Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Cabinet Refacing Vs. Cabinet Replacement

by Kirk Bangstad
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

Kitchen cabinet refacing is not the same as cabinet replacement, although both can be cheaper than buying entirely new kitchen cabinets.

Because kitchen cabinets often set the tone of a kitchen, they get a lot of attention from kitchen remodeling retailers. This attention comes in the way of service categories that can be confusing to the untrained home improvement novice. There are three basic ways to change the look of your kitchen cabinets:

  1. Install New Cabinets
  2. Cabinet Replacement
  3. Cabinet Refacing

Let's start with the easiest one first--installing entirely new cabinets. This is pretty self-explanatory, but often gets confused with the second option, cabinet replacement. Cabinet replacement consists of removing cabinet doors and drawers, installing new ones, and then staining the whole cabinet to make it look new once again. This process doesn't change the basic infrastructure of your old kitchen cabinets, but replaces parts that show the most wear and tear. This project is obviously cheaper than installing new cabinets because there is a lot less work involved.

Kitchen Cabinet Refacing -- Cheaper Than Replacement

Cabinet refacing is even cheaper than cabinet replacement. These two projects are often confused with one another, and the work done on either project often overlaps. Strictly speaking, kitchen cabinet refacing involves affixing a wooden or laminate veneer to the surface of an old cabinet door. This veneer can be made from very high quality wood, but because it is so thin, it costs much less than a new replacement cabinet door made from the same material. If you opt for a strict kitchen cabinet refacing job, you'll only receive new surface veneers for your cabinet doors, and you'll keep your old cabinet drawers. Both projects share overlapping services. In either project, contractors will still offer to stain the entire cabinet to match new wood colors to old, and they'll install new hardware such as handles and hinges.

As you can see, there are a number of options when it comes to changing the look of your kitchen cabinets, and these options often need a little clarification. At the end of the day, if you're looking for the cheapest way to spruce up your kitchen cabinets, you should opt for a cabinet refacing job.


About the Author
Kirk Bangstad is an artist manager and singer working in Chicago, IL. His previous experience includes consulting for technology companies in the Silicon Valley and serving as a field director and publicist for a statewide political campaign. Kirk holds a B.A. in government from Harvard University.

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