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Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

For New Cabinets That Cost Less Don't Replace, Reface

If you're tired of your old, out of date kitchen cabinets but don't want to spend thousands of dollars on new ones, cabinet refacing offers an attractive and affordable solution. By replacing the major aesthetic components of your kitchen cabinets, you'll have cabinets that look new at a fraction of the cost of replacement.

What is Refacing?

Refacing kitchen cabinets involves removing and replacing all parts except for the existing cabinet box (the structure that the cabinet doors and drawers are attached to). The process, which should take a day or two to complete, is performed in the following manner:
  • After the cabinets have been stripped down to the box, a finish that matches the new doors and drawer faces you've chosen for the project are glued and nailed to the face frames and side panels, then the nail holes are filled with matching wood filler. New base cabinet kickplates are installed, and any visible parts of the underside of the upper cabinets are also finished.
  • The new doors and drawer faces are attached to the freshly-finished cabinet boxes. If you are having trouble with your door hinges or drawer tracks, it makes sense to replace them as part of refacing.

Refacing Options

There are endless ways to customize your cabinets during a refacing project. Dozens of different woods are available for doors and drawers and hundreds of cabinet finish colors and styles are also offered. For finish options (remember, a finish that matches your new cabinet doors and drawer faces is applied to all exposed cabinet sections, including the face frames, side panels, and underside of top cabinets), there are 3 major types to choose from. The first is a wood veneer, while the other two are synthetic materials. Below you'll find more details about each.

Natural Wood Veneer:

  • Wood veneers are easily matched to the drawers and doors you choose for your cabinets.
  • While synthetic finishes might fool people from a distance, up close nothing matches the look and feel of real wood.

Plastic Laminates:

  • Extremely durable, plastic laminates hold up well against physical damage as well as stains. Laminates can be made in any color and design.
  • Laminate products are available in hundreds of different grain patterns, so finding one to match your doors and drawers should be no problem.

Rigid Thermofoil:

  • This material is made from an extremely malleable vinyl foil that's pressure-molded over a substrate for perfect adhesion.
  • The main benefit of thermofoil is its versatility. The material is available in a wide variety of colors and patterns, including realistic wood grain, stone, and metallic finishes. Thermofoils are also very durable.

Other Refacing Considerations

  • Make sure that the scope of the job includes finishing the inside edges of the cabinet faces as well as any shelving inside the cabinet boxes. These small details often get overlooked but have a big impact on the overall outcome of the job.
  • Once your cabinets have been refaced, you can choose to have your old handles and pulls reinstalled or instead decide to go with new opener hardware.
  • Refacing is a particularly good option for older cabinets, which tend to be better-built than those sold in modern mega hardware stores. With a solid box in place, there's no reason to start over with brand new cabinets.

Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Costs

The following prices are based on an average-sized kitchen containing 10-12 cabinets. Refacing large storage cabinets (5-7 feet tall), islands, and/or a larger number of cabinets will add to the project cost.
  • A typical cabinet refacing job using wood veneer costs between $4,000 and $5,000. Costs, however, can reach as high as $8,000 for top-of-the-line materials and hardware.
  • Using rigid thermofoils for a refacing finish will cost $3,500 to $4,500.
  • Plastic laminate refacing is the cheapest of the three finishing options. Using this product on your cabinets will cost $3,000 to $4,000.

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