When To Consider Refacing Kitchen Cabinets

 In Kitchen cabinets

Your cabinets and cupboards are an essential part of your kitchen – holding the appliances, plates, glasses, food and spices you need to cook, eat, and entertain. However, a new set of cabinets can also be one of the single most expensive items when renovating or remodelling your kitchen. If you’ve decided that it’s time for a refresh in your kitchen, however, and the price of new cabinets is holding you back – refacing might be a perfect choice.

Cabinet refacing is a process where your existing cabinet boxes are maintained or reinforced while the doors, panels, and hardware are updated and modified. If you’re already satisfied with your storage, refacing is a great way to change the look of your cabinets without having to replace everything.

This post will give a quick overview of the refacing process, problems some homeowners might encounter, and differences between refacing and refinishing

The Cabinet Refacing Process

When refinishing kitchen cabinets or cupboards, the first step is to remove all doors and drawers. Once this has been done, your cabinet frames will usually be reinforced with plywood, and expanded if necessary.

Next, your cabinet frames will be updated. New wood veneers can be installed, allowing for new colours and a whole new look. Once this is done, replacement kitchen cabinet doors and drawers will be installed, along with new matching cabinet hardware of your choice.

At the end of the process, it will look as though you have an entirely new set of cabinets.

Problems With Refacing Kitchen Cabinets

While refacing kitchen cabinets can be a great choice, it’s still a large project and there are several factors you might want to consider before jumping in.

The first is cost. While refacing is significantly cheaper than a brand-new set of cabinets(usually 30-40%), it’s still expensive. If you’re opting for a complete replacement of all cabinet hardware, your cost of refacing might approach that of a whole new set of cabinets, which nets you better options for customization.

This is the second issue with refacing. While it is less expensive than a new set of cabinets, you also miss out on many perks. With a new set of cabinets, you can accommodate a new layout, increase your storage needs, or cater to new features of your kitchen such as custom kitchen islands. With refacing, you’re limited to a cosmetic upgrade.

Lastly, keep in mind that refacing is a big job and not a choice for DIY projects! You’ll want to leave this one to the pros.

Cabinet Refinishing Or Refacing?

Cabinet refinishing is another choice for updating the look of your kitchen cabinets. Refinishing is around 30% cheaper than refacing, but will change the appearance of your cabinetry even less.

During refinishing, the exterior wood panelling of your cabinets is sanded down, removing the finish and the top layer of wood. Once this has been done, a new stain and finish can be applied. A refinishing combined with a chance of hardware can be a great way to refresh the appearance of your cabinets while avoiding the higher cost of a refacing or replacement.


Your cabinets are front and centre (often literally) in your kitchen, and it’s hard to avoid wanting a refresh or upgrade during a kitchen renovation. If the price of a new set of cabinets is too steep, both refacing and refinishing are great options.

The choice ultimately comes down to your needs and budget. If you only want a minor change in colour scheme or hardware, refinishing could be a perfect choice. On the other hand, if your renovation scheme calls for more drastic updates to your cabinets or cupboards, refacing is usually the way to go. Finally, if you find yourself needing a more substantial update – for example, a big expansion of storage space, you’ll need to proceed with an entire set of new cabinets rather than just a refacing of your existing ones.

We hope this short guide has been a helpful intro to cabinet refacing and why it can be a great choice when you’re looking for ways to refresh your kitchen. If you’re not sure which option is best, a professional cabinet maker and installer is a great choice to discuss further.

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