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Planning Your Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project

As with all home remodeling projects, taking the time to thoroughly plan the project and work out the details will pay big dividends in your long-term satisfaction with the project. In addition to the issues involved in any remodeling project, here are some things you might want to consider.

A change in style?

Remember, since a refacing project will involve replacing every visible surface of your kitchen cabinets, you’re not limited to the style you started out with. There’s no reason your ‘50s Danish Modern kitchen can’t be an ‘00s French Country if that’s your taste; your refacing professional can deploy moldings, carving, glass panes, and other ornamental treatments to get just the look you want.

One caveat: take into account whether your desired style works well with the elements you’re not going to replace at this time, which may include the appliances, countertops and floors. The checkered linoleum floor treatment that works well in Bauhaus or ‘50s retro might seriously clash with the antique Italian look you’re considering. Think the project through and decide what compromises and tradeoffs you can live with to create a harmonious effect.

Out with the old, in with the new?

A key factor in choosing refacing over replacement is that you’re basically happy with your kitchen’s current layout - but that doesn’t mean you absolutely can’t make changes. Contractors who specialize in refacing can also remove a cabinet that’s in a bad location, or put in a cabinet that matches the new look in a different spot.

Refacing companies also report that many homeowners use this occasion as an opportunity to put in new drawers or upgrade the glides on the existing ones; adding state-of-the-art new features like silverware dividers, lazy Susans, and wire-basket storage compartments is also popular. Of course, these enhancements add to the cost, but they’re still a very attractive alternative to replacing the cabinets entirely.

Look before you leap.

Cabinet refacing is a huge business, and you’ll find many contractors competing for your job. It also requires specialized skills and attention to detail. Whatever style and materials you choose for your project, make sure the contractor you choose is skilled and tasteful enough to deliver. Don’t just interview candidates and check references - go look at previous jobs similar to yours. Check the details: are the doors straight? Is the finish smooth and clean? Does the wood grain match and line up correctly on the doors, drawer fronts, and face frames? Are the joins and seams smooth, straight and gap-free?

While refacing represents considerable savings over putting in new cabinets, you want to be sure it’s a good investment. Spending a little extra time up front to figure out the details and find the professional to do the job right goes a long way to ensure that you’re spending wisely and getting a kitchen you’ll really love.

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