The Kitchen Cabinet Makeover

Three Different Ways to Update Your Cabinets

What if your kitchen needs more than a few touch ups? Specifically, what if your cabinets are looking a little dull, or they haven’t fully emerged from the 80s? In this case, I suggest you take a step up the kitchen remodel ladder and invest in what I like to call the “Kitchen Cabinet Makeover”.

The kitchen cabinet makeover comes in three flavors: refinishing existing cabinets, refacing existing cabinets, or replacing the cabinets altogether.

Refinishing existing cabinets is the least work intensive (i.e. least expensive) option of the three and entails sanding or stripping the old finish from the cabinet doors and then either painting or staining them.  Most clients also opt for new handles or pulls to complete the cabinet transformation. The total cost of refinishing will typically run $3,000 – $6,000 depending on how many cabinets the kitchen has, what kind of new finish is selected ,what type of new handles are chosen and if the project includes any additional small adjustments.

Refacing is more involved and, of course, more expensive. This process involves replacing the existing cabinet door and drawer fronts (the most expensive part of the cabinet), and refacing or veneering new material to the fronts and sides of the cabinets that are exposed.   If the client chooses a real wood replacement product, then it will need to be finished to match the color scheme of the new kitchen. Almost all clients who choose the refacing option also plunk down the extra bucks for new handles and pulls.  The refacing option typically starts at $8,000 and only goes up from there depending on the size and shape of the kitchen and the type of replacement door the client selects. It is not uncommon to see a final bill between $10,000 and $15,000.

Many people don’t realize that the costs of new cabinets without tear out and installation is often about the same price as refacing the old cabinets.  Consider also the return on investment. Refacing may yield a 10 to 15 year ROI, whereas new cabinets have a life cycle of 25 to 30 years. Also, if more than a few simple cabinet alterations are required along with refacing, the cost benefits of refacing quickly diminish.  Often, refacing is not the best value for your remodeling dollars, although for some, it is still a great solution, especially if resale or a short term investment is being considered.

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One Response to “The Kitchen Cabinet Makeover”

  1. In addition to price, one of the major selling points to refacing is that it takes less time than replacing. It’s very important to stay out of the kitchen for extended periods of time, so time can be a deciding factor.

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