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8 Common Problems with Refacing Kitchen Cabinets and How to Avoid Them

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Refacing kitchen cabinets is a smart and cost-effective way to transform your kitchen. By keeping existing cabinet boxes and layouts while installing new doors, drawer fronts, and veneers, you can achieve a brand-new look without the expense of a full replacement.

However, there are some potential pitfalls to avoid when refacing cabinets. In this post, we'll discuss these challenges and provide expert tips to ensure your kitchen cabinet refacing project delivers beautiful, long-lasting results.

Problem 1: Using Low-Quality Materials

Problem 1: Using Low-Quality Materials

One of the most common mistakes made in cabinet refacing is opting for cheap, low-quality materials like thin veneers for your new doors and drawer fronts. While these might seem like a way to save money initially, they won't withstand the wear and tear of daily use, often leading to peeling, chipping, and overall damage.

Solution: Invest in high-quality, durable materials for your refacing project. Look for solid wood doors and drawer fronts, high-pressure laminate veneers, and even medium-density fiberboard (MDF), which can be a cost-effective yet durable option.

These materials may cost slightly more upfront, but they will look better and last much longer, providing greater value over time. For example, Kitchen Cabinet Guys uses 3D laminate from Omnova that provides superior durability and resists chipping, scratches, and fading.

Problem 2: Mismatched Styles

Problem 2: Mismatched Styles

Choosing new doors, drawers, and hardware that clash with your kitchen's style is a common mistake. Ultra-modern slab doors in a rustic farmhouse kitchen or ornate handles in a sleek, contemporary space will create a disjointed and unappealing look.

Solution: Carefully consider your kitchen's existing style and color scheme when selecting new cabinet components. For a seamless update, aim to closely match the original style. If you're ready for a full style change, choose elements that complement the rest of the space. A professional kitchen designer can help you find the perfect fit for your vision and budget.

Problem 3: Color Matching Issues

Problem 3: Color Matching Issues

Even subtle mismatches in color or finish can ruin the look of your refaced cabinets, making the new elements stand out awkwardly. This is a common challenge during cabinet refacing projects.

Solution: Choose a refacing company with extensive color and finish options and proven color-matching expertise. They should provide samples to help you find the perfect match for your existing kitchen colors.

If you're planning a complete color scheme change, carefully consider how the new cabinet colors will work with your countertops, flooring, and appliances to create a cohesive and pleasing design.

Problem 4: Skipping Repairs on Existing Cabinets

Problem 4: Skipping Repairs on Existing Cabinets

Since refacing uses your existing cabinet boxes, neglecting underlying issues will lead to disappointing results. Damaged hinges, loose frames, or drawers that stick won't magically improve with a shiny new exterior.

Solution: Before starting the refacing process, carefully inspect your existing cabinets and make any necessary repairs. Tighten loose hinges or replace broken ones, reinforce sagging shelves, and replace worn-out drawer glides. Starting with a sound foundation will ensure your refaced cabinets look stunning and function flawlessly.

Problem 5: Improper Preparation

Problem 5: Improper Preparation

Not preparing your kitchen for refacing can cause delays, mishaps, and a less-than-ideal outcome. This includes leaving cabinets full, not removing or protecting appliances, and neglecting to shield your floors and countertops from dust and debris.

Solution: Before the refacing begins, thoroughly empty cabinets, drawers, and countertops. If possible, remove appliances or cover them securely. Protect floors and countertops with drop cloths or tarps to minimize dust and potential damage. Taking these steps ensures a smooth refacing process and helps protect your kitchen throughout.

Problem 6: Layout Challenges

Problem 6: Layout Challenges

Sometimes, your kitchen's existing cabinet layout can create challenges for a successful refacing project. Issues like awkwardly spaced doors, misaligned drawers, or a lack of overall symmetry might become even more noticeable once the new elements are installed, leaving you less than thrilled with the results.

Solution: Seek an experienced professional to assess your kitchen's layout before starting the refacing process. They can identify potential problem areas and suggest ways to reconfigure parts of the layout as needed.

While moving cabinet boxes does add to the project's scope, it's still typically far less involved and costly than installing entirely new cabinetry. Even minor adjustments to the placement of doors and drawers can significantly improve the final look and functionality of your refaced kitchen.

Problem 7: Lack of Proper Tools and Skills

Problem 7: Lack of Proper Tools and Skills

Cabinet refacing demands precision in measuring, cutting, and installation for a perfect fit and finish. Attempting this project as a DIY without the right tools or experience often leads to ill-fitting doors, visible seams, or unsightly bubbling veneers. These imperfections diminish the overall look of your refaced kitchen.

Solution: For the best possible results, entrust your cabinet refacing to trained professionals. They have specialized skills and equipment to ensure accurate measurements, flawless installation, and achieve a beautiful outcome. Experienced installers guarantee level and square doors, smoothly fitted veneers, and perfect function. While DIY is an option, professional installation ensures a flawless finish that will bring lasting satisfaction.

Problem 8: Ignoring Maintenance Needs

Problem 8: Ignoring Maintenance Needs

After investing in cabinet refacing, it's important to maintain your new surfaces to ensure they look stunning for years to come. Neglecting regular cleaning and care can lead to unsightly grime, stubborn stains, and even damage to your beautiful new materials.

Solution: Consult your refacing professional about the best cleaning methods for your specific cabinet material. Generally, a soft, damp cloth and mild detergent are safe for most finishes. Avoid abrasive sponges or harsh chemicals that could harm the surface. Regular dusting and promptly addressing spills will further protect your refaced cabinets and keep them looking fantastic.

5 Tips for the Right Cabinet Refacing Process

Tips for the Right Cabinet Refacing Process

#1. Evaluate Your Cabinet's Condition

Before choosing cabinet refacing, carefully inspect the condition of your existing cabinet frames and boxes. If they're structurally sound and in overall good shape, refacing is a smart way to achieve a fresh new kitchen look.

However, extensive damage, warping, or signs of water damage or mold mean a full replacement might be necessary. While the majority of homeowners opt for full cabinet replacement during renovations (around 82% according to a 2019 Houzz study), refacing remains a fantastic option when your cabinet boxes are in good condition.

#2. Invest in Quality Hardware

When refacing your cabinets, don't overlook the importance of selecting high-quality hardware. Your cabinet hinges, knobs, and drawer pulls play an important role not only in the functionality of your cabinets but also in their overall aesthetic appeal. Investing in durable, well-crafted hardware ensures that your newly refaced cabinets will stand up to daily use and maintain their beautiful appearance for years to come.

Consider factors like material (such as stainless steel, brass, or bronze), finish (like brushed, polished, or oil-rubbed), and style (modern, traditional, or transitional) when selecting your hardware to best complement your refaced cabinets and kitchen design.

#3. Enhance Functionality with Added Features

Refacing your cabinets is the perfect time to add features that boost your kitchen's functionality and organization. Consider these smart options:

  • Soft-Close Hinges and Glides: These ensure doors and drawers close gently and quietly, preventing slams and extending the life of your cabinets.
  • Pull-Out Organizers: Transform deep or awkward spaces with pull-out organizers for trash and recycling, spice racks, cookware, and more. Everything stays organized and within easy reach.

#4. Test for Lead-Based Paint in Older Cabinets

Test for Lead-Based Paint in Older Cabinets

If your kitchen cabinets were built and painted before the mid-1980s, it's crucial to have them tested for lead-based paint before starting a refacing project. Lead-based paint was commonly used in homes before it was banned in 1978 due to its health hazards, particularly for children and pregnant women.

Disturbing or sanding lead-based paint during the refacing process can release harmful lead dust into your home. If lead is found, hire a certified lead abatement professional for its safe removal or encapsulation. This crucial step ensures your project won't harm your family's health or contaminate your home.

#5. Maintain Your Refaced Cabinets

To ensure your newly refaced cabinets look stunning and function flawlessly for years, follow these simple maintenance tips:

  • Clean your cabinets frequently using a soft, damp cloth and a mild, non-abrasive cleaner.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals, abrasive sponges, or excessive water, as these can damage the finish or cause the materials to delaminate over time.
  • Wipe up any spills or splatters promptly to prevent staining or damage to the cabinet surfaces.
  • Periodically check for loose hinges, knobs, or pulls. Tighten as needed to ensure smooth operation and prevent unnecessary wear.

These easy steps will significantly extend the lifespan of your refaced cabinets, keeping your kitchen looking its best for years to come.

Why Refacing Kitchen Cabinets Is Worth It

Cabinet refacing offers a fantastic way to achieve a stunning kitchen transformation without the cost, environmental impact, or extended downtime of a full remodel.

Here's why it's worth considering:

  • Budget-Friendly Makeover: Refacing saves you money by keeping your existing cabinet boxes intact.
  • Eco-Conscious Option: It reduces landfill waste by reusing your cabinet frames.
  • Customized Style: Choose from a wide range of door styles, materials, and finishes to create a kitchen that perfectly reflects your taste, whether you prefer modern minimalism or classic elegance.

If you're looking for a faster, more affordable, and environmentally responsible way to update your kitchen, cabinet refacing is an excellent solution.

Why Choose Kitchen Cabinet Guys for Cabinet Refacing?

Why Choose Kitchen Cabinet Guys for Cabinet Refacing?

With over 20 years of experience and thousands of successful refacing projects, we are Chicagoland's cabinet refacing experts. We use only the highest-quality, eco-friendly materials and guarantee our work for life.

Our talented designers will collaborate with you to find the perfect style, color, and accessories to create your dream kitchen. Our professional installers ensure a flawless fit and finish for a beautiful result. Plus, our efficient process usually means your refacing is complete in just 2-4 days, minimizing disruption and maximizing your enjoyment of your refreshed space.

For a stunning kitchen transformation without the cost and hassle of a full remodel, contact Kitchen Cabinet Guys today for your free refacing consultation. Let us help you fall in love with your kitchen all over again!

Avoid Mistakes and Enjoy Your Kitchen's Aesthetic with Kitchen Cabinet Guys!

In the world of kitchen renovations, cabinet refacing offers a fantastic way to transform your space without breaking the bank, harming the environment, or enduring extended disruption. However, avoiding common pitfalls is key to a successful outcome.

Potential issues like low-quality materials, mismatched styles, neglected repairs, layout limitations, and a lack of DIY skills can hinder your results.

Ultimately, choosing to reface your cabinets is a wise decision. It saves money, reduces waste, and offers countless customization possibilities. Partnering with Kitchen Cabinet Guys ensures expertise, quality materials, and efficient execution. Our goal is to help you achieve a kitchen transformation that surpasses your dreams.

Contact us today and rediscover the joy of your kitchen – without the cost and hassle of a full remodel!


What are some tips to ensure a successful cabinet refacing project?

To ensure a successful cabinet refacing project, choose high-quality materials and durable hardware, and consider functional upgrades like soft-close hinges and organizers. Regularly clean your refaced cabinets and promptly address any signs of damage to keep them looking their best.

Can I save money by refacing my cabinets instead of replacing them?

Yes! Refacing typically saves 30-50% compared to the cost of full cabinet replacement. However, if your existing cabinets are severely damaged or you're planning a major layout change, replacement might be necessary.

How can I address issues that arise with my refaced cabinets?

If you encounter problems with your refaced cabinets, first identify the issue and its severity. Contact the company that performed the refacing for advice or repair services, as they should be responsible for rectifying problems due to improper installation or defective materials.

How do I match the colors of my refaced cabinets to my existing kitchen décor?

Choose a refacing company with extensive color and finish options and proven color-matching expertise. Bring samples of your current countertops, flooring, or appliances to help them find the closest match. A skilled professional can help you achieve a seamless look that perfectly complements your existing kitchen design.

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