Resurfacing or refacing kitchen cabinets can have a dramatic impact on the beauty and functionality of the room, while providing a significant savings over completely replacing the cabinets. Whether one chooses to make smaller changes, like moving and replacing hardware and painting, or one chooses to make more significant changes, like completely replacing the cabinet doors, leaving only the original frames, the results will change the very character of the room. Additionally, this type of home improvement may be taken on as a professionally contracted job or a do-it-yourself project, depending on the level of experience of the homeowner and the extent of the upgrades being sought. Regardless of the specifics, refacing kitchen cabinet doors is a budget-conscious way to improve the look of one’s kitchen and increase the value of one’s house.
The process of refacing kitchen cabinets involves removing drawers and cabinet doors, possibly resurfacing the facades of the remaining frames, and then reinstalling either the old doors after they have been altered or completely new doors. Regardless of which path one chooses to take, before any work is begun, it is important to put together a plan and a budget. In most cases, the budget will dictate the general direction of the plan because the range in the cost of refacing kitchen cabinets can differ significantly. On the low cost end of the spectrum, one can choose to repaint the existing cabinet doors and replace the hardware. Depending on the size of the kitchen and the number of cabinets involved, this entire process can be accomplished for a few hundred dollars. If the existing hinges are used, paint will run about $100 (semi-gloss or glossy paint is recommended for a kitchen, but eggshell can create an interesting look as well). Drawer pulls and cabinet knobs will run anywhere from $4 to $35 per piece, so getting something that is attractive at every price point is possible. An average sized kitchen will have 6 drawers and 6 cabinets, so the range of price for hardware can start as low as about $50. Once incidental supplies are included (brushes, sandpaper, drop cloth, etc.) The project is doable for as little as $200.
Some of the details of the above plan that can have a dramatic effect of the result are hardware selection and placement, color, and thoroughness. An easy way to make a big improvement in the appearance of one’s kitchen is to work within the bounds of up-to-date styles. Many 70s styled cabinets, for example, placed ornate knobs in the middle of cabinet doors. Removing these, patching the holes with wood putty, and placing the new knobs at the bottom or top corner of the cabinet door has the effect of significantly updating the look of the kitchen. In order to achieve this type of upgrade, one can get ideas from magazines or any local home improvement store; modern styles are often simple to duplicate and make an incredible difference.
Picking a color that falls with the modern color palate is important as well. Nothing can date a kitchen more than the overuse of a “period” color; the 70s again was an era from which some very dated colors were chosen. Furthermore, light colors will have the effect of making a space seem larger and more open, an important feature when planning a kitchen makeover that included refacing the pantry cabinets. The color one selects to use, whether a paint color or a stain color, has an important impact.
Lastly, making sure that the job is done thoroughly is of utmost importance. It is very important to thorough strip, sand, and clean the cabinet doors and drawers before they are reinstalled. They should be painted or stained while they are still off of their hinges to make detail work more manageable, and this should be done with care. Little aspects such as ensuring that the insides of the doors, and even the cabinets, match the outside can make the difference between a professional looking job and a clearly amateur one. Skipping steps like priming the doors, fully sanding, and painting the inside of the cabinet doors saves time during the project, but yields a far inferior result. Completing these steps adds very little to the overall cost of the job, but having to redo things does. As such, it is both easier and cheaper to do things correctly the first time than to need to go back and redo major portion of the cabinet refacing.
Within the context of the do-it-yourself version of a thorough cabinet resurfacing, other elements that can add to the time and the cost include replacing the hinges and/ or the doors themselves. Hinges, like knobs and drawer pulls can range significantly in cost, but can have an impact on the appearance of the finished job. It is important to be sure that any new hinges selected will work properly with the doors chosen. New doors will work with new hinges, but existing doors may require a specific hinge type that is no longer available. Similarly if one wishes to replace the doors, one should consider what options will fit seamlessly with the existing structure, and if the result justifies the cost.
On the high end of the cost spectrum is contracting the job out. This solution has the advantage of being effortless for the homeowner, but will certainly add dramatically to the cost. In most cases, a cabinet company will come to one’s home, take measurements, and give the homeowner various options as to the cost and quality of replacement doors and drawers. Once these choices are made, the company will set a date for when the doors have been manufactured, and then return and complete the job. This process can cost as much as $3000, depending on the size of the kitchen. It is still several thousand dollars less than brand new cabinets, but it is significantly more pricey than doing the job oneself. Regardless of the specific method chosen, refacing or resurfacing one’s kitchen cabinets will impact the appearance of the kitchen and the value of the home. It is a rewarding and worthwhile way to upgrade one’s home.
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