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The Misconception of Cabinet Refacing...

By Mark Barela on Sep 24, 2014

What do you think of when someone mentions kitchen cabinet refacing? It's quick? There's less mess? It's less expensive?

Well, refacing isn't what you think it is! I'm going to go over some of the aspects of refacing verses replacing.

Which is Quicker?

Well, that depends. If you think that 3 to 5 days is fast to get your kitchen back in order, then sure it's quick. The process of refacing is pretty laborsome. First, the old doors and drawer fronts are removed. Next, the face frames are cleaned and prepped. Sometimes a little scuffing from sandpaper is needed. Next, the face frame material is measured and cut for each section. This part has to be precise, one false measurement and your material is ruined. Next, the cut pieces are carefully installed on each cabinet, upper and base. After the face frame material is installed, end panels are installed to cover the exposed sides of the cabinets. Next, new toe kick and trim moulding is installed. Finally, your new doors and drawer fronts are installed and waxed.

Seems like a lot work right? Well it is!

If we were to install brand new cabinets, we could complete the job in about 1 to 2 days. First we remove your old cabinets, then we install your new ones. After installation, toe kick, trim and any other items are installed. It's not as labor intensive as refacing.

Seems pretty quick going with new cabinets! What do you think?

What's Messier?

Well, with any construction project, there will be some mess. Replacing cabinets with probably accumulate more dust than refacing. That mainly happens when the old cabinets come out. Most of the cutting happens outside where the tools are set up.

It's probably a little less messier to reface since your old cabinets do not come out.

What's the Cost? 

Here's where we separate apples from oranges. As with any job, there is the cost of materials and labor. The cost of materials are just that. They are usually the lowest factor in this comparison. The labor is where the price can drastically change. 

While there may be less materials involved in refacing, there is a lot more labor. It takes time to measure and precisely cut the materials for the face frames. It's more time consuming because there is more detail involved.

Replacing cabinets, most of the time, is less than or the same price as refacing. Our cabinet manufacturers build in volume, so the cost for materials and labor is lower. Also, there is less labor involved when installing new cabinets. It's faster and easier to install one cabinet box than it is to reface one cabinet frame.


So, what do you think? Reface or Replace? It really depends on you. Sometimes, if you have new granite or solid surface counter tops already installed, the only option is to reface.

If you are planning on updating your countertops too, the most cost effective way is to replace your old cabinets. Not only will the cost be lower, you’ll be getting  brand new cabinets, inside and out!