Reface Vs. Replace Kitchen Cabinets


If you live in an older home, you may notice that your kitchen cabinets look dated. While sometimes necessary, replacing kitchen cabinets is an expensive proposition. You can improve the appearance of kitchen cabinets without replacing them by refacing only the fronts of the doors and drawers.


  • Refacing involves removing doors and drawer fronts from kitchen cabinets and treating them with paint, stain or adhesive sheet goods to create a new look. Because doors and drawer fronts are the only parts of kitchen cabinets that are highly visible in the kitchen, renovating only these parts creates a look that is indistinguishable from new cabinets. The least expensive refacing option is simply sanding down and painting the surfaces. Alternatively, you can apply various laminate or real wood veneers using contact cement.


  • Some homeowners choose to totally replace their kitchen cabinets. Advantages of this approach include the freedom to redesign the kitchen and the ability to integrate newer appliances and innovations into the kitchen. Disadvantages include a much higher price, more disruption to your home while the work is done and a larger amount of waste sent to the landfill. Also, if you live in an older home, your existing kitchen cabinets consist of higher-quality materials than what you are likely to get on the market today.

DIY Vs. Professionals

  • One way to save money in a kitchen renovation is to do all the work yourself. However, unless you have some experience in home renovations, you may find this option intimidating. If you are undertaking the project on your own, refacing is an easier proposition than building and installing new cabinets. If you choose to hire professionals, be prepared to pay more than twice as much as what it will cost you if you do the work yourself. However, unless you are a professional yourself, their work will probably be better than yours, particularly if you take the time to find an experienced and talented craftsperson.

Kitchens and Resale Value

  • Most real estate agents agree that when it comes to the resale value of your home, kitchens and bathrooms are the most important rooms in the house. If you are renovating with an eye to reselling, you should take this fact into account. However, if your renovation will cost you more than the increase in home value it will supply, it doesn't make sense to do it in purely financial terms.

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