4-replace-or-reface-cabinetsCabinet refacing has become a very popular and often economical alternative to traditional kitchen remodeling projects.  Refacing specialist install new doors, drawer fronts, hinges, and hardware to give your kitchen a complete style makeover.  Because the existing cabinet box remains relatively untouched, cabinet refacing can in many cases be less expensive than a complete tear-out and new cabinet installation.  Although it may seem like a great option when you are getting started, cabinet refacing may not be the right choice for you.

All remodels begin with a desire to address style, functionality, or concerns over space – and in many cases, all three.  A complete remodel can address any of those three areas, while refacing your cabinets will generally only impact the style.  It is critical that you plan and prioritize what you would most like to accomplish with your project before you begin.  Clearly understanding your needs, wants, and desires will defend you from wasted time and perhaps even an expensive kitchen project that fails to meet your expectations.

Putting a new face on the old kitchen

Kitchen cabinet refacing will often be the least expensive option for your remodeling project, making it a good choice for budget-conscious consumers.  This approach is a great alternative for homeowners who are generally pleased with the overall layout and functionality of their existing kitchen but simply want an updated look.  Cabinet refacing is also attractive in older rental properties and secondary kitchens found in some larger homes.  In most cases, refacing provides only a cosmetic change, although the addition of roll-out trays and other cabinet accessories can offer slight improvements in functionality as well.

What many people don’t realize is that labor costs in a refacing project can in certain situations offset the savings in materials.  Every project and contractor is unique and accurate quotes can be hard to obtain and can vary widely.  In many cases, there can be hidden damage to existing cabinets that can cause your project to run over budget or turn out with less than expected results.  It is critical that you obtain “quotes”, not “estimates”, from refacing contractors and that the quote addresses charges for hidden damage up front.  It is equally important that you clearly understand every service being provided – and those that are not.  Many reputable refacing contractors will supply you “before” and “after” samples of their work.

Traditional Remodel

A complete kitchen remodel offers the flexibility to tackle any issue you might have with your current kitchen.  In fact, good remodeling contractors can often help you address all of them.  Of course, this increased flexibility typically comes with a higher price tag and it is easy to design a beautiful gourmet kitchen for your space that will far exceed your budget.

Choosing to replace your kitchen cabinets is usually the best way to address concerns over functionality and space.  The big win in a complete remodel is adding cabinets that provide additional storage and countertop space while improving functionality.  Cabinet replacement is also a wise choice when you want to make sweeping changes to design elements – like adding a diagonal corner wall cabinet, a built-in wine rack, or perhaps even glass doors.  Today’s cabinet manufacturers offer an astounding selection of products and styles to fit most every budget and taste.

Remember that with any remodeling project, it’s a delicate balance between your needs, wants, and budget.  If your primary concern is the color of your cabinets, refacing may be the perfect solution.  On the other hand, if you hate stretching to reach items stored near the ceiling, then cabinet replacement might be the best choice.  Begin your project with planning and prioritization to decide which approach is right for you.