Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

How materials affect cabinet refacing costs

by Shannon Lee
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

Cabinet refacing can be a very affordable option; however, exotic woods and unusual materials can drive up the cost. Avoid that unpleasant sticker shock by knowing what to expect from each material you might want to use refacing cabinets.

Cabinet refacing costs depend on the material

You probably already know that some rare hardwoods can cost much more than the usual suspects. But did you know that in some cases, wood cabinets are not as expensive as other materials? Here's a quick primer on what your checkbook can expect.

  1. Laminate. For the most cost-effective option, choose plastic laminate or melamine for your kitchen cabinet refacing project. This sturdy material might not be as attractive as other options, but it offers simple, clean lines and gets the job done.
  2. Wood. There are a wide variety of woods to choose from when designing your cabinet fronts. The more rare or exotic the wood, the higher the price. Solid woods can be expected to cost more than pressed woods or particleboard. Hickory, oak and pine are usually very comparable in price. Cherry typically costs up to 10 percent more than oak, and more unusual woods, such as fir, teak, redwood and the like will usually cost more as well. Some walnut cabinets can cost twice as much as traditional oak or pine.
  3. Stainless steel. This might seem like a cheaper option, but you could be surprised by the hefty price tag. The range of cost often depends on whether the cabinets have some sections made of particleboard. Expect true stainless steel cabinets to be among the most expensive on the market.
  4. Unusual materials. Other materials, such as glass fronts or beadboard inserts, cover a wide range of prices. Much of the bottom line depends on how customized the job is. For instance, stock cabinet doors with glass inserts will usually be much cheaper than inserts that are hand-etched to order.

Finally, keep in mind that the layout of your kitchen and installation challenges can make a difference in the bottom line. Unusual layouts that require more intense labor can add between 4 percent and 12 percent to the cost.

Since prices on cabinet refacing materials vary from one region to the next, these tips are only a starting guide for your research. To get a true estimate of what your cabinet refacing materials will cost, contact a local contractor for detailed information.

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