A cheap and fast way to transform your kitchen

Lee Nelson
Why you should reface cabinets

You watch all those home renovation shows that inspire you to transform your kitchen into something modern, sleek, and sexy. As it is right now, sexy definitely doesn't describe your marred-up and pitiful cabinets.

And sure, you could get all new cabinets, but that might cost you a lot of money. Another more cost-effective option, however, is to reface them. When you reface cabinets, you're essentially keeping the existing boxes while replacing the doors and drawer fronts. And if your kitchen cabinets are structurally sound, this could be a viable option for you.

In addition to costs, here some reasons why refacing cabinets - instead of replacing them - is smart.

#1 - It's a Cost-Effective Option

"Refacing gives you the biggest bang for your buck because you get to repurpose your existing cabinets which save a lot of money," says Kathe Russell, general manager and co-owner of Cabinet Makeovers & More in El Dorado Hills, CA.

As a result, "Your kitchen really needs to be evaluated by a professional before you sink any money into a kitchen cabinet redo," says Russell. If your cabinet structure is in good shape, salvaging your current cabinets could save you lot of money.

How much money, you ask? Michael Marusak, a licensed contractor and owner of CabinetReface Kitchens & Bath in Overland Park, Kan., says he can reface cabinets in an average-size kitchen (a 10 ft. by 12 ft. room) for $4,000 to $9,000 depending on the style of wood drawer fronts, doors chosen, and how many cabinets are present.

On the other hand, new cabinets and a new countertop could cost five to six times as much, says Marusak.

"It can cost up to $30,000 for new cabinets and a granite countertop," he says. The reason it's so pricey? "You have to have a new countertop once you put in new cabinets because everything needs to be torn out."

So, if you're looking for a cost-effective remodel, cabinet rafacing is the way to go.

[Do you want to reface your cabinets? Click to find a contractor in your area now.]

#2 - It Takes Less Time than Replacing Cabinets

Another perk that comes with refacing cabinets is the timeframe it could be completed in.

Since refacing only requires contractors to take off the doors and drawer fronts, the demolition process is less time consuming than replacing cabinets entirely.

In fact, when you purchase new cabinets, it's common to also replace the floors, back splashes or countertops to accommodate the new cabinets, Russell says.

"With refacing, it might take anywhere from three to five [weeks] opposed to six to eight weeks or longer if you had new cabinets installed," says Russell. "You can really speed up the process a lot with refacing."

Of course, this is a general time frame, and it will vary depending on how many cabinets you want to reface.

#3 - It's Environmentally Friendly

Have you watched those kitchen makeover shows where a homeowner takes a big whack to a cabinet with a sledge hammer? All that material they demolish has to go somewhere, and that's usually the landfill.

"If you aren't pulling out the whole kitchen, then it's not going to the dump," says Russell.

The majority of the cabinets stay in your own kitchen if you are just refacing. Many times, only the doors are being put in the dump, or the homeowners can try to recycle them. Even if you are just doing a simple bathroom cabinet refacing, most everything stays where it is so you're not only saving money, but the environment as well.

"This is a huge reason for many to reface. When refacing, we hardly have to put anything in the landfill," says Russell.

Many designers and contractors like Russell donate the doors and drawer fronts from a refacing job to a Habitat for Humanity ReStore. ReStores sell these surplus building and renovation materials to people who refinish them or use them as part of their creative furniture.

"Someone else's junk can be just what someone else is looking for," Russell says.

[Interested in refacing your cabinets? Click to find a contractor to help with your renovation now.]

#4 - You'll be able to Use Your Kitchen during the Remodel

Night after night of pizza delivery, Chinese carryout and drive-through hamburgers could be your culinary scenario if you decide to replace your cabinets. You won't be able to use your appliances or counter because everything must be completely cleared away to make room for your dream cabinets.

However, if you choose to reface your cabinets, you'll likely still be able to utilize your kitchen.

"During a refacing job, workers should clean up at the end of the day. That allows you to use your sink, stove and refrigerator even during the process," says Marusak. "When you do a complete remodel, you can't cook or use your sink until it's done, which can sometimes be months."

And while every refacing job is different, for the most part, there isn't a lot of demolition to cause too much disruption.

For example, if you aren't putting in a new countertop, you'll also have space to prepare meals, says Russell. But check with your contractor to figure out how much mess will be made and how long the process will take.

#5 - You Like Your Current Cabinet Layout

The configuration of your kitchen is good. The stove is handy, and the sink is under the big window where you can watch your kids play outside. But the cabinets just aren't pretty anymore.

"If you don't need any layout changes, refacing is perfect for this type of situation," Russell says. "We keep the existing boxes, and everything stays the same. We don't have to move gas or water lines. That makes things go much quicker with no added on expenses."

Even if you want to add an island or make simple changes to the layout, it shouldn't add too much time or fuss, she says. In fact, many islands are pre-made, and all you have to do it pick out a countertop.

By calling a contractor soon, you can find out how refacing can give you the kitchen cabinets you've always wanted without too much hassle, cost, or time.