Refacing Your Kitchen Cabinets

Updating and remodeling a kitchen makes sense for several reasons. It adds to the value of your home for resale or refinancing, it usually makes it more convenient and efficient, and (once the project is finished) it makes you feel good!

Of course, there are other ways to spruce up a faded kitchen -- why not consider repainting or refacing your existing cabinets?

Refacing existing cabinets involves keeping the basic shell and adding a new finish and possibly new handles and door hinges. Refacing usually costs less and still provides a completely new look. Unless the cabinets are water- damaged or have some other type of serious damage, refacing is an excellent way to update kitchen cupboards. In many cases, homeowners even do the work themselves.

There are three main finishes available for refacing:

  • Wood veneer - Although more expensive, wood facings such as oak, cedar, birch, maple, etc. give the kitchen a timeless and rich look.
  • Plastic laminates - These come in faux wood finishes or a variety of colors. They are cheaper than wood veneer but only work on flat cabinet surfaces.
  • Rigid thermo foils - Not actually rigid at all, RTF vinyl molds to any style cabinet, including those with raised surfaces. They come in wood-like finishes and a limited range of colors.

Why Reface?

People choose refacing over replacement for several reasons:

  • Cost - Refacing generally costs far less than totally replacing kitchen cabinets.
  • Condition - If the cabinets don't need major repairs, there is no need to tear them out and start over. Older construction is often of a higher quality than new products.
  • Space - If existing cabinets provide enough storage space, it isn't necessary to add new ones.
  • Design - If the kitchen cabinets are already configured for ease-of-use, it would be redundant to replace them.

Both modern and older kitchen cabinet doors come in three basic styles. Flat or slab styles are just that -- smooth with no design carved, built, or stamped in. Other cabinets may have recessed or raised sections to add stylistic embellishment.

It makes sense to consider refacing kitchen cabinets rather than installing new ones. In many cases homeowners can achieve a fresh new look, spend less money, and take advantage of a solid infrastructure.