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What Is Cabinet Refacing: A Complete Guide

cabinet refacing
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More and more often, people come to us who have never heard of our services. Admittedly, they share, "Before you, we didn't even know there was such a service..." Well, we answer, as usual with a smile, "You're not the first!"

Indeed, in the network, you can find a lot of information on the subject of what is cabinet refacing, but does any article reflect the essence and current trends in the world of surface refacing technologies? After all, it's not just about kitchen cabinets and doors, or cabinets in any other room, including the bathroom.

Instead, it's about the approach, the way of thinking. More and more, we encounter a misunderstanding of the essence and simple formula: costs + modern technology = affordable result.

In an era when robots are becoming commonplace, there are people among us who are surprised that affordable refacing is no longer an illusion, but a reality. So, let's have a closer look at why refacing kitchen cabinets services are worth it.

What Is Kitchen Cabinet Refacing?

What Is Kitchen Cabinet Refacing?

Cabinet refacing, an essential part of kitchen remodeling, is a process that primarily involves changing the appearance of your cabinet doors and drawer fronts. When you embark on a cabinet refacing project, you’re essentially choosing to update your current kitchen while keeping the original cabinets. This method of kitchen cabinet refacing doesn’t alter your kitchen's layout but provides an impressive transformation.

What is refacing cabinet doors? This part of understanding how to reface cabinet doors involves replacing or applying a new 3D laminate to the visible parts of your cabinets while leaving the cabinet boxes intact. It's a strategic method to revamp your kitchen's aesthetic without full-scale demolition. This option is particularly favorable if you have high-quality cabinet boxes that are still in good condition. With cabinet refacing, you give your kitchen a brand-new look without the high cost associated with installing new custom cabinets.

How Much Does Cabinet Refacing Cost?

The average cost of cabinet refacing largely depends on several key factors:

  • Size and Number of Cabinets: Larger kitchens with more cabinets naturally cost more.
  • Material Choices: Premium veneers and solid wood doors will carry a higher price tag.
  • Project Complexity: Additional features like crown molding or glass inserts add to the cost.
  • Labor Costs: Rates vary depending on your location and the contractor you choose.

However, compared to a full-blown kitchen remodel, refacing offers significant cost savings. By choosing cabinet refacing with Kitchen Cabinet Guys instead of undergoing full kitchen remodeling, you can save up to 70% on the price — it's a worthwhile investment. Our unique process eliminates the need for complete replacement, enabling us to offer the best refacing costs on the market.

Is Refacing Kitchen Cabinets Worth It?

Cabinet refacing has proven to be a cost-effective and time-saving solution for many homeowners looking to breathe new life into their kitchens. One of the main reasons why refacing is considered a worthwhile investment is that it leverages the existing surface and structure of your old cabinet doors.

Instead of tearing out and replacing all the cabinets, refacing simply involves updating the look with a new door style, new knobs, or a fresh layer of veneer. This results in a significantly lower cost, without the hassle of comprehensive kitchen remodeling.

Additionally, the storage space inside your cabinets remains intact and undisturbed throughout the process. If the interior of your cabinets is in good shape and you're content with your current kitchen layout, opting to reface cabinets can be a smart, economical, and eco-friendly choice.

Pros and Cons of Cabinet Refacing

Pros and Cons of Cabinet Refacing

When it comes to enhancing the aesthetics and functionality of your kitchen cabinets, the option of refacing is a viable choice. Let's dive into understanding cabinet refacing.

Pros of Cabinet Refacing

  • Cost-Effective: Refacing kitchen cabinets is typically less expensive compared to buying new cabinet boxes — refacing offers significant savings, often up to 70%. This is especially beneficial if you are looking for a budget-friendly kitchen makeover.
  • Quick Transformation: Compared to a complete kitchen remodel, the process of kitchen cabinet refacing is quicker, and often completed within a few days. This reduces the disruption caused in your home.
  • Variety of Options: With cabinet refacing services, you have choices when it comes to door styles, cabinet hardware, or laminate doors. This allows you to customize your kitchen to match your style and preferences.
  • Eco-friendly: Cabinet refacing is an environmentally friendly approach as it allows the cabinet boxes to stay in place, reducing waste materials and conserving resources. This method only replaces the cabinet fronts, saving your existing cabinets from the landfill.
  • Enhances Home Value: An updated, modern-looking kitchen can significantly boost your home's value, making refacing a wise investment.

Cons of Cabinet Refacing

  • Limited to Existing Layout: Won't solve issues with a kitchen's layout or increase storage space.
  • Quality of Original Cabinets: Not suitable for cabinets that are in poor condition or poorly constructed.

How to Reface Cabinets in 8 Steps

How to Reface Cabinets in 8 Steps

So what does refacing cabinets really mean? Here's what's involved in refacing kitchen cabinets:

#1. Plan and Budget

Researching available materials and their costs will help you select the right options for your kitchen. Establishing a realistic budget involves considering the costs of materials, labor, and any unforeseen expenses. Planning ensures that the project aligns with your financial expectations and design preferences.

#2. Choose a Reputable Contractor

Finding a contractor with a solid track record in cabinet refacing is vital to the success of your project. We recommend obtaining quotes from several contractors to compare prices and services offered. Reading reviews and checking references can provide insight into their reliability, quality of work, and customer satisfaction. A reputable contractor like Kitchen Cabinet Guys must have the experience and skills necessary to deliver a high-quality finish.

#3. Prepare Your Kitchen

To facilitate a smooth refacing process, the kitchen needs to be prepared. This includes emptying the cabinets to prevent damage to your items and clearing the workspace to give the contractor adequate room to work. Protecting nearby surfaces, floors, and appliances with drop cloths or plastic sheeting helps prevent damage and makes cleanup easier.

#4. Door and Drawer Removal

The contractor will carefully remove the existing cabinet doors and drawers. Each piece is typically labeled during removal to ensure that everything can be accurately reassembled or matched with new fronts. This step is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the cabinets and ensuring that the new doors and drawer fronts fit perfectly.

#5. Cabinet Box Preparation

Cabinet Box Preparation

This step involves making any necessary repairs to the cabinet boxes to ensure they are structurally sound and ready for the new veneer. The surface of the cabinet boxes is also prepared, which may involve cleaning, sanding, and applying a primer, depending on the type of veneer to be used. Proper preparation is key to ensuring that the new veneer adheres correctly and lasts.

#6. Veneer Application

While many providers may approach veneer application with standard techniques, often relying on conventional wood veneers and straightforward methods of application, Kitchen Cabinet Guys set themselves apart through a dedication to innovation and quality. We focus on excellence in cabinet refacing, repair, replacement, and manufacturing through the use of advanced 3D laminate and MDF materials.

Our innovative approach at Kitchen Cabinet Guys begins with a thorough evaluation and creative design phase. Utilizing state-of-the-art CAD technology, we have the freedom to experiment and bring to life a wide variety of panel designs. From our workshop to on-site installation, we ensure meticulous craftsmanship in applying laminates, conducting quality checks, and providing expert thermofoil cabinet door repair services with advanced CNC technology.

As we mentioned before, at Kitchen Cabinet Guys, we go beyond traditional veneer applications. For us, advanced materials should not only offer a sleek and modern aesthetic but also boast antibacterial properties. That’s why we reduce bacteria growth by over 99.99% with the help of special treatment coating. 

Additionally, we produce UV-resistant materials, ensuring your cabinets maintain their vibrant color for years to come.

#7. New Door and Drawer Installation

With the cabinet boxes beautifully refaced, it's time to install the new doors and drawer fronts. Our skilled team ensures perfect alignment, opening, and closing mechanisms, and the professional fit of each element. This installation breathes new life into your existing kitchen so that your cabinets are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

#8. Hardware Update

The final touch in the cabinet refacing process is updating the hardware. This includes hinges, handles, and knobs. New hardware not only completes the transformation but can also significantly influence the style and feel of the kitchen.

Additional Factors to Consider When Refacing Cabinets

Before deciding to proceed with cabinet refacing, be sure to evaluate your current cabinets. Not all cabinet boxes are suitable candidates for refacing, even if they are sturdy and have been well-maintained. Here's what to look for:

  • Cabinet Box Condition: Ensure your cabinet boxes are structurally sound and free of major water damage before investing in refacing. The cost to reface kitchen cabinets might not be worth it if you're dealing with damaged internal elements.
  • Cabinet Box Construction: Cabinets with solid construction made of plywood or medium-density fiberboard (MDF) are the most suitable for refacing.
  • Solid Hardwood Face Frames: Cabinets with face frames made of solid hardwood are ideal, as they can solidly anchor new doors and handle veneers well.
  • Setting Realistic Expectations: Refacing can refresh outdated cabinets, but it can't completely change the layout or address major structural issues.

Basically, if your cabinets are robust, well-made, and in decent condition, then cabinet refacing is a viable option for your kitchen remodel.

What Is the Difference Between Refinishing, Refacing, and Resurfacing Kitchen Cabinets?

While the terms "refacing," "refinishing," and "resurfacing" are sometimes used interchangeably, they represent distinct approaches to updating kitchen cabinets:

Method Process Cost Benefits Drawbacks
Refinishing Cabinets Sanding down and applying a new coat of paint or stain to existing doors and drawers. The most affordable option, typically 50-60% less than refacing. Freshen the look without major disruption. Retain the original wood grain (if applicable). Limited to existing style and color options. Doesn't address issues with damaged doors or drawers. Requires meticulous preparation and application.
Refacing Cabinets Replacing doors, and drawer fronts, and adding veneer/laminate to cabinet boxes. More extensive transformation. Moderate option, falling between refinishing and full replacement. Wide range of style and color choices. Improves functionality with new hardware. Faster turnaround than a full remodel. Doesn't address layout issues or internal damage. May not be suitable for low-quality cabinet boxes.
Resurfacing Cabinets Similar to refacing, but instead of using veneer, a thin layer of laminate is applied directly to existing doors and drawer fronts. Slightly cheaper than refacing, but also less durable. Faster and more affordable than refacing. Can offer a smooth, modern look. Limited style and color options compared to refacing. Less durable than veneer or new doors. May not adhere well to damaged surfaces.

Give Your Cabinets a New Life with Kitchen Cabinet Guys

If you want to reface your cabinets — reach out to local providers! For any home renovation project, they offer lots of benefits such as specialized local knowledge, personalized services, efficiency, economic support to your area, compliance with local regulations, potential cost savings, and a higher level of accountability.

For those residing in the Chicagoland area, Kitchen Cabinet Guys encourages you to contact us directly. Our office is conveniently located in West Chicago, making it easy for us to collaborate closely on your kitchen transformation project.

Leveraging natural woods and durable laminate veneer, our team specializes in refacing cabinets, offering your space a fresh appeal while maximizing countertop space. We believe in blending form and function, creating a kitchen refacing strategy that reflects your taste and accommodates your needs.


I've heard that painting cabinets is cheaper than refacing — is that actually true?

Yes, it's true painting cabinets can be cheaper than refacing them, but there are some important considerations. As a homeowner looking to cost-effectively upgrade your kitchen, painting could provide a quick cosmetic fix to hold you over for a few more years. However, from our personal experience, refacing offers a longer-lasting renovation for not much more investment on your part.

The laminate cabinet refacing stands up better to daily wear and tear and has continued looking good for over a decade. So if you see yourself in the home for many more years, we usually recommend that small added upfront cost for refacing. It modernizes the whole kitchen surface nicely compared to painting just the cabinet boxes. And you'd avoid more frequent touch-ups or recoats down the road.

How long does cabinet refacing last?

Cabinet refacing can last for decades, depending on factors such as the original condition of your cabinets, the quality of the refacing work, and how the cabinets are cared for post-refacing. On average, the longevity of refaced cabinets is around 15-20 years but with regular maintenance, you can extend their lifetime significantly.

Can I DIY cabinet refacing?

While it’s possible to learn how to reface cabinets yourself, it can be highly complex and time-consuming. Hiring a professional for cabinet refacing ensures a high-quality finish, saves countertop space, and it's typically the more stress-free route.

What to do if the thermofoil finish on my cabinet doors gets damaged or peels away?

If thermofoil cabinet doors get scratched or the laminate peels, specialized repair services can fix or reface them rather than requiring whole cabinet replacement.

For minor chips, technicians have repair kits to bond new matching laminate seamlessly into small problem spots. For large damaged areas over 12 inches, cabinet refacing may be recommended. This thermofoil cabinetry repair service replaces entire laminate panels with fresh sheeting down to the frames to restore a uniform, like-new appearance at a fraction of full cabinet install costs.

Does cabinet refacing come with any warranties?

Absolutely. At Kitchen Cabinet Guys, we stand firmly behind our workmanship with a comprehensive 1-year warranty for our cabinet refacing services. This robust warranty period isn’t just an assurance, but a testament to our unwavering confidence in the durability and quality of the work we deliver.

Is it cheaper to reface or replace cabinetry?

Typically, cabinet refacing costs around 50% to 70% less than replacing or installing semi-custom cabinets. This is due to the use of existing cabinet boxes during refacing, which saves on materials and labor while still giving your kitchen a fresh, new look.

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