The Complete Guide to Refacing your Kitchen Cabinets

If you love the layout of your kitchen, but would like to get rid of the greased and scratched cabinets that came with the house, then refacing may be a practical choice. Also called cabinet resurfacing, it can help you save some serious cash and give your kitchen a completely remodelled look within days.

A little colour, new veneer and stylish doors, you won’t believe that it’s the same cabinets. But refacing may not be suitable for everyone. In some cases, it makes more sense to tear down the old cabinets and rebuild.

Is refacing the right choice for me?

The first thing is to find out whether refacing will work for your kitchen. Apart from the aesthetics, a well-executed resurfacing project can increase the life of your cabinets by at least 10 years. If the cabinet body is damaged due to a water leak, warping or is in really bad shape (damaged frames), then it may not be able to sustain the restoration process. It will be a futile exercise that is at best avoided. Cabinets with sturdy frames can be refaced easily.

Why Reface

Because it costs almost half of what a complete remodel would cost you. You can use your kitchen for cooking even when it’s being done. And the complete process takes less than a week. Why not reface if you have a well-designed kitchen that only needs a makeover?

The Costs

When you decide to resurface the kitchen cabinets, the cost is one of the most important factors to consider. A professionally done resurfacing job for an average 10 x 12 sized kitchen can cost around $3000 to $7500. On the other hand, the cost for custom made new cabinets ranges from $16000 to $20000. Beat that.

The Type of Refacing

You need to decide the degree to which you wish to reface the cabinets. It depends on how much you are willing to spend and what you can buy with your budget. Sometimes, all it needs is a coat of fresh paint. The result can be so dramatic that it can completely transform the look of a kitchen. In most cases though, the doors, drawer fronts and hardware are replaced, which adds to the cost.


The choices for the finishes are endless. You can choose from Veneers in a wide range of colours, textures, patterns and you can even mix and match these. If you would like to opt for a low-costing makeover, then you can replace the old wooden cabinet doors with RTF (Rigid Thermofoil) doors. You can choose from plastic laminates in matching or contrasting colours. And if nothing else works, then you can select from wood veneer made of oak, maple or cherry.

The Installation

A professionally executed resurfacing will begin with the measurement of the cabinets to determine the amount of veneer required. Once the new doors, drawer fronts are delivered (may take upto two weeks), the old doors and drawer fronts will be removed and the surface will be degreased and prepared. Any flaws or damage in the cabinets can be repaired at this stage. The new veneer will then be fitted along with new hardware and finally, the refaced cabinets will be mounted.

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