When it’s time for a change, there are several ways you can redo your kitchen to make it more modern, functional, or just nice and updated. You can paint or stain your cabinets, switch out the hardware, or even fully replace your cabinets. But some of those techniques are only buying time until the next remodel. On the other hand, refacing can make your kitchen look brand spankin’ new while using everything you already have.

Refacing Your Kitchen Cabinets is the Way to Go

Give your kitchen a facelift by revamping what’s already there. All your outdated kitchen cabinets need is a boost, and if they have good bones, then why not consider a reface?

A reface is essentially stripping all of the cabinet elements off of your existing kitchen cabinets without having to remove them from the wall. This means taking off theskin panels, drawer fronts, cabinet doors, and all of the hardware (handles, hinges, etc.).

The entire process takes about 2 to 4 days and goes a little something like this:

  • Remove cabinet doors and fronts of drawers, leaving the drawer boxes and the cabinet carcasses/boxes behind.
  • Cover the fronts and sides of the cabinet boxes with wood veneer or laminate that matches your new doors or colors.
  • Re-install your door hinges, or replace them with new ones if you wish.
  • New doors and drawer fronts are put back in place. You can either sand and refinish, paint, or completely replace these parts at this stage.
  • Re-install all drawer and cabinet handles and pulls (new or old).
  • Add additional features like integrated lighting, glass frames, crown molding, etc.

Pros and Cons of Refacing Your Cabinets

When weighing the options of your kitchen remodel, there are tons of methods to consider, and depending on cost, time constraints, and the condition of your cabinets, refacing may or may not be your best choice. But if you do want to think about refacing your cabinets, here are some of the benefits and the downfalls of taking on such a task.

Pros of Cabinet Refacing

  • Refacing is the sustainable option. Because you’re using your existing cabinets and simply revamping them, you’re saving the trees by not tossing your cabinets in a landfill! 
  • The style options are nearly endless. With dozens of wood veneers, laminates, stains, and paint colors available, you can reface your cabinets to whatever look you desire.
  • With that being said, you don’t need to change your kitchen’s layout. If you love the way your cabinets and appliances sit and function, refacing is a perfect option to retain the kitchen you love, but with a style update.
  • Refacing your kitchen cabinets costs at least half as much as remodeling the entire thing. So you save a ton of time, money, and energy by choosing this option.

Cons of Cabinet Refacing

  • Not all cabinets are in a condition to withstand a reface. Your cabinet boxes need to be sturdy, have smooth surfaces, and be in good condition.
  • It’s not 100% DIY-friendly. Some steps require the expertise of a professional, such as applying the veneer or laminate.
  • You must be careful when removing the doors, drawers, existing laminate, and any hardware. You don’t want to damage any of those and risk spending and doing more than was planned.
  • It’s strictly cosmetic, and you won’t be changing any of your storage options or the layout. For more extensive remodeling of your kitchen, you will have to go beyond a simple reface.

Comparing the Costs of Refacing vs. Other Cabinet Updates

Even though refacing saves a ton of money compared to ripping out and replacing your kitchen cabinets (especially custom cabinetry), it still isn’t the cheapest option to remodel on a budget. Refinishing and repainting your cabinets costs about 40% of refacing costs, and refacing costs about 40% of the cost of replacing your cabinets.

Refinishing Costs

Refinishing your cabinets is a very DIY-friendly project and can save you money on labor costs, materials, and time. Things you’ll need to refinish your cabinets include sandpaper, primer, paint or stain, lacquer, and new hardware (if you aren’t using the old stuff).

Depending on the size of your kitchen, the cost of materials won’t set you back too much. In fact, thenational average for refinishing a kitchen is $500. This cost can go up to a couple thousand if you have an extra-large kitchen or decide to hire a professional company to do it for you. If you want to look at it in terms of cost per square foot, refinishing your kitchen will run between $5 and $10per sq. ft.

Refacing Costs

Refacing your kitchen cabinets will jump the price up to the mid-high range at around $4,000 to $10,000 or even up to $15,000 if you require more customizations and hire a team of contractors to handle the remodel.

Remember that refacing your kitchen means you need a lot more supplies like veneer or laminate (enough to fit all square footage of your cabinet boxes) and new hardware, plus room for any surprises along the way, such as cracked or damaged cabinet boxes.

Replacing Costs

If your kitchen cabinets are in rough shape, or you want to change the entire layout of your kitchen, then tearing out the old and replacing it with new cabinetry might be your best bet. However, this would be your most expensive option.

If you get a deal on some pre-used or warehouse special cabinets, you could maybe remodel your kitchen for around $4,000 to $8,000, but that number grows as you hire a professional team and if you want more custom cabinetry. Customizations and extra remodeling can bring the cost of your cabinet replacement to $20,000 and more. 

As you can see, refacing your cabinets isn’t your cheapest option, nor is it your most expensive option. But, it’s highly sustainable, DIY-friendly, and lets you keep your kitchen layout as-is but with a new modern twist with your new finishes and hardware.

So the question we asked at the very beginning was, “Is it worth it to reface kitchen cabinets?” We can without a doubt say that it is absolutely worth it. The effort and money put into a kitchen reface will pay off big time. You’ll be so happy you did. Check out ourideas book for inspiration!

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