Cabinet Refacing Vs. New Cabinets

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Kitchen renovation is one of the best investments you can make for your home. Unfortunately, renovating the kitchen is also one of the most expensive projects you can take on. One way to save a considerable amount of money is to reface rather than replace the kitchen cabinets.

When to Replace

  • Replacing kitchen cabinets can cost 40 percent to 60 percent more than refacing them, according to the website Home Renovation Guide. There are some instances, however, when no other option is feasible. If the cabinet boxes are worn through, rotted or cracked, new cabinetry is essential. If the basic kitchen layout needs to be changed due to structural changes in the room or if traffic flow makes the room impractical or difficult to work with, new cabinetry may be needed to accommodate the new plan.

When to Reface

  • Refacing is an option if existing cabinetry is structurally sound and the kitchen requires only minor layout changes such as the addition of an island, wine rack or pantry. If a cosmetic change, consisting of new cupboard surfaces and/or finishes and an updating of existing cabinet hardware, is all the room needs, then refacing is a great option.

The Refacing Process

  • Cabinet refacing involves more than just a simple change of paint color and a hardware update. The existing cabinet boxes remain in place. One or two craftsmen begin by removing the existing cupboard doors and drawer fronts. Face frames and side panels are sanded. A new finish is then nailed or glued to the sanded sections. New molding, panels and the base cabinet toe kick are similarly installed. New cabinet drawer fronts and doors are installed to match the face frames, side panels and undersides of the boxes. New hardware replaces the old and old screw holds filled in and finished to match the new faces.

Finish Options

  • Three refacing finish options are available in a range of styles, colors and prices. Lowest in cost are rigid thermofoils (RTF). This product is a vinyl foil molded through pressure over medium-density fiberboard. RTF can be shaped into arches or raised panels and finished with a realistic looking wood grain or solid color finish. Laminates are slightly more expensive than RTF but cannot be shaped. Plain front doors are required for laminate to work. The most expensive, but most realistic of the available finishes, is real wood veneer. Costing 10 percent to 25 percent more than RTF or laminate, wood is longer lasting and offers the richest look.

Other Considerations

  • Refacing cabinetry usually takes two to four days from start to finish. Replacing and reconfiguring cabinets can take several weeks, especially if custom ordering must be done for made-to-measure applications. Replacing cupboards can also mean patching, sanding and painting walls where older cabinets had been located. All of these extras add work, time and cost to the renovation project. For an efficient, economical kitchen renovation, refacing cabinet surfaces is a good alternative to replacing the entire cabinet.

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References

  • Photo Credit Modern elegant kitchen image by MAXFX from Fotolia.com
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