Architectural Home Designs & Decorating Ideas

The Complete Guide to Refacing Your Kitchen Cabinets on a Budget

Gabriela Connell
4 minute read

Is your kitchen looking tired and dated, but you don’t have the budget for a full remodel? Refacing your existing kitchen cabinets can give them a fresh, updated look for a fraction of the cost of new cabinets. This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know, from materials and costs to DIY steps and hiring a pro. Read on to learn how cabinet refacing can transform your kitchen without breaking the bank.

Kitchen cabinet refacing involves replacing cabinet doors, drawers, and hardware to give worn cabinets a makeover. The cabinet boxes stay in place, saving demolition time and cost. With some new doors and a coat of paint, old cabinets look completely refreshed. Refacing costs 30-50% less than full cabinet replacement.

Materials Used for Refacing Kitchen Cabinets

Wood Veneers

cost of kitchen cabinet refacing

Wood veneer cabinet doors provide a traditional, natural look. Oak and maple are popular wood veneer options. The downside is that wood scratches and dents more easily than laminates. Expect to pay $50-150 per door, making wood veneers a mid-range cost option.

Wood veneer refacing is ideal if you want the warmth of real wood without the cost of all-wood cabinets. The veneers are an affordable way to get the beautiful wood look.


Laminate doors have a plastic coating fused to a composite backing. Laminates resist scratches and dings better than real wood. They come in countless colors and patterns, allowing great customization.

At $35-100 per door, laminates are generally the most budget-friendly refacing choice. Laminate provides durability and ample style options at wallet-friendly prices.


Thermofoil cabinet doors have a plastic film coating applied under high heat. The fused finish resists damage from moisture, impact, and wear and tear. These ultra durable doors retain their like-new sheen for years.

From $45-120 per door, thermofoil is cost competitive with veneers and laminates. The almost indestructible finish makes it a smart long-term investment.

Estimated Costs of Refacing Your Kitchen

Factors That Impact Cost

The size of your kitchen and the complexity of your cabinet layout play a role in refacing costs. More cabinets equal higher total costs. Specialty cabinets like lazy susans also add expense. The materials you select also impact the budget.

Hiring a contractor costs more than doing it yourself but saves labor time and hassle. Expect to pay 30-50% of full replacement costs if hiring a pro.

Typical Price Ranges

For a 10×10′ kitchen with 10 cabinet doors, prices range from:

Bigger kitchens can cost $6,000-$15,000 or more. Refacing a 20-door kitchen yourself using mid-range materials would be $2,000-$4,000.

Step-by-Step Process for DIY Cabinet Refacing

Supplies Needed

DIY refacing requires tools like a screwdriver, pry bar, and sandpaper. You’ll also need new doors, drawer fronts, and hardware. Include primer, paint, and polyurethane for finishing exposed cabinet boxes.

Removing Old Components

First, remove existing doors, drawers, and hardware. Number pieces to ensure proper reinstallation. Use a pry bar if needed. Next, clean cabinet box surfaces, sand away flaws, and prep for painting.

Installation and Refinishing Steps

Install new doors, drawers, and hardware per included instructions. Check alignments are correct. Paint and finish exposed cabinet box surfaces and sides to match your new doors and drawers.

Let paint fully cure before hanging new doors. Finally, reinstall any shelving, fittings, and kitchenware.

Hiring a Professional Refacing Contractor

Benefits of Hiring a Pro

Pro refacing contractors have specialized skills to complete projects efficiently. They also handle cleaning up construction mess. Many contractors offer warranties on labor and materials.

Questions to Ask Contractors

When getting quotes, ask contractors:

Get references from past clients and check reviews.

Estimating Contractor Costs

With materials, labor, and profit margins, contractors often charge around $200 per door. Higher end materials and specialty installs cost more. Narrow your quotes down to 2-3 reputable contractors before deciding.

Refacing vs. New Cabinets: Pros and Cons

Advantages of Refacing

Drawbacks of Refacing

For a cheaper, quicker kitchen update, refacing often wins out. But replacing cabinets allows more custom options. Assess your budget, timeline, and design needs.

FAQs About Refacing Kitchen Cabinets

What is involved in cabinet refacing?

The process involves replacing doors, drawers, and hardware. Cabinet boxes are cleaned, repaired, and painted. Old components are removed and new pieces installed.

How long does a refacing project take?

DIY refacing takes 2-4 weeks working on weekends. Hiring a pro, the project typically takes 5-7 business days from start to finish.

Can I change my cabinet layout when refacing?

No, with refacing the cabinet boxes and layout remain unchanged. Only the exterior surfaces are altered.

Will refaced cabinets last as long as new cabinets?

Durability depends on materials used and quality of installation. Refacing has a lower upfront cost but may need replacing sooner than new cabinets.

Is refacing worth the investment?

For a kitchen needing cosmetic improvements but not layout changes, refacing offers big visual impact for less money in a shorter timeline.

Refacing delivers an affordable kitchen update on a budget. Balance cost savings with design limitations to decide if it fits your needs. Use quality materials and skilled installers for optimal results. With some new doors and paint, you can transform your old cabinets with a fresh, like-new look.