Cabinet Refacing: A Budget-Friendly Option for Kitchen Remodeling

by James Florence
white kitchen cabinets

By refacing your cabinets’ existing structure, you can give your kitchen a fresh look for a fraction of the cost. Photo: Diablo Valley Cabinetry ©2020

Replacing cabinetry is often the most expensive part of a kitchen remodeling project. If you’re on a tight budget or you simply don’t want to spend a lot of money, a good alternative to consider is having your cabinets refaced. By adding new doors and drawer fronts over your cabinets’ existing structure, you can give your kitchen a fresh look for a fraction of the cost.

Refacing is essentially a facelift for your kitchen cabinets—everything on the exterior is updated while the underlying structure stays the same. A typical refacing job includes the following measures:

  • Repainting the exterior of the cabinets
  • Replacing cabinet doors and drawer fronts
  • Replacing door hinges with “soft-close” hinges
  • Installing new handles/knobs

You can also choose additional options such as replacing the drawer boxes/slide hardware and repainting the interior of the cabinets.


Too good to be true?

Understandably, some homeowners are leery about cabinet refacing as an alternative to cabinet replacement. Some worry that their existing cabinets are unsalvageable, while others are concerned that they won’t be able to get all the features they want. The reality is that the vast majority of cabinets are absolutely worth refacing, and homeowners who choose to reface can get most of (if not all) the features they’re looking for.

There are two basic types of kitchen cabinetry: framed cabinets and frameless cabinets. In the United States, 99 out of 100 kitchen cabinets are framed, so it’s likely yours are, too. The good news is that framed cabinets are extremely sturdy, which makes them ideal for refacing. As long as the integrity of its structure is intact, a set of cabinets can be easily refaced without sacrificing quality.


refaced kitchen cabinets

Besides being less expensive than cabinet replacement, cabinet refacing requires a much shorter timeline to complete. Photo: Diablo Valley Cabinetry ©2020

Three Reasons to Reface Your Cabinets

If you’re still not convinced, consider these three benefits of cabinet refacing:


1. Reduced cost
The cost of cabinet refacing is less than half the cost of installing brand-new cabinets. Not only is there less labor and materials involved, you don’t even have to pull a permit, which saves more money. Plus, you don’t have to replace other kitchen components like countertops or backsplashes, nor do you have to worry about upgrading old, out-of-code electrical or plumbing components, which are both common requirements of a full cabinet replacement.


2. Reduced timeline
Installing new kitchen cabinets can take up to four times as long as refacing. Besides the time it takes to install the cabinets, you also have to consider the time needed to install new countertops and other related components, not to mention the increased lead time for cabinet design and construction. All told, it typically takes a couple of months to install new cabinets, whereas the average refacing job can be completed within a couple of weeks.


3. Increased resale value
Due to the substantially lower cost, a quality refacing job can bring a much higher return when it comes to selling your home. If you install brand-new cabinets, you’ll be lucky if you recoup your expenses at all, whereas with refacing, you’re much more likely to make a profit.

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