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Kitchen Cabinet Refacing for Your Home

Updated on June 12, 2013

Have you been dreaming about a new kitchen? Are you tired of the worn out look of your kitchen as it stands right now? There really is nothing like it, is there? Having a new kitchen will make your house seem so much more like a home. After all, you spend so much time in the kitchen. You cook there, you probably have meals there, you might even read and pay your bills in the kitchen. It really should be one of the nicest and most pleasant rooms in your home.

The problem is, getting a whole new kitchen is expensive, especially replacing all of those cabinets. Putting in all new cabinets can cost thousands, even tens of thousands, of dollars, and that may be more than you can handle right now. But don’t give up hope yet! You can have a whole new kitchen without getting a whole new set of cabinets. Kitchen cabinet refacing offers you the opportunity to freshen up your kitchen at a fraction of the cost. Read on to see if you are a good candidate for kitchen cabinet refacing.

Kitchen Cabinet Refacing can give your kitchen a face-lift.
Kitchen Cabinet Refacing can give your kitchen a face-lift.

To Replace or Reface?

Replacing all of your kitchen cabinets is not only an enormously expensive process, it can take a long time to do as well. Even when hiring a professional contractor, ripping out and installing new cabinets can put your kitchen out of service for a week or more. On the other hand, refacing your kitchen cabinets only takes a few days. What’s more, it is a fairly simple job, and if you are handy, you might be able to do it yourself. The question is, are your cabinets ready for replacing or refacing?

The number one factor in determining whether you can reface your cabinets is what kind of shape the underlying carpentry of the cabinet is in. Even if the outer doors or drawers of your kitchen set are worn out or seem outdated, if the underlying structure is sound, then you are most likely good to go with refacing.

The truth is, many of the cabinets sold today are not built as solidly and with as good of craftsmanship and hardware as they were even thirty years ago. This means that you may actually be better off using the underlying cabinets made several years ago than replacing them with inferior contemporary products. If this is true in your home, the next question should not be, Should I reface, but what kind of refacing should I use?

Types of Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

There are three basic types of kitchen cabinet refacing options, which depend on the kind of finish used in the process. These three types of refacing consist of plastic laminate finishes, RTFs or rigid thermofoils, and wood veneers. Which of these finishes you go with will be determined by how much you wish to spend on kitchen cabinet refacing and on the final look you wish to achieve.

The RTF finishes are generally the least expensive option for cabinet refacing. These finishes are pressure molded over fiberboard doors and drawers. The nice thing about RTF is that it can be shaped into a variety of styles because of its high malleability. Thus, cathedral or arched cabinet doors are easily fashioned with RTF. This finish comes in a few solid colors and in wood grain simulations.

Plastic laminate finishes for kitchen cabinet refacing are somewhat more expensive, although the range of colors available is a bit wider than with RTF. Wood grain finishes are available as well. Plastic laminate will wear well in your kitchen with repeated use and are a good second option.

Finally, there are the wood veneer finishes. These are the most expensive of the kitchen cabinet refacing options, but for some people real wood will be the only way to go. Not only are these wood veneer finishes durable, they are exceptionally beautiful in the way only real wood can be. Of course, wood veneers can be stained in a variety of shades and are made with anything from pine wood to cherry to oak to birch wood.

Do It Yourself or Hire a Contractor

Considering the relative ease involved in refacing your kitchen cabinets, you may be wondering whether you should hire someone to do the refacing or perhaps go it alone and do it yourself. If you are someone who enjoys home remodeling projects and has a bit of experience, there are plenty of references you can find that will help you reface your own cabinets. What’s more, some home building retailers will supply you with kits that contain everything you need to do the job.

On the other hand, because refacing is pretty inexpensive and can be accomplished in just a couple days, you may decide instead to hire a refacing contractor. Ask around for people who have had the job done and were happy with the work their contractor did. Either way, kitchen cabinet refacing is sure to please you. Get a whole new kitchen at a fraction of the price of replacement.


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