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Should You Consider Refacing Your Kitchen Cabinets

If your kitchen cabinets are showing their age, or you
really never liked them in the first place, you’d probably love to replace
them. On the other hand, kitchen cabinet replacement is a major project that’s
not only fairly expensive, it disrupts your daily life for weeks.

For that reason (not to mention ubiquitous advertising),
kitchen cabinet refacing is a really popular option. It takes two or three
days, and costs between a third and a half what it would cost to replace the
cabinets.

The process, usually done by a team of two craftspeople,
starts with removing the existing doors and face frames on the cabinets. After
preparing the surfaces on the cabinet’s box, the installers put on the new face
frames and doors. They will also finish all exposed surfaces of the old
cabinets to match the new doors — side panels, undersides, etc., and put in a
new toe kick, as well as any moldings and trims the homeowner has ordered.

Refacing is so popular that today it’s available in pretty
much the same materials and finishes as the original
cabinets in most cases: melamine, thermofoil, wood veneer or solid wood.

Installers point out that quite often older cabinets — those
built 20 or 30 years ago and earlier — are often excellent candidates for
refacing because, in essence, they’re more solidly build and use better
materials than even the high-end cabinets of today. For example, even the boxes
of older cabinets are often made of solid wood, which is all but unheard-of
today.

But refacing isn’t for everybody or every kitchen. The most
crucial issues have to do with the structural integrity of your current
cabinets, and your happiness with the current kitchen layout. The real
deal-breakers:

  • If you want to change the layout of your kitchen, refacing will not solve your problem. You’ll just get a prettier version of what’s not working for you now.
  • If your house has settled, leaving the floors uneven and the cabinets crooked, refacing will just perpetuate the problem.
  • If the underlying cabinet boxes aren’t structurally sound — rusted metal, deteriorated fiberboard, warped wood — refacing may not be possible and certainly won’t yield satisfactory results.

On the other hand,

  • If you’re satisfied with the layout of the kitchen (whether because it suits you or because you’re planning to sell in the near future) and your existing cabinets are structurally sound, Your kitchen is a prime candidate for cabinet refacing — and it’s definitely worth your while to seek out the right professional who can deliver exactly what you want.

If your kitchen cabinets are showing their age, or you really never liked them in the first place, replacing them might be the best choice. On the other hand, kitchen cabinet replacement is a major project that’s not only expensive, it disrupts your daily life for weeks.

For that reason, kitchen cabinet refacing is a really popular option. It takes two or three days, and costs between a third and a half what it would cost to replace the cabinets altogether.

Costs

The cost of refacing kitchen cabinets varies greatly depending on the type of materials (paint, thermofoil, veneer panels, etc.) and the size of the kitchen. For a small kitchen with lower-end cabinet materials, refacing could cost anywhere from a few hundred to $3,000. But for a large kitchen with high-end materials, your project could cost as much as $10,000. Get a few price quotes from licensed craftspeople to get a better idea of costs.

Pros

It costs significantly less to reface cabinets than it does to completely replace them.

Refacing completely changes the look of a kitchen in a matter of days.

Refacing kitchen cabinets can be completed as a DIY project with the proper tools and materials.

Cons

Kitchen refacing cannot change the layout of your kitchen. You’ll just get a prettier version of what’s not working for you now.

If your house has settled, and the floors are uneven or the cabinets are crooked, refacing will just perpetuate the problem.

If the cabinet boxes are not structurally sound (rusted metal, deteriorated fiberboard, etc.), refacing may not be possible or attractive.

Durability

The durability of cabinets does not change when they are refaced. So if your cabinets are sturdy and solidly built, then you won’t have anything to worry about. If they are unstable and falling apart, you should probably consider replacing instead of refacing.

Maintenance

Refaced kitchen cabinets generally require the same care and maintenance as the original cabinets themselves. Regularly wipe the cabinets down with a clean, damp cloth. Scrub away tougher stains with a cleaning solution of dishwashing detergent and water. Wipe dry afterwards.

Common Questions and Answers

What is the process of having kitchen cabinets refaced?

The process, usually done by a team of two craftspeople, starts with removing the existing doors and face frames on the cabinets. After preparing the surfaces on the cabinet’s box, the

Can cabinets built 20-30 years ago be refaced?

Yes. In fact, installers point out that quite often, older cabinets—those built 20 or 30 years ago and earlier—are often excellent candidates for refacing because they’re more solidly built and use better materials than even the high-end cabinets of today



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