Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing
 

Refacing kitchen cabinets: cost vs. quality

by Roger Diez
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

Refacing your kitchen cabinets is significantly less expensive than replacing them. However, cabinet refacing cost varies widely, based mainly on two factors: materials and labor. At the low end of the spectrum are more inexpensive materials and a do-it-yourself approach. At the high end are premium materials and an experienced refacing contractor.

Cost vs. value

If you are refacing cabinets in a rental property or vacation cabin, the choice is simple. Use the least expensive materials and do the job yourself or hire a handyman. However, if you are doing it for your own kitchen and plan to live there for a while, you probably want to choose higher quality materials and make sure a professional does the job right. Here are your choices in materials, lowest to highest in cost:

  1. Paint: simple, and the easiest method for the do-it-yourselfer
  2. Rigid thermofoil (RTF): durable, mimics paint or wood, easy to clean
  3. Plastic laminate: less durable than RTF, but more options in colors and grains
  4. Wood veneer: all the advantages and drawbacks of real wood, including expense

Within each category are variations in cost and quality as well. Materials in a 10-by-10 kitchen can run as low as $15 to $25 for paint. Laminate or RTF starts at around $1,000. Real wood veneer costs range from about $1,600 but can go as high as $2,500 or more, depending on the grade of wood and style.

Other cost considerations

Hardware--new hinges, handles, drawer slides, and pulls--can add cost to refacing kitchen cabinets. Cost for hinges and handles can run anywhere from a dollar or two apiece to $15 or more. However, the biggest budget item may well be labor. Cost of installation is typically as high or higher than the material cost, so choose carefully. If you decide to use a contractor, try to get recommendations from people you trust who have done kitchen cabinet refacing. Get references from the contractor and check out work he has done. Verify that the contractor has the proper licensing and insurance, and check them out with the Better Business Bureau.

 

 

 

 





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