Replace, Reface, Or Refinish?

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If you're remodeling your kitchen and bathrooms, cabinets will likely be one of your biggest investments. So you'll want to be sure you make a choice you can be happy with for years to come. Should you replace, reface, or refinish your kitchen and bathroom cabinets?

In making a decision you should consider:

  • how much the project will cost
  • how much time it will take
  • and how much value it will add to your home.

Shop around for cabinets that suit your taste and your needs while fitting your budget. Do you need more kitchen storage? Additional cabinets? Or maybe you have more than enough cabinets and want to consider removing some of them in exchange for a more open and spacious kitchen.

For the most effective kitchen makeover, be sure to include items like countertops, hardware, floor covering, lighting, and wall and ceiling paint in your remodeling plan.

wood cabinets

Replace Your Cabinets

Examine your cabinet frames and drawers. Are they in good shape? No major damage to the wood, joints intact and solid? If this is not the case, then replacing some or all of your cabinets is probably your best option. This is also the way to go if you want to add more storage or reconfigure the layout of your kitchen. Bear in mind, this approach involves major demolition and installation work and often requires modification to the plumbing and appliance placement. This tends to be the most costly option, as well as the most time consuming, usually involving a period of several weeks in which your kitchen will be out of commission.

There are three levels of cabinet customization:

Stock cabinets: Mass-produced and available through your local home improvement center and cabinet dealers. This is basically a “one size fits all” approach, with little or no modifications possible. However, there are a wide variety of stock cabinets available through multiple manufacturers. If you find something you like, this is a way to reap significant cost savings.

Semi-custom cabinets: This option allows for slight modifications at the time of production, usually regarding the cabinet dimensions. There is a wider variety of associated moldings, trims and finishes available. Semi-custom cabinets generally carry a higher price tag than stock cabinets.

Custom cabinets: Created to your specifications and designed to fit the needs of your kitchen exactly, with pricing determined by complexity of design and materials used. This is the most expensive option, but if you have the desire and you have the cash, this may be the choice for you.

Reface Your Cabinets

If your cabinet frames and drawers are solid, but their faces are in bad shape or outdated or just not to your liking, then refacing is your best alternative. First, your old doors, drawer faces and moldings will be removed and the cabinets will be prepared for new exteriors. Next, all exteriors of the cabinets will be covered with new material such as real wood or a laminate so that it will match the new doors. And lastly, new custom-built doors, drawer faces and moldings will be installed. New counter tops can also be installed at this time if desired. You will end up with a kitchen that looks as good as if the cabinets had been entirely replaced, and for only 1/3 to 1/2 the cost, and in a fraction of the time. Instead of several weeks your cabinet refacing should usually be done in only 2 to 4 days!

There are three materials most used in kitchen refacing projects. These are 1) plastic laminates, 2) wood veneer and 3) rigid thermofoils.

Plastic laminate is the least expensive option. It also has the lowest quality in overall appearance. The wood grains aren’t very convincing. It’s fairly easy to tell the difference between the laminates and natural wood, even from a distance.

Wood veneer has the most realistic appearance of the three. It is the most popular choice for adding the beauty and warmth of wood to the kitchen. It is also the most expensive option in refacing. Wood veneer is available in nearly every wood tone. The most popular are maple, oak, birch and cherry woods.

Rigid thermofoils are the newest material used in remodeling cabinetry. These consist of fiberboard material covered with a pressure molded vinyl foil. The wood grains are far more realistic in appearance when compared to plastic laminates.

Rigid thermofoils are much more pliable than laminates. They can be molded into a wide range of styles. This allows for more decorative options in the cabinet doors. They can be molded into raised panels or arches. More detail can be added with this material. The cost is higher than plastic laminates, but lower than wood veneers.

Regardless of the materials chosen, you can choose to add conveniences such as lazy susans, pull-out drawers and shelves, drop-down soap pad storage for sinks, pull-out trash / recycle bins, and drawer dividers.

cabinet refacing cabinet refacing cabinet refacing
painted/refinished cabinets

Refinish Your Cabinets

What if your cabinets are still solid, and you like their style and layout but not their color, or maybe the finish look old and worn out. Well, if they're made of wood or laminate, refinishing them may be your best option. Most older cabinetry is well built, so why replace it if you don't have to?

Before refinishing, your cabinets will be thoroughly cleaned to remove all dirt and grime. The existing finish will be removed, and the cabinets well sanded.

The new finish can then be applied, followed by a top coat to protect the cabinets from moisture, grease, and surface oil.

Finally, the existing knobs and pulls can be replaced with something more to your liking.

If you decide that refacing is the right option for you, or would like to get some input and a free estimate from an experienced professional, Pretty Kitchens is just a phone call or an email away. We provide excellent service and courteous and respectful installations by licensed and insured installers.

Our pricing is very competitive. In fact it may be as much as 40% lower than our competition. So check out some examples of our work. See what some of our satisfied customers have to say. And when you're ready to take the next step, call us at (818) 571-6994 or use our contact form to schedule a free in-home estimate.