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What is Cabinet Refacing?

Here’s a conundrum many homeowners face: While your cabinets look dated and out of style due to their age, the cabinets themselves continue to perform perfectly from a functional perspective. You have to choose between getting rid of good cabinets or making do with yesterday’s looks. Luckily, thanks to cabinet refacing, there is also a third option.

How Does Cabinet Refacing Work?

The concept is simple. Instead of replacing all of your cabinets, you just replace the face of them – the parts people can see. Thanks to cabinet refacing, cabinets look new even though most of the internal materials are the same.

Refacing cabinets involves replacing a number of elements. Most importantly, you need to replace the cabinet doors and drawer fronts with new versions sized to fit your current cabinets. You will also want to replace the cabinet hardware, including hinges and drawer pulls. Lastly, to round out the look, you need to cover the visible parts of the cabinets, including the spaces around doors and on the sides with a veneer that matches the doors and fronts.

Once finished, the cabinets look entirely different. Unless you told someone the project was merely cabinet refacing, they would think you installed completely new cabinets.

What are the Benefits of Cabinet Refacing?

Refacing your cabinets is an alternative to replacing the cabinets entirely. Installing new cabinets costs a lot of money, which is why it takes up so much of the average renovation budget. It also takes a lot of time to rip out old cabinets and hang up new ones. Beginning to end, the project could leave you without a functional kitchen for weeks. Completely replacing cabinets is a big decision for homeowners, which is why a lot of people put up with kitchens they don’t like for years and years.

Cabinet Refacing offers the look and feel of a complete kitchen renovation at a fraction of the cost. By some estimates, it costs about half as much for refacing cabinets compared to opting for a full replacement. It also only takes a couple of days to complete your cabinet refacing project compared to dozens of days for a full replacement. Best of all, if you’re a DIY enthusiast, this is a project you can complete on your own if you feel motivated.

Most people decide to reface their kitchen cabinets because they want to make a big upgrade on a small budget. Since cabinet refacing is so affordable and accessible, homeowners can update their style almost whenever they want. If your kitchen feels like it’s from another era or there is a particular style you find attractive, refacing puts the updates easily within reach.

Is Refacing Always an Option?

Great question. Cabinet refacing is possible with most cabinets. You can evaluate whether your cabinets are good candidates by looking at the construction of the cabinet box. If it’s made of plywood or MDF, panels that have smooth texture and no obvious damage, they can probably hold veneers.

Next, you need to inspect the face frames. Solid wood frames that do not show any signs of rot are fine to continue using. They will hold veneers and provide a firm anchor when you screw in new cabinet hardware. If you have a few damaged frames, it may be possible to replace just those cabinets and reface the rest.

The internal hardware is the last thing to evaluate. This includes the drawer tracks and the shelving equipment. If the hardware is worn out and cannot be replaced, it may not be worth going through with cabinet refacing because the cabinets will look great yet function poorly.

How Do I Get Started?

The first thing to do is spend some time in your kitchen (or bathroom or office or any room with cabinets). Try to figure out what you like the least about the cabinets. If it’s the look, refacing is definitely an option. If you’re unhappy with the size or the layout, however, you will want to consider replacing the cabinets completely.

Once you know your cabinets are good candidates for refacing, spend some time exploring all the different styles available. There are almost no limits on how you can transform cabinets using new doors, fronts, hardware, and veneers. Pick the style you like – modern, classic, cozy, etc. – as well the color scheme that catches your eye. You have tons of options to consider and many decisions to make, so don’t hesitate to spend some time selecting carefully.

As soon as the design is in place, you’re ready to start ordering materials. The cabinet doors and fronts are the biggest and boldest part of your cabinet refacing project, so why not start there? Measure the height and width of all the doors and fronts you want to replace. Ordering custom cabinet doors makes refacing a lot easier because your new doors are cut to be the exact same size as your current doors.

Custom doors and fronts are probably not as expensive as you expect either. If you order direct from a manufacturer like, you can keep the cost of refacing as low as possible. When you’re ready to make progress on your project, contact us.