Understanding Cabinet Refacing

 Understanding Cabinet Refacing

If you are planning to make a new kitchen or modify your kitchen to give it a fresh new look, then cabinet refacing is the best choice. The primary intent during kitchen remodeling is to modify the look of the cabinet. In most of the cases, you can modify the look of your kitchen simply by cabinet refacing. It renders the benefit of replacing the cabinet at a lower cost. Here is all you need to know about cabinet refacing. 

What is Cabinet Refacing?

Cabinet refacing refers to the process of upgrading the cabinet faces of all the finished surfaces in your kitchen. It is best for the homeowners who do not want to change the layout and just want to alter the shape or design of the cabinet doors. It is the best alternative when you have a low budget and is also suitable when your cabinet boxes are in perfect condition. 

Cabinet refacing comprises covering the present cabinet doors with a thin surface like laminate, wood, or thermofoil. Most of the time during cabinet refacing, the contractors replace the drawer faces, drawer boxes, or cabinet doors in order to give a new look to the kitchen.

How Refacing Works?

Cabinet refacing is the replacement of the cabinet skins. The hardware like handles, drawer pulls, and the door hinges are also replaced during the process of refacing. Below mentioned is the process of cabinet refacing.

  • First of all, the cabinet drawers, doors, and their fronts are removed.
  • The front of the boxes is covered using melamine based product, RTF, or natural wood veneer.
  • The cabinet sides are layered using laminate or wood veneer.
  • If needed, new hinges to the doors are added.
  • The next step is to install the new drawer fronts, doors, handles, drawer pulls, and other fixtures.
  • Finally, the optional accessories like crown molding, storage accessories, glass panels,  or lighting are installed.

It usually requires a three-day schedule for cabinet refacing. 

Day1: The first day would include removing doors, hardware, door fronts. Then veneering can be started. 

Day 2: Continue the process of veneering. Clean the house at the end of the day.

Day 3: Complete the process of veneering. Finally, install drawer fronts and new doors and make the final adjustments. 

If you are doing the cabinet refacing work yourself, then allow time of at least a week for completing the work properly. 

Evaluating Cabinets for Refacing

Not all the cabinets are okay for cabinet refacing. It does not mean that old cabinets can not be refaced. First of all, you need to check is it worth refacing kitchen cabinets? In many cases, old cabinets have studier construction that can accept the new doors and vanners successfully. Here are three elements that are needed for cabinet refacing.

  • Solid hardwood face framed. Face frames of good hardwood can accept the veneers and new doors properly
  • Boxes with sturdy construction made of MDF panels or plywood that are in good condition. In order to adhere appropriately, new veneers need a solid and smooth surface
  • Internal hardware should be in good condition. If the cabinets lack storing accessories and shelving, there is no benefit of cabinet refacing


cabinet refacing


Costs of Cabinet Refacing

The cost of cabinet refacing is less than the cost of replacing the kitchen with custom cabinets. It is the best and affordable kitchen remodeling. However, don’t opt for cabinet refacing if you think it is a cheap alternative. Usually, the process of refacing cabinets is performed by specialist costs around 50 percent of the amount required for new custom cabinet installation. Professional refacing for kitchens of size around 10 by 12-foot costs around $1000 to $3000 if you opt for laminate veneers. However, if you opt for real wood veneers, then it can cost between $2500 to $6000. If you choose to use top-quality wood veneers in large kitchens, then it costs up to $9000. There is an additional cost of around $2 to $50 per piece for new hardware. 

By contrast, the installation cost for all the new cabinets is around $4000 to $5000 for cabinets that are off-the-shelf. For new custom cabinetry, the cost can be more than $20,000. An average kitchen of full size costs around $12,000 to $20,000 while the cost of a refaced kitchen having the same size is around $7,000 to $10,000. 

Cost-saving is easy for DYer. If you are able to perform cabinet refacing by yourself, then you can save the cost. You can expect to spend around $200 to $500 for the material of veneer and the cost of drawer fronts, hardware, and new door. 

Pros and Cons of Cabinet Refacing

When looking for cabinet remodeling, you should consider the advantages and disadvantages of cabinet refacing. Here are the pros and cons of cabinet refacing. 


  • If your present kitchen meets your requirements, then kitchen refacing is the perfect choice for kitchen remodeling.
  • A wide range of options for a veneer for both natural woods and laminates are available in the market
  • It is best for cost-saving. Cabinet refacing helps you give a new look to your kitchen at just half of the cost needed for installing new custom cabinets. However, you need to carefully consider the cost.
  • Cabinet refacing is a green option for remodeling. It helps in avoiding landfills in the boxes, which is a great benefit considering that most of the cabinet boxes are manufactured from MDF, which contains a harmful chemical, namely formaldehyde. It also helps in avoiding cutting down trees to make new cabinets.


  • Wood veneers might need finishing, comprising extra steps for the purpose of varnishing and staining
  • If your kitchen requires footprint change, then cabinet refacing is not a choice for you as it does not allow adding counter space or changing the layout. Hence, layout changes are not possible in cabinet refacing.
  • DIY option in cabinet refacing is quite challenging. Veneering is an attained skill that requires patience and skills in DIYers. However, installing drawer fronts and cabinet doors is fairly easy.
  • Costs can increase. Adding new doors, fronts, door hinges, drawers, and interior storage accessories can lead to an increase in the overall cost of refacing. 

 Buying Refacing Services and Materials

If you search online, you will get the names of different firms that provide cabinet refacing services. Contractors of cabinet refacing are usually the local firms that specialize in providing the service of cabinet refacing. When you contact the contractor regarding cabinet refacing, you should tell them about your needs. You can also tell your requirements at a retailer of the big-box home improvement, who is able to arrange the services from their affiliated installation vendors. 


If your existing cabinets in the kitchen are constructed properly and are in good shape, then cabinet refacing is a perfect option for you. If the existing kitchen layout is working well for you, then also it is a good choice. However, if there is a structural problem in the existing cabinets or features of internal storage are lacking, or the hardware is not in proper condition, then cabinet refacing is not an option for you. It would be better for you to install new cabinets. 


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