kitchen can be anywhere from thirty to 70 percent of the cost of installing completely new cabinets.

If you choose to refurbish or refinish your existing cabinet doors for your kitchen cabinet refacing project then the cost can be even less. In this method you only need to account for the price of the cabinet refacing supplies. The cabinet refacing material that you will need includes chemicals to strip the old stain or paint off of the doors, sand paper to smooth the doors before beginning the new treatment, stain or paint for your new look, and sealers or clear coats depending on what design you choose for your cabinet refacing. These materials can be bought for only a couple of hundred dollars at any local hardware store. The only additional expense that you might encounter is the price of new kitchen cabinet hardware if you choose to update it. I guess you could say that another expense in this process would be your time and energy. The do it yourself refinishing method is much more labor intensive. The process goes something like this.

  1. Select the new look for your cabinet doors
  2. Remove doors from cabinet frames
  3. Remove drawer fronts from drawers
  4. Remove hardware like knobs, door pulls, handles, hinges, etc.
  5. Strip and reface the fronts of the cabinet frames left behind to match your new doors
  6. Strip and reface the cabinet doors and drawer fronts
  7. Put old or new hardware on cabinet doors and drawer fronts
  8. Place new doors on frames
  9. Place new drawer fronts on drawers

Step six is the labor intensive part. The work involved usually takes three to five days for someone who knows what they are doing and maybe even longer for a novice who might make some mistakes along the way.

Should I Reface My Cabinets Myself or Hire a Contractor?

The choice to hire a contractor for your cabinet refacing project depends entirely on your preferences. Of course you will save some money by doing the work yourself, but only if you do not make any big mistakes along the way. If you have never attempted something like this before and you are not confident in your ability to do a good job then it is perfectly acceptable to hire someone to do it for you. But, if you have used stains before and you are familiar with the process, then there is no reason you shouldn’t attempt refacing your kitchen cabinets yourself. Just keep this is mind, if you mess up you can always just leave the cabinet door off. It is a new trend in kitchens today to have cabinets with no doors so the shelves are exposed. You can display your dishes and canned goods in such a way as to create an interesting backdrop.

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Comment from Lauren
Time July 27, 2009 at 4:40 pm

Hi there! I was wondering if you minded if I re-posted this article about cabinet refacing on our blog with the proper accreditation given to you? This is a great article about the realistic costs of refacing, which is one of the product lines that we offer, and I would like to link to it from our blog. Thanks for a great article!

Comment from Dan
Time July 27, 2009 at 5:35 pm

Hi Lauren,

Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words. I’ll respond to your request by email.

Comment from Laban Paul
Time July 28, 2009 at 1:57 am

I just went through your blog and i found your article on refacing is very impressive.It’s my pleasure that i went through your site.
Good Day

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