Save Thousands Refacing Your Kitchen Cabinets Instead of Full Replacement
Are your kitchen cabinets dated and worn but a full remodel is out of your budget? Refacing your existing cabinets can transform the look for much less cost.
Refacing replaces cabinet doors, drawer fronts and hardware while keeping the existing cabinet boxes. This update costs 50-70% less than tearing out your old cabinets and replacing with all new. Read on to learn why refacing deserves serious consideration for renovating without breaking the bank.
Refacing Costs Half as Much as Full Replacement
A full kitchen cabinet replacement involves removing your old cabinets, preparing new openings, and installing built-from-scratch cabinetry. Refacing leaves boxes in place and upgrades exterior surfaces.
For a typical mid-sized kitchen with 15 linear feet of cabinetry, here is how the costs compare:
Full Replacement Costs
- New cabinet boxes: $5,000
- Doors, drawers, hardware: $3,500
- Labor for removal, prep work, installation: $4,500
- Total for 15 linear feet: $13,000
- New doors, drawers, hardware: $3,500
- Labor for installation only: $1,500
- Total for 15 linear feet: $5,000
By keeping your existing cabinet boxes, refacing saves you almost $8,000 on this sample kitchen. Your actual cost will depend on factors like location and choices of materials and hardware.
What Parts Get Refaced
An ideal refacing project includes:
- New cabinet doors and drawer fronts
- Updated hinges and pulls/knobs
- Replacement of any damaged end panels or trimwork
The cabinet boxes and interior shelving remain intact. You can replace the doors and drawers with any style and finish you like to give your kitchen a fresh new look.
Door Material Options
Popular door materials include:
- Wood – oak, maple, cherry
- Thermofoil – durable laminate
- Laminate – affordable, hundreds of colors/patterns
- Glass – for an open, airy look
Door Style Choices
Consider these door styles:
- Shaker – classic, simple lines
- Slab – flat center panel
- Flat panel – decorative center panel
- Raised panel – traditional, ornate center
Benefits of Refacing Over Cabinet Replacement
Beyond the cost savings, refacing offers additional advantages:
- Less demolition – cabinets remain in place
- Eco-friendly – reuse existing boxes
- Faster timeline – less labor intensive
- Ideal for good “bones” but dated look
- Minor update, not major remodel
If your layout works but your cabinets are worn, refacing lets you update the look without the mess and expense of full replacement.
Downsides of Refacing vs Replacement
Refacing isn’t the right choice if:
- Your cabinets are in poor structural condition
- You want to significantly change the footprint
- You desire a total custom look
For minor layout tweaks or customization, some contractors can modify existing cabinet boxes during the refacing process.
Still Unsure? Consider this FAQ
What offers the best value?
For a quality upgrade without breaking the bank, refacing often provides the best bang for your buck.
How long does a refacing project take?
Most kitchen refacing jobs take 5-7 days from start to finish. Replacing cabinets typically takes at least double that time.
Can I modify my layout?
Limited layout changes are possible, like removing a bank of cabinets to open the space. Complex alterations are easier with full replacement.
How do I choose a good contractor?
Look for an experienced professional with refacing examples and client references. They should handle all necessary carpentry work.
Existing cabinet boxes have years of useful life left. Refacing provides a budget-friendly update to get your kitchen looking fresh and new again.
Before investing in a full replacement, be sure to get quotes for refacing. You might be able to achieve the transformation you want for thousands less. With some strategic updates, you can have the kitchen of your dreams on a real-world budget.