What's possible when refacing cabinets?
by Karl Fendelander
Face Your Kitchen Columnist
The decision to either reface or replace your kitchen cabinets isn't always an easy one. Clearly, if the cabinets are falling apart and off the wall, it's time for a complete replacement. By the same token, if they still work great but they're ugly as sin, refacing is clearly the way to go. But if your cabinets are in an in-between phase, here are a few pointers to help you find your way out of the gray area:
- Consider the layout: If the cabinets aren't in the right place, simply making them look nicer isn't going to help at all. If, on the other hand, the vast majority of the cabinets are in good spots, you've got something to work with. A good refacing contractor can take out a poorly placed cabinet here and build a new, matching one there.
- Check out the integrity: All ugliness, peeling veneer and terrible hardware aside, how structurally sound are the cabinet boxes? If you can pound on them and load them up with dishes without them rattling around on the wall, flexing like they're about to fall off, chances are good that your cabinets can be refaced.
- Assess the damage: Panels crack. Drawers break. Wood near water rots. If your cabinets are mostly in good condition but there are a few larger pieces of wood -- or whole cabinets -- that need to be replaced, your contractor could still make the repairs and reface over them rather than replacing everything outright.
- Think about your budget: It can cost a lot more to replace, rather than reface, your cabinets. When you're on the fence, budget is a good reason to tip one way or the other. Don't base your decision to reface or replace solely on price, but keep it in mind.
- Get real: Are you just tired of looking at the ugly yellow stain? Or is really time to tear everything out, sandblast the whole kitchen and start over? All too often, the hideousness of part of a home can cause rash behavior and judgment. Consider what the design would look like with a different varnish, a fresh coat of paint, or a new door.
Talk to a bonded, licensed and insured* contractor about your options and the possibilities before choosing to drop thousands of dollars on one solution or another.
*See terms and conditions: http://www.streetcertified.com/about/Terms.jsp
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