Should I replace my kitchen cabinets or re-face them?
It could be said that cabinets are the heart of your kitchen. They are usually the first thing people notice when they enter the room, and they certainly take up the most space. Your cabinets should add to the style of your kitchen while serving as an efficient storage space for your appliances and cookware. When kitchen cabinets begin to show their age, it can be time to weigh your options. To replace or re-face? That is the question, and the answer is usually pretty clear.
You could do this…
Re-facing your cabinets is one solution to freshening up your kitchen. This process can take anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks. There are three main methods of refacing:
1. The most common method involves refinishing your current cabinets. The first step is to take off old cabinet doors and drawer fronts, sand them down and sand down the exterior of the old cabinet boxes. Allow it to dry and replace the newly refinished cabinet doors and drawer fronts to their original locations. This is known as “cabinet refinishing.”
2. The second option is to paint over the existing finish to give it a fresh look.
3. Finally, you could replace the doors and drawer fronts and put a new layer of plastic laminate or wood veneer over the existing cabinet boxes. This is usually done by a professional. This is the process most commonly referred to as “cabinet re-facing.”
“Re-facing or re-finishing may save you money, but it’s better to invest in new cabinets.”
…but you should do this
Re-facing can sometimes save you money, but it is often better to make the investment in new cabinets. If you’re going to be spending money on a kitchen renovation, it should be spent to get the best possible result. Replacing your old cabinets is an opportunity to make your kitchen extraordinary. Consider the following benefits of installing new cabinets:
- Longevity: If you’ve had your old cabinets for a long time, it’s actually more beneficial to replace them. With time, the cabinet boxes not only look old, but they absorb chemicals and oils from many years of cooking and handling. Those contaminants sometimes prevent the proper adhesion of new laminates causing premature pealing of the new cabinet facing.
- Esthetics: Re-facing your cabinets, as the name suggests, is nothing more than a face lift. When you open the cabinet doors, you can clearly see the worn, old cabinets. Furthermore, re-facing limits your ability to stagger the heights and depths of cabinets to give them a more updated and detailed appearance. Most older kitchens have smaller doors and drawer fronts, known as “standard overlay.” Today’s kitchens almost always feature a “full overlay” door design making it pretty obvious that the kitchen is not new.
- Convenience: Most older kitchens lack the simple conveniences or adjustable or roll out shelves which afford not only more storage, but much better access to your pots, pans, pantry items, etc. Keeping the existing cabinets also takes away your ability to utilize the open or closed space above (soffits) for more storage. Today’s cabinets offer thousands of convenient accessories to make your life easier. From lazy Susan corners, to spice and tray racks, to pull-out or pull-down shelving, and so much more.
- Customization: Replacing your cabinets is the best way to get the exact look you’ve always wanted for them. You can choose a new style and color, add storage where it’s needed most, re-size cabinets to fit your needs, as well as move appliances to allow for better access and counter/preparation space.
- Value: Painting or staining the existing cabinets is the cheapest way to go. The limitations are obvious. There are also times where re-facing kitchen cabinets can make sense, but it is pretty rare. Not only would you have to be happy with the layout, accessibility, storage and overall look of the existing kitchen, you would also need to keep the current countertop, sink, faucet and backsplash. You see, cabinet re-facing requires manufacturing custom doors and drawer fronts to fit your existing kitchen. Since doors and drawer fronts are the most important, and most expensive, part of the cabinet, there are no savings by keeping your old cabinets. The savings comes from the fact that you can re-face your kitchen without replacing your countertops, sink, faucet and backsplash. Today’s vast offering of cabinets can enable you to remove and install brand new, quality cabinetry for less money than cabinet re-facing.
Sure, kitchen remodeling can get as expensive as you let it, but it doesn’t have to. Once you start customizing the layout, moving appliances, re-wiring and adding accessories, you can drive the cost up, but there are other options. It’s a choice you make if you replace, but not even a choice you have, if you re-face.
If you are planning on changing anything other than the look of the cabinets, the decision is easy!
Kitchen renovations are proven to increase the resale value of your home, and installing new kitchen cabinets is a great place to start. If you select a timeless style and material, you could significantly increase the value of your home.
Most people assume that they’ll save money by re-facing their kitchen cabinets as opposed to having new ones installed. However, when you factor in the added value and benefits from new cabinets, the choice is clear. It’s better to invest in a cabinet remodel and reap the rewards later on than waste time and money on superficial fixes.
To plan your own kitchen renovation, click the image below.
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