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Published: August 15, 2010

Tip 5 Reface Existing Cabinets or Replace

This question comes up a lot and especially with economy as it is, all of us are looking for less expensive alternatives with our remodeling choices.  The purpose of this article is simply to share some of  the factual pros and cons of refacing your existing cabinets versus replacing them with new ones.   Then you make your own personal choice which is best for you and perhaps provides the best overall value for your remodeling investment.  There are some reasons why refacing may be a good choice however there are many reasons why refacing in many cases simply does not offer as good of a return on your investment.

Refacing is simply a beautification of the existing cabinetry you can take an old painted cabinet of yesteryear and turn it into looking like the new custom cherry cabinets of today.  Refacing usually is less expensive than replacing the cabinets but in its own right it is not inexpensive many kitchen refacing  projects can easily cost over $10,000.   A kitchen remodel project that refaces the existing cabinets usually takes less time than tearing out the old kitchen and starting over.  If you have some of the following conditions then refacing might be a consideration:

    1. Existing cabinets that are not more than 30 years old.
    2. Original cabinets of  higher quality than track home builders grade. (Is it prudent to spend 10K on 3k cabinets?)
    3. You have functional kitchen layout with nothing you feel needs to be fixed or improved with layout alterations.
    4. Perhaps you or someone else has already invested in an expensive stone counter top you wish to keep.
    5. Is this property a short term investment.  Lets give it a face lift  helping us to sell the property within 5 years.

Now lets look at the other side and see what refacing does not accomplish for us.  Most of us can appreciate that we tend to get what we pay for.  Refacing does not usually alter the cabinet interior so it is still painted or raw particle board or whatever was there before.  Maybe a cabinet without a back exposing the painted  drywall. The worst is possible the old cabinets have fixed shelving as all new cabinets now have adjustable shelves.

It is also interesting that the cost of replacing the doors, drawer fronts, hinges, the fronts and sides of the cabinet box which is the most expensive portion of a cabinet and the labor to apply this material actually in many cases ends up being some more expensive than the cost of just the new cabinets.  Where the additional costs come in is the demo of the existing kitchen; the installation of the new cabinets and then of course the cost to make alterations and relocate appliances and actually modernize and improve the functionality of  your kitchen.  Maybe we are even considering thinking outside the box removing walls and extending the kitchen out into additional space.   Let's list some of the reasons or befits for replacing the cabinets:

    1. The ability to modernize your kitchen and  improve the functionality of our kitchen.
    2. Each of our families are different with very different lifestyles; a new cabinet layout can personalize the space to meet your individual needs and have the outcome of your project provide you more and enrich your lifestyle.
    3. Increase the resale value of your home even above what a simple reface would do.  In San Diego we expect about a 93% return on our investment with a complete kitchen remodel that refacing will not provide.
    4. With new cabinets we expect a 20 to 30 year life cycle for the project while refacing may only offer 5 to 15 years.
    5. The new cabinets come with many optional convenience accessories, also adjustable shelving,  if the designer is any good he or she should easily be able to improve storage in several areas of the kitchen especially in corners and over the refrigerators.

If your remodeling plans already include new flooring and counter tops and refacing the cabinets then adding as little as 5k to 15K  and replacing the cabinets will certainly offer more dividends with your homes investment dollars.  There are other ins and outs with fully researching what is best for you and seeking the consultation of a certified designer to discuss it more fully really is warranted because in either option you are spending tens of thousand of dollars and at the end of the day surely you will want to know why you chose on over the other and be completely satisfied with the final results.  Here at K B Design and Remodeling we offer this in home consultation free of charge.   So if you have any questions regarding kitchen, bath remodeling or other general home repairs please feel free to call  us we will be happy to answer them possibly even over the phone.  We are here to help you any way we can.  Hope this article was helpful to those who read it as always we appreciate any feed back you can offer us.  Until next time your friendly kitchen and bath designer.  Frank D. Edwards, CKD, CBD, CR.

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