Refacing vs Replacing Kitchen Cabinets: What You Need to Know

Refacing vs Replacing Kitchen Cabinets: What You Need to Know

If you’ve looked around your kitchen and pondered what to do about your dingy, scratched, old-fashioned kitchen cabinets, you’ve probably groaned and wondered how you’ll ever come up with the money to replace them.

You could paint them, perhaps, but paint doesn’t always adhere well to cabinet surfaces, and you’re going to need to take off all the doors, prime the wood, put on several coats of your chosen color, and replace the hardware.

That seems tedious and time-consuming and can be expensive if you hire a professional painter or contractor to do the job. And once it’s done, you still have cabinets of the same style and size.

Of course, you could have all your kitchen cabinets replaced, but that’s going to be very costly. Replacing cabinets is the most expensive part of kitchen renovations.

So, how about cabinet refacing? After all, companies have been doing this for decades. Is it a worthwhile investment and will you like the result when it’s finished?

Well, first let’s look at the pros and cons of both cabinet replacing and cabinet refacing to help determine which is best for you.

Cabinet refacing

Replacement of Exterior Fronts:

  • Cabinet doors and drawer fronts are replaced
  • Reface exterior structure with matching material
  • Install new hinges & moldings

If you choose refacing, it’s important to know that there are a few things that won’t change. Of course, the layout of your kitchen will remain the same because you’re not actually moving the cabinets. The size of the cabinets also remain the same, so if you’re looking for more storage space in your cabinets, this might not be right for you.

In addition, your cabinet boxes must be in good condition if you’re opting for refacing. If they’re splitting or have other structural problems, replacing may be the better option. Also, nothing is done to the inside of the cabinets with refacing, so they will stay as-is.

However, there are plenty of pros to choosing cabinet refacing over cabinet replacing. First and foremost is the cost. Refacing is far less expensive than replacing. Furthermore, the timeline for the project is much shorter. As there’s no demolition or removal of cabinets necessary, the process is much shorter and far less messy as well. Finally, this is a more eco-friendly option as you’re not sending old cabinets to the landfill.

Cabinet replacing

With cabinet replacement, all of your existing cabinets are removed. As a result, you can totally change the layout of your kitchen, add cabinets, put them in different places, and so on. With replacements, you can alter the vibe of your kitchen and change its functionality as well.

If you’re intending to sell your house soon, cabinet replacement may result in more return on investment than refacing, though the difference may not be dramatic depending on your choice of cabinets and other fixtures.

However, you will find a huge difference in cost between replacing and refacing, so if you want a kitchen facelift on a budget, refacing may be the better choice for you. Specifically, refacing costs up to 50 percent less than replacing. Furthermore, replacement can mean weeks of disruption and mess, which can really make an impact on family life and on work obligations, especially if you’re working from home.

In addition, you may wind up trashing perfectly functional cabinets. Instead, you might consider trying to sell them or can donate them to a charity that could put them to use.

Which is best for me?

Take a look at all the pros and cons listed here and consider what might work well for your home and for your budget. If you can afford it and you’re determined to change the layout of your kitchen, replacing might be the way to go. But if your cabinet boxes are in solid shape, you’re happy with your kitchen layout, and you don’t want to spend a ton of money and time on this project, cabinet refacing is definitely the optimal choice.

At Mr. Cabinet Care, we’re among the nation’s leading experts in cabinet refacing and kitchen remodeling. We can help you achieve a whole new look for your kitchen without the headaches associated with cabinet replacement and at just a portion of the cost of a custom remodel. For more details or to schedule an appointment with one of our kitchen pros, visit

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