Kitchen cabinet refacing or new cabinets [2023]

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Are you tired of your current kitchen cabinets and considering a new look on the cabinets? They could be too old for your liking; in which case you’re faced with a challenge: to reface or replace them?

kitchen cabinet refacing or new cabinets

While refacing kitchen cabinets involves installing a new surface material on the doors and drawer boxes of the existing cabinet framework, replacing cabinets is when you do away with the old bunch and install new ones. Regarding cost, cabinet refacing projects are cheaper than cabinet replacement, but this depends on the refacing materials and scope of work. Expect to spend about $4,000 to $10,000 on kitchen cabinet refacing and $5,000 to $10,000 on contractor-grade cabinets.

Let me tell you more about the benefits of both cabinet refacing and replacing to help you settle for the one that fits your budget and needs. The decision between kitchen cabinet refacing and installing new cabinets requires some thought. Here are a few key points to keep in mind as you weigh your options:

Cost: On average, kitchen cabinet refacing tends to be less expensive than installing new cabinets. Depending on the specific circumstances of your project, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 for cabinet refacing, compared to $5,000 to $10,000 or more for new cabinets.

Timing: Cabinet refacing typically takes less time to complete than installing new cabinets. Depending on the extent of the work, cabinet refacing could be completed in as little as a few days, while installing new cabinets could take several weeks or longer.

Quality: While both cabinet refacing and installing new cabinets can be done to a high level of quality, it’s worth considering the specific materials and construction techniques being used. New cabinets are generally built from scratch using high-quality materials, while cabinet refacing involves applying new veneers or laminate to the existing cabinets.

Sustainability: If you’re concerned about the environmental impact of your kitchen renovation, it’s worth considering the sustainability of your cabinet options. Cabinet refacing is generally more sustainable than installing new cabinets, as it involves reusing the existing cabinets and avoiding the energy and resources required to manufacture new ones.

Ultimately, the decision between cabinet refacing and installing new cabinets will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and budget. It’s always a good idea to consult with a professional interior designer to help you determine the best option for your kitchen.

Important Decision to Make: Reface or Replace?

Before settling for a reface or new cabinets, you should consider why you want to undertake the project. If your cabinets are in great shape structurally, but you don’t like how they look, you can consider refacing them.

The cabinet refacing process involves retaining the base structure while replacing the drawer fronts, cabinet doors, face frames, and hardware. You get new doors and drawer fronts to replace the old ones and cover the drawer boxes with matching wood veneers.

Refacing is ideal if you want an updated look without changing the kitchen layout. It is a budget-friendly and quick way to give your cabinets a new look, but it only works if they are still in good shape.

Replacing Cabinets

Replacing cabinets is a much bigger project. As the name suggests, in a cabinet replacement project you remove all the old kitchen cabinets and replace them with a new set. To get a complete kitchen transformation, consider buying new cabinets.

kitchen cabinet refacing or new cabinets replace

New cabinets are ideal if you’re undertaking a kitchen renovation project, making an outdated space look modern. While in cabinet refacing you retain the same cabinet design; in replacement, you get to choose a new design that fits your style and storage needs.

Which Cabinets to Compare Refacing to?

Refacing is not the ideal option for every kitchen remodel project. If your current cabinets are of poor quality, replacing the entire piece will make more sense instead of refacing them. Also, it would help to consider the age of your cabinets before deciding on a reface. Don’t spend money refacing aged and worn-out cabinets.

Things to Think About when Refacing or Replacing Kitchen Cabinets

Changing the face frames of your cabinets or replacing old ones with new ones takes much consideration. For instance, your budget should be the basic guide. If on a tight budget, refacing comes in handy since you spend less on refacing than on new cabinets.

If you’re okay with the original kitchen layout but need to give it a facelift, then refacing is a good choice. However, if you want to change the existing kitchen layout for whatever reason, you can consider having new cabinets to complete the new kitchen look.

It will help if you also consider the condition of your cabinet drawers, doors, and boxes. If they’re all in bad shape, replacing them would be best option instead of refacing them. Refacing is a good option only when the drawer boxes are stable.

Are you remodeling or building a new house? Cabinet replacement is best if you’re constructing a new home or addition with a new kitchen. Refacing, however, is ideal during a renovation or remodeling project and if you like its current layout.

Compared to New Cabinets

Refacing cabinets is a more laborious task as compared to installing new cabinets. For a do-it-yourselfer, you need experience with heavy lifting and wood veneering. Experienced installers can fix new cabinetry, though it’d be best to hire professionals if you are not sure of the installation process.

Professionally, only a moderate number of companies offer cabinet reface services compared to the larger number of individuals and companies installing new cabinets. Refacing might take a while before getting the right guys for the task.

kitchen cabinet refacing or new cabinets installing

In terms of functionality, picking new cabinets allows you to select the ones that meet your storage needs. When you reface your current cabinets, you remain with the same kitchen storage size as before since it doesn’t alter the design of the cabinets.

What Refacing Costs

The cost of cabinet refacing projects depends on the number of cabinets being refaced, the cost of labor, and the type of materials being used. With that in mind, you can expect to spend between $4,292 and $9,974 for refacing projects. You can save money by spending 30 to 50 percent less in refacing cabinets than replacing them.

When refacing, you can go the extra mile and alter the current finish by applying a fresh coat of paint or new texture, adding new cabinet hardware, and fixing minor problems with the cabinets. That means digging deeper into your pockets.

Cabinet Replacing

A cabinet replacing project costs homeowners an average of $4,500 to $18,000 without including other remodeling costs incurred. Replacing cabinets is a more complex task that involves other considerations, like adjusting light fixture positions, new flooring to cover the area where the old cabinets were and installing new countertops on the cabinets. Therefore, the cost of full replacement goes beyond buying and installing new cabinets.

kitchen cabinet refacing or new cabinets costs

Replacing Cabinet Doors

Replacing cabinet doors is part of refacing your cabinets when you don’t want to break the bank doing a full replacement project. A do-it-yourselfer can complete this project with ease. The total cost of cabinet doors only can be  between $50 and $500 per door. This cost is affected by the wide range of custom-made doors available in the market.

There are a variety of door styles to choose from, like the raised panel cabinet doors that complete a traditional style kitchen or the recessed panels and slab-style cabinet doors that give off a modern style. The most crucial detail when replacing cabinet doors and drawers is the measurements. No matter the style you choose, ensure you have accurate measurements for ease during installation.

Condition of Existing Cabinets

If your current cabinets start to fall off, they are beyond refacing. For a successful refacing project, the cabinets should be in good condition. Worn-out doors and drawer fronts can get replaced, but the cabinet boxes should be in a stable condition to hold for another couple of years.

kitchen cabinet refacing or new cabinets condition

If the cabinets are in bad shape, it’s safer to buy new ones to ensure functionality and give your kitchen an improved look.

When Refacing is the Perfect Option

There are a few instances when refacing cabinets is better than buying new cabinets. For example, when your budget doesn’t meet the cost of purchasing new cabinetry or when the existing cabinet boxes are in good shape. Also, a reface is your go-to option if you’re revamping your kitchen instead of building a new house, and if you like the current kitchen layout.

What is Cabinet Replacement?

Cabinet replacement is when you tear down old kitchen cabinets and replace them with new ones. Cabinet replacement works best when altering the current kitchen layout or completing a kitchen remodel. It’s the only alternative if your cabinet hardware, drawers, doors, and boxes are in lousy shape, or when building a new house.

Is it Cheaper to Reface or Replace Cabinets?

Going by replacing and refacing costs, it can be cheaper to reface cabinets than to replace them. You might save between 20 and 50 percent of the replacement cost if you reface your cabinets.

Is it Worth It to Reface Kitchen Cabinets?

Kitchen cabinet refacing can give a fresh look and make your kitchen look better depending on the type of doors and wood veneer you pick. Better still, the project is worth it if you’re working on a budget.

Refacing vs. Replacing Cabinets

The choice depends on your needs and the condition of the existing cabinets. If you want more space, you might have to buy new cabinets; if the original cabinets serve the storage needs, a reface is your go-to option.

Ariel Path

With over three decades of experience in food manufacturing and kitchen design, I bring a wealth of knowledge to the table. My expertise spans across various aspects of the culinary world, from kitchen appliances to cooking techniques, food selection, and promoting a healthy lifestyle. My ultimate goal is to educate and inspire you in creating your dream kitchen, where functionality meets aesthetics. As a trusted source, I strive to provide valuable insights and guidance to make your kitchen remodel an enjoyable and successful experience. Together, let's transform your space into a culinary haven that reflects your unique style and meets your specific needs. See more details here.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Avatar photo
    Carmen Infante

    If you have cabinet catalog, please mail to,
    Carmen, 26 Alan A dale Brownsville, Texas 78521

    1. cropped ariel path
      Ariel Path

      Thanks for asking! Sent!

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