Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Cabinet resurfacing: the affordable kitchen remodel

by Roger Diez
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

Cabinets set the tone of your kitchen. They are the key element that defines the room's style, color scheme and overall ambiance. So if you have decided that cabinet resurfacing is part of your kitchen makeover, you need to select the materials carefully for their aesthetic appeal as well as their functionality.

Cabinet resurfacing choices

No matter which of the many kitchen cabinet styles you have in your kitchen, refacing is a much less expensive option than replacing cabinets. If you keep your existing cabinet doors, you can repaint or restain them; or you can resurface them with rigid thermofoil (RTF), plastic laminate or wood veneer.

  1. Painted cabinets can give your kitchen a modern or European look, while stained wood is used in traditional, country, or Craftsman style kitchens. If you paint, be sure to use a low-VOC or VOC-free paint, and apply several coats for a high-gloss finish.
  2. RTF is durable and can mimic paint or wood. It is also the least expensive option for resurfacing cabinet doors.
  3. Plastic laminate gives you more texture, color, and grain options, and is only slightly less expensive than RTF.
  4. Real wood veneer is more expensive, but has a richer, warmer feel. If you keep your old doors and purchase wood veneer in sheets, the cost will range from under $2 per square foot to over $16 per square foot, depending on the type of wood.

Don't forget to consider new hinges, handles and pulls that complement your cabinet style. They typically cost between $2 and $15 apiece, depending on material and intricacy.

Replacing cabinet doors

If you want to change the style of your cabinets, replacing the doors may be a better option. This is particularly true if you prefer a style that includes intricate designs or depth variations in the surface. Finished wood replacement doors start at under $10 per square foot for paint grade, and go up to nearly $30 per square foot for finished woods. You can save 40 to 50 percent when you buy unfinished doors and finish them yourself.

A cabinet refacing contractor will typically give you a quote on both labor and materials. If you do the job yourself, be aware that cutting and installing veneers require special tools, which adds to your cost.



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