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Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Kitchen cabinets are the most significant expense in many kitchen remodeling jobs, so decisions on how to handle the cabinets are important. Two options include replacing cabinets with custom or stock kitchen cabinets, or refacing the current cabinets. When making the decision to reface or replace, there are a number of factors to consider.

What is Cabinet Refacing?

Refacing kitchen cabinets consists of covering the current kitchen cabinets with a new veneer, or thin surface, of wood, thermofoil or laminate, the same materials found in new cabinets. Contractors often replace all cabinet doors, drawer faces and drawer boxes in matching colors so that kitchen cabinetry looks new.

When to Reface Cabinets

Since cabinet refacing leaves the basic kitchen layout the same, refacing makes sense if the room's layout is already functional, and traffic flow is great. If a kitchen needs no new cabinets or needs only a few new cabinets, then refacing may make sense. Another factor to consider is the construction and durability of the current cabinets. If they are solidly built and in excellent condition, refacing your cabinets may be a good choice. It is possible to reface drawer fronts and cabinet doors as well, for a less expensive solution.

Pros of Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

The first advantage of kitchen cabinet refacing is that the cost is often lower than replacing. As a rule of thumb, contractors estimate that cabinet refacing costs about 1/3 to 1/2 as much as replacing the same number of cabinets. A second advantage is that kitchen refacing is a greener option. Refacing keeps cabinets in the kitchen, rather than in the landfill. A third advantage of refacing over replacing cabinets is the speed of the renovations. Replacing cabinets can take up to six weeks, meaning the kitchen cannot be used for an extended period of time. However, a refacing job can be done in three to five days. Many refacing contractors can replace interior features with modern updates, and can add one or two cabinets or an island to improve kitchen function.

Cons of Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

The cons of cabinet refacing include the possibility of the finished project looking bad, since not all contractors are equally skilled, and not all use quality materials. Additionally, if a homeowner refaces a kitchen that is poorly designed, the design problems persist.

Cabinet Refacing Costs

Most contractors who reface cabinets charge by the "opening," with each door or drawer counting as an opening. Costs per opening vary from $100 to 150 per opening, depending on what type of material is used and whether or not the contractor replaces all drawers and door hardware. All told, expect a $4,000 to $9,000 price tag as the final cost to reface a standard kitchen.

When to Replace

If a kitchen has poor-quality cabinets with boxes that are sagging or breaking, replacing is the right choice. Additionally, if a kitchen has a poor design or needs many new cabinets, replacing is smarter than cabinet refacing. Replacing means completely removing all of the old cabinets and replacing them with newly constructed cabinets.

Pros of Kitchen Cabinet Replacement

There are multiple advantages to replacing cabinets. First, it's easy to change the entire layout of a kitchen when replacing cabinets. It's a simple process to add cabinets, create more storage, rearrange appliances, and add an island with a complete cabinet replacement. Additionally, cabinets look new inside and out, instead of keeping the dingy interior as happens with cabinet refacing. The final advantage of new cabinets is that homeowners have a huge range of choices in terms of design, finish and features that aren't available when refacing.

Cons of Kitchen Cabinet Replacement

When replacing cabinets, it's also necessary to replace the counter top. With kitchen cabinet refacing, replacing the counter top is not absolutely required. When replacing cabinets, the kitchen is out of commission for weeks because it takes time to both demolish the old cabinets and install the new. A third drawback to replacement is that high quality old cabinets are sent to the landfill.

Cabinet Replacement Costs

Having a contractor purchase and replace cabinets can cost $8,000 to $20,000. However, there are many ways to save money when buying kitchen cabinets. For example, buying stock kitchen cabinets online can save a homeowner thousands while still providing the wide range of choices homeowners want. Kitchen Cabinet King's 10 x 10 pricing can give you an idea of what it would cost to buy new cabinets for a standard 10 x 10 kitchen in a variety of materials. These prices range from $1,200 to $2,500, depending on the materials and finish.

The decision to reface or replace is a personal one, and depends on a variety of factors. Consider all the variables, such as kitchen layout, quality of the current cabinets, and cost of the job before deciding how to update the kitchen cabinets for a kitchen remodeling project.

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