Like many homeowners in Louisville, KY you like the layout of your kitchen but you’re ready for a new look. Refacing is an option for any cabinet that is structurally sound and in good condition. This option lets you keep your existing kitchen intact while completely transforming its appearance. This easy renovation can create a better result than painting your cabinets, and is much less expensive than purchasing a whole new set of kitchen cabinets when you’re ready for a new look. 

What Is Cabinet Refacing?

Cabinet refacing simply covers cabinet panels with a new surface rather than replacing them completely. Refacing involves removing the doors and drawer fronts and applying a new veneer to the exterior sides. Typically, the hardware will be replaced as well. The entire process takes about two days and gives your kitchen a whole new look. 

How Do You Know Your Cabinet Needs Refacing?

Deciding whether you should paint, replace, or reface your cabinets can be a tough decision. Kitchen cabinet refinishing is an inexpensive and easy way of renovating kitchen cabinets when you’re not interested in a full-scale remodel. There are some tell-tale signs that can help you decide when a cabinet facelift is exactly your kitchen needs. 

  • Broken Doors – Cracked, broken, or unhinged doors are all signs that it’s time to reface your cabinets. As the central organization tool in your kitchen, you need cabinets that function properly. When you have broken doors, your kitchen looks messy and cluttered. If they are no longer working correctly, it’s time to be refaced. 
  • Upgrading Cabinets with New Storage Solutions – Sometimes the best kitchen upgrades aren’t visible on the outside. If you’re planning to embed storage solutions like drawer peg systems for your cookware, or new organizers for your pots and pans, it might be a good time to resurface. New storage solutions and resurfacing can give you the feel of a brand new kitchen in the same space. \

  • You’re on a Tight Budget – If you want a remodel, but don’t have the cash – refacing can give you the best of both worlds. Cabinet refacing gives your kitchen a whole new look, without the cost, time, or hassle of ripping out the old ones and buying brand new cabinets. 
  • Customization – Sometimes it’s hard to find exactly what you want when shopping for cabinets. Maybe this one is the right quality at the right price but the other option is the color you want. Cabinet refacing allows you to get the cabinets you want, and then reface them to match your style. 

  • You Want Your Kitchen Layout As It Is – If you like your kitchen layout, and the current size of your kitchen works for your family – you may not need a full remodel. In this case, refacing your cabinets and adding in a few updated finishes can give you a full kitchen reboot without the cost or timeline of a remodel. 
  • Your Cabinets Look Outdated – If you live in an older home and the cabinets haven’t been updated in the last 10-15 years, they will likely start to show their age. Outdated cabinets make an outdated kitchen. Refacing can bring your cabinets into the current style and breathe new life into the entire space. 

  • Paint Problems – If you were part of the millions of DIY-ers who thought painting your own cabinets was a good idea, you likely have paint flaking and peeling within months or even weeks after you finished. Any paint problems can be covered up with durable refacing that stands the test of time.

  • Benefits of Refacing Your Cabinet – A complete kitchen overhaul can be expensive and time-consuming. If you’re looking to repair some old appliances or install custom kitchen cabinets, a remodel can become overwhelming. Refacing your cabinets may be the best option to get the results you’re looking for without breaking the bank. 
  • Cost-Effective – Refacing costs about half of what you’d spend for new cabinets. This allows you to put your money into other areas like appliances, countertops, lighting, or a new floor. 
  • Saves Time – A remodel turns your kitchen into a construction side and leaves you with unusable cabinets for several days (or weeks) as they are uninstalled, reinstalled, and the materials are adequately prepared. Refacing is done in a day or two and you can keep using your cabinets throughout the entire process. 
  • Avoids a Mess – Painting your cabinets is a messy endeavor, replacing them creates disaster through both demolition and installation. Refacing your cabinets is a relatively clean process. Most of the cutting is done off-site and doesn’t leave any mess on your end. 
  • More Options for Styles and Finishes – If you’re looking for a specific look, refacing your cabinets is a great way to achieve it. There are literally dozens of different veneer options both for laminates and natural woods. Cabinet resurfacing affords you a variety of choices.

  • Preserves Your Countertops – Replacing your kitchen cabinets poses the high risk of damaging the countertops they are attached to. This is particularly true of quartz or granite countertops. Refacing kitchen cabinets significantly minimizes this risk.
  • Environmentally Friendly – Many cabinet boxes in Louisville, KY are made of MDF, which contains formaldehyde, a hazardous chemical. Refacing your existing cabinets keeps this MDF out of the landfill and also prevents more trees from being cut down to construct new cabinet boxes.
  • It’s a Healthy, Hygienic Option – If there’s a possibility of mold or mildew behind your kitchen cabinets, refacing can help with that too. When your cabinets are refaced, they get a fresh layer or veneer, which can help eradicate mold and mildew without spreading it. 
  • Cover Damage Surface – Cabinets take a lot of abuse around the doors and drawer faces. If your cabinets have dents, cracks, or deep cuts, refacing will bring them back to new by covering up surface damage, stains, smudges, and gives you a fresh new look. 
  • Changing to a Lighter Color – If you want to lighten the color of dark cabinets, that can be very difficult to do with either a stain or a paint. Dark colors tend to bleed through and can’t be covered up without completely sanding them down. Refacing allows you to cover up your existing cabinets with any style or color you’d like to get a clean and polished finish. 
  • Changing Wood Types – You can still get a natural wood look with cabinet refacing. If your existing cabinets are yellowing maple, you can replace them with an oak veneer to give a natural wood finish and still enjoy a much needed upgrade at a fraction of the cost.

The Difference Between Refacing and Refinishing Cabinets

Refacing your kitchen cabinets is not the same as refinishing them. These two processes are vastly different and are not interchangeable. 

  • Refacing (or resurfacing) – This is an actual replacement of all the surfaces of the cabinets that are visible. It includes replacing the doors, hardware, drawer fronts and often drawer boxes as well. 

  • Refinishing – When you refinish your cabinets, you are simply painting or staining to change the finish, or color, and using all your existing materials.

Should You Reface or Replace? 

There are four factors that will help you determine whether you need a resurfacing for your existing cabinets or whether your kitchen is due for a full cabinet replacement. 

1. Do you like your kitchen layout? 

If your kitchen functions perfectly fine, your best option is to reface your cabinets. It is easier than refinishing in many cases and if you’re not looking to install additional storage, you don’t need to purchase brand new cabinets. 

2. Are your cabinets structurally sound?

Check to see if your existing cabinets are still stable. Can you adequately use them as intended without them cracking, pulling away from the wall, or breaking? If not – you may need more than a cosmetic refacing. 

3. Appearance

Refacing your cabinets can give you the appearance you want at a fraction of the cost. However, if you’re doing a full kitchen remodel and upgrading several areas of your kitchen, you may want to speak with a remodeling professional to determine if refacing will be sufficient, or if your remodel plans require new cabinetry. 

4. Cost

If your budget is an important factor in your kitchen remodel, refacing your cabinets can save both money and time. This cost savings allows you to do more with your space and make your dollar reach further.

Cost of Refinishing Cabinets vs. Refacing

If you want to use your existing cabinets to save money on a remodel, your options are to either reface or refinish. 

  • Cost of Refinishing Cabinets – Refinishing kitchen cabinets is the cheapest way to go. It can cost $5 to $10 per square foot, including labor and materials, stain, varnish, lacquer and paint. This could be slightly higher if you choose a glaze for a vintage look. For a typical 10-foot-by-12-foot kitchen, you’re looking at an average cost of around $1,000 – $1,500. 

  • Cost of Cabinet Refacing – A professional cabinet refacing for a similar sized kitchen starts at around $1,000 to $3,000 for laminate, double that for real wood veneer. You must also add in the cost of new pulls, knobs, and hinges, which run $2 to $4 per piece for mid-range hardware. The total cost for refacing would be closer to $4000 or more. 

When compared to the cost of brand-new cabinets, which can easily be over $10,000 – both of these options are a significant cost savings. 

The Refacing Process

Cabinet refacing is an acquired skill that should be tackled by a professional. While installing new cabinet doors and drawer fronts is fairly easy, veneering is not always DIY-friendly. 

  • Consultation – The first step is a consultation with one of our professional remodel experts. They can help determine if refacing is the right step for you and to thoroughly explain your options. During this step, they can answer any questions and provide a cost estimate. 
  • Design & Details – The design phase is when your dreams begin to come to life. This is when you get to choose the color or wood finish you’d like in your kitchen, and finalize your design. During this step, you may also decide any modifications or changes you’d like to make such as modifying existing cabinetry or adding new cabinets to your space.  
  • Prep the Cabinets – To prep the cabinets, they are first cleaned and lightly sanded to ensure the new veneer will adhere properly. If necessary, wood filler is used to fill in any blemishes, cracks, or damage. 
  •  Installation of Skins, Veneer, and Molding – This is where things get exciting. As the skins, veneer, and molding are applied, your cabinets begin to take on a whole new look. 
    • Skins – The skins are 1/8” finished ends for the sides of wall, base, and tall cabinets. Each one is cut to fit the individual cabinetry and attached with adhesive and small pin nails.
    • Veneer – The veneer is a thin material, like vinyl used to cover the surface of all the front frames of all the cabinetry. The veneer may be solid wood, or wood-backed that is cut to fit precisely and applied with a pressure sensitive coating.  
    • Moldings – Moldings like crown, light rail, and base can help finish the look and bring your kitchen to the next level.
  • Installation of Doors, Drawers, Hardware, and Accessories – Once the actual “refacing” part of the project is complete, it’s time to add in new hardware including hinges, drawer pulls, and accessories. This provides you a fully finished look to your brand new kitchen. 

Types of Materials Used In Kitchen Cabinet Refacing 

There are many popular materials used for kitchen cabinet refacing. Plywood and hardwood are the most commonly used and have the best reputation in the industry. However, they also are more expensive than materials available.

  • Hardwood – This is the most durable option and comes in various wood types including hickory, maple, birch, oak, pine, cherry, etc. Hardwood finishes resist scratching and denting but are also the most expensive refacing option. 

  • Plywood – Another reliable option for a wood finish is plywood. This is a glued and laminated wood that is overlaid with a hardwood veneer. There are different grades of plywood. Lower grades will have a lower-quality appearance. Grade AA plywood is considered the premium level and will be the most expensive of all the types.

  • Fiberboard – This is the classic IKEA cabinetry material made from recycled fibers, resin, and wax. It offers good strength and a smooth surface but is not as strong as plywood and hardwood. Additionally, fiberboard is susceptible to damage from moisture. 

  • Veneer – Wood veneer is a very thin layer of solid hardwood. Typically, a veneer is glued and pressed to either particle board or fiberboard.

  • Particleboard – Similar to fiberboard but has a lower density and is also commonly used in IKEA-type products. It is made by pressing together recycled wood products to form them into sheets and finish with a layer of laminate or wood veneer. It is inexpensive, but also weak and doesn’t do well with moisture. 

  • Other Common Materials – Other modern kitchen cabinet materials include aluminum, stainless steel, glass, and polyethylene. 

Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Ideas and Designs

The goal of cabinet resurfacing is to completely change the look of your cabinets. This means you can go from a traditional kitchen to fully modern. You can upgrade your outdated maple cabinets with knotty alder, bright white, or contemporary matte. The possibilities for refacing designs are limitless!

  • Ultra-Modern Metallic Cabinetry – If the farmhouse, country, or conventional style kitchen isn’t your jam – go with an ultra modern look. This high-gloss lacquer finish can give you a polished kitchen look and a bright, bold space. Modern cabinetry goes well with hi-tech appliances and smart-home features.

  • Modern Veneer Wood – A contemporary kitchen gives the homey feel of wood with a more modern appearance. Modern veneer has a good range of design options to explore and provides a uniform appearance in any shade under the sun. 

  • Traditional Opulence – This style brings the luxury of deep woods into your home with earthy tones and rich details. The most popular options for traditional wood veneers are sapele, oak, mahogany, or maple finishes.

  • Rich Matte Finishes – Matte cabinets give you the modern look without the extra glossy sheen. There are numerous textures and colors to choose and it pairs well with shiny countertops, bright tile, or stainless steel appliances.  

  • Frosted Kitchen Cabinets – When refacing, you can actually change your solid kitchen cabinet panels to frosted glass panels. This is a popular option for modern kitchens. It allows you to see the silhouette of the items behind the doors and brightens up small spaces. 

FAQs About Refacing Your Cabinets

In most cases, it takes anywhere from 1 to 5 days depending on the size and complexity of the project. Once your project is finished, you don’t have to worry about your refaced cabinets showing wear or tear. If they are done right, you can expect to enjoy up to 20 years under normal use. 

Yes, and also no. Cabinet refacing does not cause a lot of dust and you’ll retain access to your appliances. You do need to empty the cabinets during the process, but it’s much faster than a full kitchen remodel. Cabinet refacing can be completed in just a few days. 

Replacing cabinets can cost up to 50% more than refacing. If you are happy with the layout of your kitchen, and your cabinets are structurally sound, cabinet refacing is the better choice.

While refacing cabinets is a quick and easy way to change the look of your kitchen, we don’t recommend the DIY approach. The materials sold directly to consumers involve self-sticking wood veneer or laminates. These are not the same products used by professionals and will peel and chip over time. The damage these products cause to your cabinets will often require replacing your cabinets in the future. 

Discover Your Kitchen’s Potential

Refacing your kitchen cabinets is one of the best ways to give your kitchen a refreshed look without a full kitchen remodel. Our expert designers and installers perform precise measurements to ensure your new refaced cabinet boxes are seamless and color-matched to perfection with your new doors and drawer fronts. If you think refacing might be a good option for your home, give us a call today!