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Do you need new cabinets? Maybe yes, and maybe no. Once the wood degrades past a certain point, replacement is the only option. However, before that point, they may look like they need to be thrown away when they actually have a lot of life left in them. In that case, you could simply refinish or replace your cabinet doors instead of installing entirely new cabinets and save yourself a lot of time and money in the process. Figure out what’s best for your cabinets and your kitchen with this guide of things to consider before buying new cabinets.

A Quick Anatomy of Cabinets

Before we go further, let’s run down the different components of cabinets. The main structural element is the box itself – what you think of when you hear the word “cabinet.” Inside the box are the shelves and other storage elements, which are the main functional element of the cabinet, but the hinges also play a role in how the cabinet “performs.” Finally, the cabinet doors are the primary visual element because they define the “look” of the cabinet and play a huge role in the overall kitchen design. Keep in mind that all these elements are interchangeable, meaning you could put new doors on old boxes, or swap out the hinges you have for nicer soft-close hinges. Instead of thinking about replacing everything, think about replacing the elements that need it most.

Diagnosing Your Cabinet Problem

One of the most important things to consider before buying new cabinets is your motivation. Why do you really want something new? If it’s because your cabinets have serious structural issues – holes in the wood, hanging crooked on the walls, etc. – then your problem is with the boxes. The same is true if your cabinets feel like they’re too small or the wrong shape. In both these cases, replacing the box is the best (or only) option. More common is that you simply don’t like the way the cabinets look because they look dated or are a style you don’t like. That’s actually a good problem to have — it means your issue is with the doors and not the cabinets behind them. With a relatively modest investment of time and money, you could replace those doors and transform your cabinets in the process.

Five Things to Consider before Buying New Cabinets

We don’t mean to discourage you from buying new cabinets. Sometimes, they’re exactly what a kitchen requires. And once they’re installed, they provide an undeniable lift to a space, both functionally and aesthetically. But any complete list of things to consider before buying new cabinets will include the good as well as the bad. With that in mind, here are some things you need to be aware of as you debate whether to buy new cabinets.

  • Budget – Replacing all the cabinets in your kitchen can cost thousands of dollars, and that’s just for the cabinets themselves. You also need to factor in the cost of contractors you hire to hang the cabinets. If the final cost proves to be prohibitive, consider whether replacing just the doors could achieve the same effect as new cabinets but at a fraction of the cost.
  • Timeline – Replacing cabinets doesn’t happen overnight unless you have an extremely dedicated crew. First, they need to remove and dispose of the old cabinets. Then, they need to carefully hang the new ones. It’s a big job, and it may take days or weeks to fully finish. Keep that in mind before you commit to moving forward.
  • Disruption – Without cabinets, you really don’t have a kitchen. That means from the minute demolition work starts, your kitchen is effectively out of commission until the final cabinet is installed. Some people are willing to accommodate this disruption, but others would rather not (or can’t) compromise the comforts of home just to get new cabinets.
  • Assistance – Most homeowners hire professionals to hang new cabinets because it’s important to get things perfect. However, finding a qualified a contractor to work within your timeline and your budget isn’t always easy, and you won’t want to compromise the work by hiring someone you don’t trust. If you plan to proceed, start getting quotes from contractors ASAP.
  • Alternatives – As with most home improvement projects, you have options. New cabinets are one option, but other options include replacing just the doors and hinges, replacing just some of the doors, or stripping and then staining/painting the doors you already have. Just because your kitchen needs an upgrade doesn’t mean new cabinets are the only solution. Get excited about the alternatives too.

Get Cabinet Inspiration from The Door Stop

The Door Stop created this list of things to consider before buying new cabinets. As the Internet’s leading producer and supplier of custom-built cabinet doors, we know when a cabinet is truly past its prime — and it takes a lot longer than people realize. Just because a cabinet looks old doesn’t mean it’s worn out. With a fresh set of replacement doors and a thorough cleaning, those cabinets might continue to perform perfectly for years or decades. If your cabinets are overdue for an update, The Door Stop has everything you need. Explore the impressive options at