Cabinet Refacing – Is it the Best Option for Your Kitchen Remodeling Project

B-A-whole-kitchen - compressed

A dilemma many homeowners are facing these days is having a kitchen that’s overdue for a facelift, but only limited funds available for the kitchen remodeling project. Depending on the scope of work, a full kitchen remodeling project can be fairly expensive and the challenging economy has many families being careful of what they spend. However, you may not need to wait for your economic ship to come in before planning a kitchen remodeling project. There’s a way to give your kitchen a fresh appearance with almost any kitchen remodeling budget: cabinet refacing.

What is Cabinet Refacing?

Cabinet refacing is very similar to what the name implies – your existing cabinets will get a new face. The process involves installing a new wood veneer on the faces of the wall and base cabinets and any exposed sides or rear panels. Cabinet doors and drawer fronts are normally replaced, but refinishing the existing units is also an option. The nice thing about cabinet refacing, is that you can choose doors and drawer fronts from just about any kind of wood species, stain colors, styles, and finishing options.

Advantages of Cabinet Refacing for your Kitchen Remodeling

Cost – purchasing new cabinets can take a big chunk out of a kitchen remodeling budget regardless of their quality level – cabinet refacing allows you to reuse the existing cabinets you’ve already paid.  By refacing the cabinet face-frame, you’ll achieve the same look as brand new cabinets.

Countertops – if you’re happy with your current countertop, why take a chance on breaking it during removal. Your countertop must be taken out to install new cabinets, but in most cases, cabinet refacing can be done while it remains in place.

Mechanical costs – installing new cabinets during a kitchen remodeling project normally requires hiring a contractor to disconnect all water, gas, and electrical lines that may be inside the units. This can usually be avoided when you choose to reface instead.

Selection – wood veneers for cabinet refacing are available in just about any wood species and finish cabinet manufacturers use for new models. You can even use unfinished refacing materials and create your own unique color scheme.

Style – installing new doors and drawer fronts allows you to completely change the style of your cabinets without incurring the expense of purchasing new boxes.

Time – perhaps the biggest advantage of choosing to reface your cabinets rather than installing new units is the amount of time involved. A full kitchen remodeling project can take weeks to complete depending on how complex the project is, but cabinet refacing can often be done in several days. In addition, the kitchen remains functional during the kitchen remodeling process.  That’s a big difference when you keep in mind that your kitchen is often unusable while a full kitchen remodeling is taking place.

Is Cabinet Refacing Right for Every Kitchen?

While cabinet refacing is a viable option for saving time and money on many kitchen remodeling projects, it might not always be the best choice. Cabinet refacing involves using your existing cabinets so if the interiors aren’t in very good condition, you may want to consider purchasing new units. However, if just one or two of your current boxes have problems, buying replacement cabinets and refacing those along with your other cabinets may still save money on your project.

The same consideration holds true with how your current cabinets are constructed – composition board cabinets often don’t have the long lifespan of solid wood models. Purchasing new cabinets may be a better choice than refacing composition boxes that might not stand the test of time.

Lastly, if significant changes to your current kitchen layout are planned during your kitchen remodeling, purchasing new cabinets might be the best route. Kitchen planners base cabinet sizes on where they will be located in relation to the overall room design, efficient usage, and where appliances fit into the arrangement. Big changes in a layout can affect what cabinet sizes work best for the new design and many of your existing boxes may not be the best choice or work in the new plan. However, if only minor changes are taking place, buying a few new cabinets to include with the existing units during the cabinet refacing process can still save money on your kitchen remodeling project.

The Importance of Hiring an Experienced Cabinet Refacing Contractor

A high quality cabinet refacing job requires a different skill-set than installing new units and as such you should take care to hire an experienced cabinet refacing contractor. Just as you can’t assume that a roofing contractor who installs asphalt shingles is equally adept at installing metal or slate, cabinet contractors don’t always have experience with cabinet refacing.

Always ask for a list of prior cabinet refacing projects when interviewing a potential contractor and don’t be afraid to call or visit previous customers. Refacing cabinets so that the finished units have a professional appearance takes knowledge and experience – it’s usually best if the contractor doesn’t receive their education during your kitchen remodeling project.

Be sure to read our helpful article regarding kitchen remodeling costs and their return on investment if you are considering a kitchen remodeling project for your home.