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What You Need to Know About Refacing Stock Cabinets

What You Need to Know About Refacing Stock Cabinets


In this comprehensive guide, we will explore everything you need to know about refacing kitchen cabinets. Refacing cabinets can be an excellent way to give your kitchen or bathroom a fresh and updated look without the cost and hassle of completely replacing them. We will answer the top 10 most frequently asked questions about this remodeling project, covering each aspect in detail.


1. What is Cabinet Refacing?

Cabinet refacing is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to update the look of your kitchen or bathroom cabinets. Instead of replacing the entire cabinet structure, refacing involves replacing the cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and applying a new veneer to the cabinet boxes. This process can give your cabinets a completely new appearance while saving you money.

Why Choose Cabinet Refacing?

Refacing is a popular choice for several reasons:

  1. Cost-Effective: It’s significantly cheaper than replacing all your cabinets.
  2. Time-Saving: Refacing is quicker and causes less disruption compared to a full cabinet replacement.
  3. Sustainability: It’s an eco-friendly option since it reduces waste.

Materials Used in Cabinet Refacing

Here are the primary materials used in cabinet refacing:

Material Description
Cabinet Doors These are the visible front panels of your cabinets.
Drawer Fronts The front panels of the drawers that match the doors.
Veneer A thin layer of wood or laminate applied to the cabinet boxes.

The Cabinet Refacing Process

The refacing process typically involves these steps:

  1. Removal: Cabinet doors and drawer fronts are removed.
  2. Veneer Application: Veneer is applied to the cabinet boxes.
  3. Door and Drawer Replacement: New doors and drawer fronts are installed.
  4. Hardware Update: New handles, knobs, and hinges can be added.
  5. Finishing Touches: Final adjustments and cleanup are performed.

2. Can I Reface Any Type of Cabinets?

Cabinet refacing is most suitable for stock cabinets, which are pre-made cabinets typically found in home improvement stores. These cabinets are an ideal candidate for refacing because they are structurally sound and have a sturdy frame.

Not Ideal for Custom Cabinets

Custom cabinets, on the other hand, may not be as suitable for refacing. These cabinets are typically designed to fit specific spaces and may not have standard-sized doors and drawers. Refacing custom cabinets could be more complex and costly.

Cabinet Condition Matters

Before deciding to reface your cabinets, it’s essential to assess their condition. Cabinets with significant structural damage or water damage may not be suitable for refacing. In such cases, replacement might be a better option.

3. What Are the Design Options for Cabinet Refacing?

One of the advantages of cabinet refacing is the wide range of design options available. When refacing your cabinets, you can completely transform the look of your kitchen or bathroom. Here are some design options to consider:

1. Door Styles:

  • Choose from various door styles, such as shaker, flat-panel, raised-panel, or custom designs.
  • Select different materials like wood, laminate, or thermofoil to match your desired aesthetic.

2. Colors and Finishes:

  • Explore a spectrum of colors and finishes to match your overall kitchen or bathroom theme.
  • Popular choices include classic whites, wood stains, and bold contemporary colors.

3. Hardware:

  • Select new handles, knobs, and hinges to complement your cabinet style.
  • Hardware can be a subtle but impactful design element.

4. Additional Features:

  • Consider adding features like glass inserts, decorative panels, or open shelving to enhance your cabinets’ functionality and appearance.

5. Countertops and Backsplashes:

  • Coordinate your cabinet refacing with new countertops and backsplashes for a complete kitchen or bathroom makeover.

4. How Long Does Cabinet Refacing Take?

The duration of a cabinet refacing project can vary depending on several factors, including the size of your kitchen or bathroom, the complexity of the design, and the availability of materials. However, on average, you can expect the process to take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.

Factors That Affect the Timeline

Here are some factors that can impact the duration of your refacing project:

  1. Kitchen Size: Larger kitchens will naturally take more time to complete.
  2. Customization: Highly customized designs may require more time for fabrication and installation.
  3. Material Availability: If you choose unique or custom materials, it may take longer to source them.
  4. Installer’s Schedule: The availability of the installation crew can also affect the timeline.

Minimal Disruption

One of the advantages of cabinet refacing is that it causes minimal disruption to your daily life compared to a full cabinet replacement, which can take several weeks to complete.

5. Is Cabinet Refacing DIY-Friendly?

While some homeowners with woodworking skills may consider tackling cabinet refacing as a DIY project, it’s important to note that this is a complex and precise job. DIY refacing can be challenging, and mistakes can be costly to rectify.

Benefits of Hiring Professionals

Hiring professionals for cabinet refacing offers several advantages:

  1. Expertise: Experienced installers have the skills and tools to ensure a flawless result.
  2. Efficiency: Professionals can complete the project more quickly and with fewer hiccups.
  3. Warranty: Many refacing companies offer warranties on their work, providing peace of mind.

DIY Considerations

If you’re determined to go the DIY route, here are some considerations:

  • Skill Level: Assess your woodworking skills and whether you can handle the intricacies of refacing.
  • Tools: Ensure you have the necessary tools and equipment for the job.
  • Time: Be prepared for the project to take longer than expected, especially if it’s your first time.

6. What Is the Cost of Cabinet Refacing?

The cost of cabinet refacing can vary widely depending on various factors, including the size of your kitchen or bathroom, the materials you choose, and your location. On average, you can expect cabinet refacing to cost significantly less than a full cabinet replacement, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious homeowners.

Cost Components

To understand the cost breakdown, consider the following components:

  1. Materials: The cost of new cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and veneer materials.
  2. Labor: Installation costs, which may include removal of old materials, veneer application, and door/drawer installation.
  3. Design Complexity: Elaborate designs or custom features may increase costs.
  4. Additional Upgrades: If you opt for new hardware, countertops, or backsplashes, these will add to the overall cost.
  5. Location: Regional labor and material costs can vary.

Estimating Costs

To get an accurate estimate for your cabinet refacing project, it’s advisable to request quotes from reputable refacing companies. They can assess your specific needs and provide a detailed cost breakdown.

7. Will Cabinet Refacing Increase My Home’s Value?

Cabinet refacing can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your kitchen or bathroom, which can be a selling point when you decide to put your home on the market. However, the extent to which it increases your home’s value depends on several factors.

Factors to Consider

Consider these factors when evaluating the impact of cabinet refacing on your home’s value:

  1. Overall Condition: If your cabinets were in poor condition before refacing, the improvement may be more noticeable.
  2. Market Trends: Current design trends and buyer preferences can influence the perceived value.
  3. Quality of Work: A professionally executed refacing job can be more appealing to potential buyers.
  4. Complementary Upgrades: Pairing cabinet refacing with other updates like new countertops can boost the overall appeal.

Real Estate ROI

While cabinet refacing may not provide a one-to-one return on investment (ROI), it can make your home more attractive to buyers, potentially leading to a quicker sale at a higher price.

8. Can I Change the Cabinet Layout During Refacing?

Cabinet refacing primarily focuses on the cosmetic aspects of your cabinets, such as their appearance and functionality. If you want to make significant changes to your cabinet layout, it’s generally not part of the refacing process.

Layout Alterations

To change the layout of your cabinets, you would typically need to consider a full cabinet replacement or a more extensive kitchen remodel. This would involve removing the existing cabinets and potentially reconfiguring the space to accommodate your desired layout changes.

Minor Adjustments

While refacing doesn’t involve structural changes, minor adjustments, such as adding or removing cabinets, can sometimes be accommodated during the process. Discuss any layout change ideas with your refacing professional to determine feasibility.

9. How Do I Maintain Refaced Cabinets?

Proper maintenance is essential to ensure your refaced cabinets remain in great condition for years to come. Fortunately, maintaining refaced cabinets is relatively straightforward.

Maintenance Tips

Here are some tips to help you maintain your refaced cabinets:

  1. Regular Cleaning: Wipe down cabinet surfaces regularly with a soft, damp cloth to remove dust and spills.
  2. Avoid Excess Moisture: Be cautious of excess moisture, which can damage wood or laminate surfaces.
  3. Use Gentle Cleaners: Use mild, non-abrasive cleaners to clean cabinet surfaces.
  4. Handle Care: Be gentle with cabinet handles and knobs to prevent loosening or damage.


With proper care, refaced cabinets can maintain their beauty and functionality for many years. Regularly inspect for any signs of wear or damage, and address them promptly to prevent issues from worsening.

10. Are There Any Disadvantages to Cabinet Refacing?

While cabinet refacing offers many benefits, it’s essential to be aware of potential disadvantages as well. Understanding both sides of the equation can help you make an informed decision.

Potential Disadvantages

Consider these potential disadvantages of cabinet refacing:

  1. Limited Structural Changes: Refacing does not allow for significant structural alterations or layout changes.
  2. Not Suitable for All Cabinets: Custom or severely damaged cabinets may not be suitable for refacing.
  3. Cost: While generally more cost-effective than replacement, refacing is not the cheapest option for cabinet updates.
  4. Skill Required: DIY refacing can be challenging for those without woodworking skills.

Pros Outweigh Cons

For many homeowners, the advantages of cabinet refacing, such as cost savings and a quick turnaround, outweigh the potential disadvantages. Careful consideration of your specific needs and goals can help you determine if refacing is the right choice for you.

In conclusion, cabinet refacing is a viable and cost-effective option for giving your kitchen or bathroom cabinets a fresh and updated look. Understanding the process, design options, costs, and maintenance requirements will help you make an informed decision about whether cabinet refacing is the right choice for your home improvement project.

In this continuation of our guide on refacing stock cabinets, we’ll address the final five frequently asked questions regarding this popular home improvement project. Cabinet refacing is an excellent way to transform your kitchen or bathroom without the expense of a full cabinet replacement. Let’s dive into more details.

11. Can I Reface Cabinets with Laminate or Thermofoil Finishes?

Yes, you can reface cabinets with laminate or thermofoil finishes. Laminate and thermofoil are both durable, budget-friendly options for cabinet surfaces, and they can be refaced like other cabinet materials.

Refacing Laminate Cabinets

When refacing laminate cabinets, it’s essential to properly prepare the surface to ensure the new veneer adheres correctly. The process may involve sanding the laminate surface slightly to create a better bond.

Refacing Thermofoil Cabinets

Thermofoil cabinets have a plastic-like surface, and refacing them involves applying a new veneer specifically designed for thermofoil surfaces. Ensure that the adhesive used is suitable for thermofoil materials to prevent issues with peeling or bubbling.

12. Can I Reface Cabinets with Damage or Water Stains?

Cabinets with minor damage or water stains can often be refaced effectively. However, it’s crucial to assess the extent of the damage before proceeding.

Minor Damage

Minor scratches, dents, or surface stains can often be addressed during the refacing process. The new veneer and doors will cover these imperfections, giving your cabinets a fresh look.

Significant Damage

Cabinets with significant structural damage, such as extensive water damage or warped wood, may not be suitable for refacing. In such cases, it’s advisable to consider cabinet replacement to ensure the long-term integrity of your kitchen or bathroom.

13. How Do I Choose the Right Cabinet Refacing Company?

Selecting the right cabinet refacing company is crucial to the success of your project. Here are some factors to consider when making your choice:

1. Experience and Reputation

Look for companies with a track record of successful cabinet refacing projects. Check online reviews, ask for references, and inquire about their years of experience.

2. Licensing and Insurance

Ensure that the company is licensed and insured. This provides protection in case of accidents or unexpected issues during the project.

3. Design Options

Choose a company that offers a variety of design options, materials, and finishes to match your vision for your cabinets.

4. Warranty

Inquire about the company’s warranty on both materials and labor. A reputable company should stand behind their work.

5. Price Transparency

Get detailed quotes that include all costs associated with the project, including materials, labor, and any additional upgrades or features.

6. Communication

Clear communication is vital. Choose a company that listens to your needs and maintains open lines of communication throughout the project.

14. What Is the Environmental Impact of Cabinet Refacing?

Cabinet refacing is generally considered an environmentally friendly option compared to full cabinet replacements. Here’s why:

Reduced Waste

Refacing preserves the existing cabinet boxes, minimizing the amount of waste generated compared to replacing all cabinets, which can lead to the disposal of large amounts of wood and materials.

Sustainable Materials

Many refacing materials are sourced from sustainable or recycled sources, reducing the environmental impact of production.

Energy Savings

Refacing consumes fewer resources, such as energy and raw materials, compared to manufacturing new cabinets.

By choosing cabinet refacing, you can contribute to a more sustainable and eco-friendly home improvement project.

15. Are There Any Alternatives to Cabinet Refacing?

If cabinet refacing doesn’t align with your goals or budget, several alternative options can help you achieve a refreshed kitchen or bathroom:

1. Full Cabinet Replacement:

  • Completely replace your cabinets with new ones to get a fresh start.

2. Cabinet Painting:

  • Paint your existing cabinets to give them a new look. This is a budget-friendly option but requires proper preparation and quality paint.

3. Cabinet Refinishing:

  • Refinish your cabinets by sanding down the existing finish and applying a new one. This option works well for solid wood cabinets.

4. Open Shelving:

  • Remove cabinet doors altogether and install open shelves for a modern, airy feel.

5. Kitchen or Bathroom Remodel:

  • Consider a full remodel to update your space comprehensively, including new cabinets, countertops, and fixtures.

Each of these alternatives has its pros and cons, so it’s essential to assess your specific needs and budget before making a decision.

In summary, cabinet refacing is a versatile and budget-friendly option for transforming the look of your kitchen or bathroom cabinets. By understanding the process, materials, costs, and alternatives, you can make an informed decision about whether cabinet refacing is the right choice for your home improvement project.


In this comprehensive guide, we’ve explored everything you need to know about refacing stock cabinets. Cabinet refacing offers a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to revitalize your kitchen or bathroom without the need for a complete cabinet replacement. By answering the top 15 most frequently asked questions about this remodeling project, we’ve provided you with a thorough understanding of the process and its various aspects.

From understanding what cabinet refacing entails to exploring design options, cost considerations, and maintenance tips, you now have the knowledge to make informed decisions about your home improvement project. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Cabinet Refacing Basics: Cabinet refacing involves replacing cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and applying a new veneer to cabinet boxes, providing a fresh look while saving time and money.
  • Design Options: The design possibilities for cabinet refacing are vast, allowing you to choose door styles, colors, hardware, and additional features that suit your style and preferences.
  • Cost and Value: Cabinet refacing is generally more cost-effective than full cabinet replacement and can increase the value of your home by enhancing its visual appeal.
  • Maintenance: Proper maintenance is essential for keeping refaced cabinets in excellent condition, ensuring their longevity and beauty.
  • Choosing a Company: Selecting the right cabinet refacing company is crucial, and factors like experience, reputation, licensing, and transparency play a significant role in your decision.
  • Environmental Impact: Cabinet refacing is an environmentally friendly option due to reduced waste, sustainable materials, and energy savings.
  • Alternatives: If cabinet refacing isn’t the right choice for your project, alternatives like full cabinet replacement, painting, refinishing, open shelving, or a complete kitchen or bathroom remodel are worth considering.

By weighing the pros and cons, assessing your specific needs, and considering your budget, you can make an informed decision about whether cabinet refacing is the ideal solution to refresh and upgrade your living space. Whether you choose to embark on this remodeling journey yourself or enlist the help of professionals, you now have the knowledge to embark on your cabinet refacing project with confidence.

Read: Aesthetics: Stock Cabinets vs. Custom Kitchen Cabinets

Read: Exploring Your Options in Custom Kitchen Cabinetry

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