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Refacing Kitchen Cabinets? Read This Guide First

Your Complete Guide to Refacing Kitchen Cabinets


Refacing kitchen cabinets can be a cost-effective way to give your kitchen a fresh and updated look without the expense and hassle of a full cabinet replacement. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll address the ten most frequently asked questions about refacing kitchen cabinets to help you make informed decisions and achieve the kitchen of your dreams.

See: Kitchen Cabinets


1. What is Cabinet Refacing?

Cabinet refacing is a kitchen renovation process where the existing cabinet framework remains intact, but the cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and sometimes the hardware are replaced or updated. This method allows you to change the appearance of your cabinets without the need for a complete cabinet replacement.

Understanding the Cabinet Refacing Process

The cabinet refacing process typically involves these steps:

  1. Assessment: A professional evaluates the condition of your existing cabinets to determine if they are suitable for refacing. Cabinets with significant structural issues may not be ideal candidates.
  2. Removal: Cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and hardware are removed, leaving the cabinet boxes in place.
  3. Veneer Application: A veneer or laminate is applied to the cabinet boxes, covering the existing surfaces. This veneer can be customized to match your desired style.
  4. New Doors and Hardware: New cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and hardware are installed. You can choose from a wide range of styles, finishes, and materials to match your kitchen’s aesthetic.
  5. Optional Enhancements: You can also make additional upgrades, such as adding new countertops or installing under-cabinet lighting, to further enhance your kitchen’s functionality and appearance.

Advantages of Cabinet Refacing

Cabinet refacing offers several advantages:

  • Cost-Effective: It is generally more budget-friendly than completely replacing cabinets.
  • Time-Saving: Refacing is quicker than a full cabinet replacement, reducing kitchen downtime.
  • Less Disruption: You can still use your kitchen during the refacing process, as major construction is not required.
  • Customization: You have the flexibility to choose new doors, hardware, and finishes to match your style.
  • Sustainability: Refacing reduces waste and is more environmentally friendly compared to cabinet replacement.

While cabinet refacing is a great option for many homeowners, it may not be suitable for kitchens with severely damaged cabinets or those requiring significant layout changes. In such cases, a full cabinet replacement may be necessary.

2. Is Cabinet Refacing a DIY Project?

Cabinet refacing can be a DIY project, but it’s essential to understand the level of skill and experience required before deciding to tackle it yourself.

Pros and Cons of DIY Cabinet Refacing


  1. Cost Savings: Doing it yourself can save money on labor costs.
  2. Control Over Design: You have complete control over the design and execution of the project.
  3. Personal Satisfaction: Completing a DIY project can be personally satisfying and give you a sense of accomplishment.


  1. Skill Requirement: Cabinet refacing requires woodworking skills, precision, and attention to detail. Any mistakes can be costly to rectify.
  2. Tools and Equipment: You’ll need specific tools and equipment, such as a table saw, router, and clamps, which can be expensive if you don’t already own them.
  3. Time-Consuming: DIY refacing can be time-consuming, especially if you’re not experienced, leading to extended kitchen downtime.
  4. Quality Assurance: Professional cabinet refacing companies have experience and expertise, ensuring a higher quality outcome.

When to Consider Professional Refacing

Consider hiring professionals for cabinet refacing if:

  • You lack the necessary woodworking skills and tools.
  • Your cabinets are in poor condition or require structural repairs.
  • You want a faster, more efficient process with guaranteed quality.
  • You have a complex design or layout in mind.
  • You’re concerned about warranty coverage and after-service support.

If you decide to go the DIY route, be sure to thoroughly research the process, gather all necessary materials and tools, and practice on scrap pieces before working on your cabinets. It’s crucial to maintain a high level of precision to achieve the desired results.

3. How Much Does Cabinet Refacing Cost?

The cost of cabinet refacing varies depending on several factors, including the size of your kitchen, the materials chosen, and any additional upgrades or modifications. Here’s a breakdown of the typical cost considerations:

Cost Factors in Cabinet Refacing

  1. Kitchen Size: Larger kitchens will require more materials and labor, resulting in higher costs.
  2. Materials: The choice of veneer, laminate, or real wood can significantly impact the cost. High-end materials will cost more.
  3. Door Style: The complexity and design of the cabinet doors can affect the price. Custom or intricate designs will be more expensive.
  4. Hardware: Upgrading to premium hardware can add to the overall cost.
  5. Additional Features: If you want to include additional features like new countertops, pull-out shelves, or under-cabinet lighting, these will also add to the cost.
  6. Labor Costs: Whether you hire professionals or do it yourself will determine labor costs. DIY projects will save on labor but require your time and effort.

Cost Estimates

As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, a rough estimate for cabinet refacing in an average-sized kitchen (around 10×10 feet) using mid-range materials could range from $3,000 to $7,000 for a DIY project. Hiring professionals might cost between $5,000 and $10,000 or more, depending on your location and customization options.

It’s essential to obtain quotes from local cabinet refacing companies to get a precise estimate for your specific project. Prices may have changed since 2021, so consider obtaining updated quotes for accurate cost information.

4. What Materials Are Used in Cabinet Refacing?

Cabinet refacing offers a variety of material options to achieve the desired look and durability for your kitchen cabinets. Here are some of the most commonly used materials:

1. Veneer or Laminate:

  • Description: Veneer and laminate are thin, decorative coverings that are applied to the surface of cabinet boxes. They come in a wide range of colors and patterns, including woodgrain and solid colors.
  • Advantages: Veneer and laminate are cost-effective options that can mimic the appearance of real wood. They are also easy to clean and maintain.
  • Considerations: While durable, they may not be as long-lasting as solid wood. It’s essential to handle them carefully to prevent peeling or chipping.

2. Real Wood:

  • Description: Real wood is a premium option for cabinet refacing, providing a luxurious and authentic look. Common wood types include oak, maple, cherry, and walnut.
  • Advantages: Real wood offers timeless beauty and durability. It can be stained or painted to match your preferred style.
  • Considerations: It is more expensive than veneer or laminate and may require more maintenance, such as refinishing over time.

3. Thermofoil:

  • Description: Thermofoil is a vinyl material that is heat-sealed onto cabinet surfaces. It is available in various colors and can replicate the appearance of wood.
  • Advantages: Thermofoil is highly resistant to moisture and easy to clean. It’s a budget-friendly alternative to real wood.
  • Considerations: Over time, thermofoil can peel or delaminate in high-heat environments. It may not be the best choice for kitchens with under-cabinet lighting generating heat.

4. **Acrylic:

  • Description: Acrylic is a glossy, reflective material that creates a modern and sleek look. It is available in a wide range of colors.
  • Advantages: Acrylic is highly durable, moisture-resistant, and easy to clean. Its glossy finish adds a touch of sophistication to the kitchen.
  • Considerations: Acrylic can be more expensive than other options, and it may show fingerprints and smudges more easily.

5. Custom Materials:

  • Description: If you have a specific material in mind, custom options are available. This could include exotic woods, metals, glass, or other unique materials.
  • Advantages: Custom materials allow for complete personalization and can create a one-of-a-kind kitchen design.
  • Considerations: Custom materials can be expensive and may require special maintenance.

When choosing materials for your cabinet refacing project, consider your budget, desired aesthetics, and maintenance preferences. It’s also important to ensure that the chosen material complements the overall style of your kitchen.

5. How Durable is Cabinet Refacing?

The durability of cabinet refacing primarily depends on the materials chosen, the quality of the installation, and how well the cabinets are maintained. Here’s what you need to know about the longevity of refaced cabinets:

Material Durability:

  • Veneer or Laminate: These materials are generally durable and resistant to wear and tear. Proper installation and maintenance can extend their lifespan.
  • Real Wood: Real wood cabinets are highly durable but may require occasional refinishing or repainting to maintain their appearance.
  • Thermofoil: While moisture-resistant, thermofoil cabinets can be susceptible to peeling or delamination over time, especially in high-heat areas.
  • Acrylic: Acrylic is known for its durability and resistance to moisture and staining. It’s a long-lasting option when properly cared for.

Quality of Installation:

The skill and expertise of the installer play a significant role in the durability of refaced cabinets. Properly installed cabinets are less likely to experience issues such as warping, peeling, or misalignment.


To ensure the longevity of your refaced cabinets, follow these maintenance tips:

  • Regular Cleaning: Clean cabinet surfaces with a mild, non-abrasive cleaner to prevent dirt and grime buildup.
  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive scrubbers that could damage the finish.
  • Handle with Care: Be gentle when opening and closing cabinet doors and drawers to prevent undue stress on hinges and hardware.
  • Moisture Control: Keep your kitchen well-ventilated to minimize exposure to moisture, which can damage certain materials over time.
  • Regular Inspections: Periodically inspect your cabinets for any signs of wear, damage, or loose hardware, and address issues promptly.
  • Refinishing: Depending on the material, you may need to refinish or repaint the cabinets every few years to maintain their appearance.

Properly maintained refaced cabinets can last for many years and provide excellent value for your investment. Regular care and attention can help you enjoy your updated kitchen for a long time.

6. What Design Options are Available for Cabinet Refacing?

Cabinet refacing offers a wide range of design options to customize your kitchen’s look and feel. Here are some popular design choices:

1. Cabinet Door Styles:

  • Shaker: Shaker-style doors are simple, with a clean and timeless design featuring a recessed panel.
  • Raised Panel: Raised panel doors have a raised central panel, adding depth and texture to your cabinets.
  • Slab: Slab doors are flat and minimalistic, offering a modern and sleek appearance.
  • Glass Inserts: Adding glass inserts to some cabinet doors can create an open and elegant look, ideal for displaying dishware or glassware.

2. Finish Options:

  • Paint: Choose from a wide range of paint colors to match your kitchen’s color scheme.
  • Stain: Staining real wood cabinets allows you to highlight the natural grain and texture of the wood.
  • Glaze: Applying a glaze over paint or stain can add depth and age to the cabinets’ appearance.
  • Custom Finishes: Some companies offer custom finishes, allowing you to achieve a unique look for your cabinets.

3. Hardware Choices:

  • Handles and Knobs: Select from various styles, materials, and finishes to complement your cabinet design.
  • Hinges: Consider concealed or decorative hinges based on your aesthetic preferences.

4. Additional Features:

  • Crown Molding: Adding crown molding can enhance the elegance and sophistication of your kitchen.
  • Open Shelving: Incorporating open shelving in some areas can provide a modern and airy feel.
  • Lighting: Under-cabinet lighting can brighten your workspace and create ambiance.

Your design choices should align with your kitchen’s overall style and your personal preferences. Don’t hesitate to consult with a professional or kitchen designer to help you select the best design options for your refaced cabinets.

7. What Are the Benefits of Cabinet Refacing Over Replacement?

Cabinet refacing offers several distinct benefits over full cabinet replacement, making it an attractive option for many homeowners. Here are some key advantages:

1. Cost Savings:

Refacing is typically more cost-effective than replacing cabinets entirely. You can achieve a fresh look without the high price tag of new cabinets, making it a budget-friendly choice.

2. Minimal Disruption:

Unlike cabinet replacement, refacing allows you to use your kitchen throughout the project. The process is less invasive and results in shorter downtime.

3. Eco-Friendly:

Refacing is a sustainable choice as it reduces the amount of waste generated compared to cabinet replacement. It’s an environmentally responsible option.

4. Customization:

You have the freedom to customize the appearance of your cabinets with various door styles, finishes, and hardware options. This customization helps you achieve a unique and personalized look.

5. Faster Completion:

Refacing projects are typically completed more quickly than full cabinet replacements. This means you can enjoy your updated kitchen sooner.

6. Quality Materials:

You can choose from a variety of quality materials for refacing, including real wood, veneer, or laminate. This allows you to maintain or enhance the durability of your cabinets.

7. Flexibility:

If you’re satisfied with the layout and functionality of your current cabinets, refacing allows you to keep the existing cabinet structure while improving aesthetics.

While cabinet refacing offers numerous benefits, it’s essential to assess your specific needs and the condition of your existing cabinets. In some cases, full replacement may be necessary if your cabinets are severely damaged or if you’re looking to make significant layout changes.

8. What Is the Typical Timeline for a Cabinet Refacing Project?

The timeline for a cabinet refacing project can vary based on several factors, including the size of your kitchen, the complexity of the design, and whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring professionals. Here’s a general overview of the typical timeline:

  1. Planning and Design (1-2 weeks): This phase involves selecting materials, finalizing design choices, and obtaining any necessary permits.
  2. Material Ordering (1-2 weeks): After designing, you’ll need to order materials and hardware, which can take a week or two to arrive.
  3. Preparation (1 day): On the day of installation, your kitchen will be prepared by removing cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and hardware.
  4. Cabinet Refacing (2-5 days): The actual refacing process can take a few days, depending on the complexity of the project and the number of cabinets involved.
  5. Installation of New Hardware and Accessories (1-2 days): After the refacing is complete, new hardware, handles, and accessories will be installed.
  6. Cleanup and Final Touches (1 day): The project concludes with cleaning up the workspace and ensuring everything is in order.

In total, a cabinet refacing project typically takes anywhere from one to three weeks, but this can vary. DIY projects may take longer if you have limited experience, while professional installers can complete the job more efficiently.

9. How Do I Find Reliable Professionals for Cabinet Refacing?

Finding reliable professionals for your cabinet refacing project is essential to ensure a successful outcome. Here are steps to help you find the right experts:

1. Research:

  • Start by researching local cabinet refacing companies. Online reviews and recommendations from friends and family can be valuable resources.

2. Get Multiple Quotes:

  • Contact multiple companies and request detailed quotes for your project. Ensure that the quotes include materials, labor, and any additional costs.

3. Check Credentials:

  • Verify the credentials of potential contractors, including licenses, insurance, and certifications. Make sure they have experience in cabinet refacing.

4. Ask for References:

  • Request references from past clients and contact them to inquire about their experience with the company.

5. Visit Showrooms:

  • Visit the showrooms of cabinet refacing companies to see their work firsthand and get a sense of their design options.

6. Ask Questions:

  • Don’t hesitate to ask questions about the refacing process, timelines, and warranties. A reputable company should be transparent and willing to provide information.

7. Check for Guarantees and Warranties:

  • Inquire about warranties on materials and workmanship. Ensure that you understand the terms and conditions.

8. Review Contracts Carefully:

  • Before signing any contracts, carefully review all terms and conditions, including payment schedules and project timelines.

9. Communicate Clearly:

  • Maintain open and clear communication with the chosen professional throughout the project to address any concerns or questions.

By following these steps and conducting thorough research, you can find reliable professionals who will deliver quality cabinet refacing services and help transform your kitchen.

10. What Is the Return on Investment (ROI) for Cabinet Refacing?

Cabinet refacing can provide a favorable return on investment (ROI) for homeowners. While the exact ROI can vary depending on factors like the cost of the project, the real estate market in your area, and the quality of the work, here’s a general understanding of the potential ROI benefits:

  1. Cost Savings: One of the primary benefits of cabinet refacing is cost savings compared to full cabinet replacement. Since you’re not tearing out and replacing the entire cabinet structure, you can achieve a refreshed kitchen at a fraction of the cost.
  2. Increased Home Value: An updated kitchen is a significant selling point for potential buyers. Cabinet refacing can boost the overall appeal and value of your home, potentially leading to a higher resale price.
  3. Competitive Advantage: In a competitive real estate market, an attractive kitchen can help your property stand out among similar listings.
  4. Quick and Efficient: Cabinet refacing projects are typically completed faster than full kitchen remodels, allowing you to enjoy the benefits sooner.
  5. Environmental Considerations: In today’s eco-conscious world, the sustainability of cabinet refacing can be an attractive feature for both buyers and sellers.
  6. Personal Enjoyment: Even if you’re not planning to sell your home soon, a beautifully refaced kitchen can enhance your daily living experience and make your space more enjoyable.

To maximize the ROI of your cabinet refacing project, consider factors like the quality of materials and workmanship. Choosing durable materials and ensuring a professional installation can help ensure that your investment pays off in the long run.

11. Is Cabinet Refacing Suitable for Different Kitchen Styles and Layouts?

Cabinet refacing is a versatile option that can work well with various kitchen styles and layouts. Whether you have a traditional, modern, or eclectic kitchen, refacing can be tailored to match your aesthetic preferences. Here’s how cabinet refacing can complement different kitchen styles:

1. Traditional:

  • For a traditional kitchen, opt for classic door styles, such as raised panel or Shaker, in warm wood tones or neutral colors.
  • Add decorative molding and ornate hardware to enhance the traditional look.

2. Modern:

  • Achieve a modern, sleek appearance with flat-panel or slab-style cabinet doors in minimalist finishes like high-gloss white or matte black.
  • Choose streamlined hardware with clean lines for a contemporary touch.

3. Transitional:

  • Transitional kitchens blend traditional and modern elements. Consider combining Shaker-style doors with a neutral color palette and contemporary hardware.
  • Incorporate glass inserts for a touch of sophistication.

4. Farmhouse:

  • For a farmhouse or rustic look, opt for distressed finishes and open shelving with beadboard accents.
  • Choose hardware with an antique or weathered appearance to complement the style.

5. Eclectic:

  • Eclectic kitchens allow for creative freedom. Mix and match different door styles, colors, and hardware to create a unique and eclectic design.
  • Experiment with bold colors and patterns for a vibrant kitchen.

In terms of layouts, cabinet refacing is suitable for various configurations, including galley kitchens, L-shaped kitchens, U-shaped kitchens, and open-concept layouts. The key is to customize the refacing design to optimize storage, functionality, and aesthetics based on your kitchen’s specific layout.

By working with a professional or kitchen designer, you can ensure that cabinet refacing is tailored to your kitchen’s style and layout, resulting in a cohesive and visually appealing transformation.

In conclusion, cabinet refacing is a practical and cost-effective way to update your kitchen, and it can be customized to suit your unique needs and preferences. Whether you’re looking to refresh the appearance of your cabinets, increase your home’s value, or create a more functional kitchen, cabinet refacing offers a wide range of benefits. By addressing these frequently asked questions, you can embark on your cabinet refacing journey with confidence and achieve the kitchen of your dreams.

Read: Know How to Reface Kitchen Cabinets and Save Money

Read: Planning to Reface Your Kitchen Cabinets? Here’s How to Save Money


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