Kitchen Cabinets: Should You Replace or Reface?

When you’re ready to revitalize your kitchen with fresh cabinets, you have two options: reface or replace. Both options have pros and cons, and it’s up to you to decide which is the better choice based on your needs, wants, and resources. Before you select one way or the other, learn more about both options.

Kitchen Cabinet Refacing – Positives and Negatives

At the start, we should explain exactly what kitchen cabinet refacing means. All cabinets consist of a box (the inside of the cabinet) and a face (the outside front of the cabinet – the part you actually see). When you reface kitchen cabinets, you replace only the “exterior” parts of the cabinets and keep the existing boxes underneath. That entails replacing the cabinets doors and drawer fronts, and possibly putting new paint, stain, or veneers on the parts of the cabinet face the doors don’t cover. You choose how much or little you want to reface, but in all cases, you work on only the outside of the cabinets and keep everything else the same. Advantages and disadvantages of kitchen cabinet refacing include:

Advantage – Cost: Refacing costs significantly less than replacing cabinet doors, and less than you would expect considering how much it improves and updates the look of your cabinetry. You don’t need a massive budget to make your cabinets – and by extension your whole kitchen – look how you want them to. Think of it like doing a major kitchen renovation for a fraction of the cost.

Disadvantage – Impact: You can change a lot with refacing, but not everything. Your cabinets will still be the same size and shape as they were before and will likely hold the same things too. If you’re looking to totally transform a space, meaning making fundamental changes to the layout and functional features, you will only be able to do so much with refacing.

Advantage – Simplicity: It doesn’t take expertise or experience to reface your own kitchen cabinets, especially if you’re just replacing the doors and drawer fronts. Removing old doors and hanging up replacements is a simple and even fun DIY project you can do in an afternoon, which saves you the time of waiting for a contractor and the cost of paying for one too.

Disadvantage – Longevity: Refacing updates the look of kitchen cabinets but it doesn’t necessarily extend the life. Since you’re just replacing the front or outside part of the cabinet, the box underneath providing the structure and support is still the same age. And when the box wears out, you will need to replace the entire cabinet.
 

Replacing Kitchen Cabinet Doors – Positives and Negatives

When people debate whether to reface kitchen cabinets or replace them, starting from scratch with brand-new cabinets often sounds like the better option. But it’s also a major home improvement project – the kind you don’t want to dive into without carefully considering the advantages and disadvantages first:

Advantage – All-New: When you replace your kitchen cabinets, you upgrade literally everything about them: the face, the box, the style, and all the materials. Quality cabinets can last for decades, so when you install new ones in your kitchen, you’re making an essential home improvement that you can expect to enjoy for years to come.

Disadvantage – Cost: New cabinets come with a hefty price tag, especially when you factor in all the related costs. First, you have to remove and dispose of the old cabinets, which might mean paying for laborers or a construction dumpster. Then you need to pay for the cabinets themselves. Even on the low-end, new cabinets for an entire kitchen cost thousands of dollars, and the cost rises quickly depending on the size of your space or the quality of the materials and craftsmanship. Finally, unless you have experience installing cabinets, you likely need to hire professionals to ensure the work is done right. Keep the full cost in mind as you’re planning a project budget.

Advantage – Change: If you’re unhappy with the layout or size of your existing cabinets, replacing them lets you scrap a design that doesn’t work and replace it with one tailored to your needs and wants. In the debate over whether to reface or replace kitchen cabinets, only the second option lets you fix everything you dislike about your current cabinets.

Disadvantage – Disorder: Replacing kitchen cabinets means shutting your kitchen down from the time the current cabinets get removed until the new ones go up (unless you’re willing or able to cook in a kitchen without cabinets). It also creates a lot of noise and mess in the center of your home. This is par for the course with many home-improvement projects, of course, but it’s important to understand everything involved before the old cabinets start coming down. 

Cabinetdoors.com – Making Your Kitchen Work

Is it worth it to reface cabinets? Absolutely, as long as the boxes underneath still have life in them. And it’s a relatively simple process too when you work with Cabinetdoors.com. We produce cabinet doors in dozens of popular and timeless styles. Each of those doors is custom-built to the exact dimensions you specify so that they’re sure to fit your existing cabinet boxes perfectly. Take some time to explore your options and to learn more about the replacement process. And if you already have design ideas in your head, consider how unfinished cabinet doors could bring them to life. Please Contact Us if you have any questions along the way.