We have been thinking of remodeling our kitchen and have seen many ads about refining kitchen cabinets instead of replacing them. Is this advisable? How does it compare in cost?
Cabinet refining can be compared to cosmetic surgery— it doesn’t do a whole lot for function, but it does wonders for appearance.Some questions that you must address when considering a kitchen “face lift” are: Do I have enough cabinet space or surface countertop? Am I really satisfied with the present layout of my kitchen? Am I pleased with the way the insides of the cabinets perform? (i.e., adjustable shelving, space utilization and convenience).
If your answer to all of these questions is yes, than chances are that cabinet refacing or refinishing is for you.
Generally speaking, cabinet refacing or refinishing involves the removal and replacement of existing cabinet doors and drawer fronts. Often times broken drawers are repaired or replaced at this time. Some companies may even insist on replacing drawer guides or rollers. Once the doors and drawers have been removed, the existing cabinet face frame (the front surface of the case) is either refinished or refaced. Refinishing involves sanding down the existing surface and applying new stain and varnish or a fresh coat of paint. Refacing, on the other hand, is the application of a thin layer of wood veneer (generally 1/8″ thick) or plastic laminate (Formica) to all exposed surfaces. The new facing is glued to the existing surface to form a permanent bond. This is one of the most important parts of cabinet refacing– the marriage of the new product to the old surface must be flawless.
After the new surface has been installed, the new doors and drawer fronts are installed, and in the case of a wood product, the cabinets are finished with a stain and varnished or painted.
The advantage of refacing/refinishing over replacement is that you need not remodel your entire kitchen, or even replace your countertops for that matter!
The cost to do this type of work varies dramatically depending on the specific work done, but it would be safe to say that it can be done for a fraction of the cost of replacing the cabinetry.
Remember, the cabinetry is one of the single most important components in your kitchen. And if your answer to any of the questions above is no, then a kitchen remodel may be what you need.