Cabinet Refacing vs. Kitchen Remodeling: Pros, Cons, and Everything In-Between

Written by Megan Gerdes

pros and cons of cabinet refacing vs kitchen remodelingWhen we get involved in a kitchen remodel, we are often asked about layer refacing or layer finishing versus completely redoing the cabinetry from scratch.

Usually, because cabinets tend to be a big part of the budget, we generally suggest keeping what you can, if it’s possible to do so.

If you can salvage some of these items, it will probably save you a lot of money. However, this only works if your cabinets are in decent enough shape. If they don’t need any repair, if they’re not falling apart, if they are actually made of wood, they are probably salvageable.

Generally speaking, you won’t be replacing the boxes. It will just be the doors, drawers, and drawer fronts that get updated. That is, unless the hardware and the drawer glides are creaky or old, or the box itself is not structurally sound anymore. One thing is for sure, there is no point in putting money into refacing them if the box itself is not of good enough quality.

On the other hand, you might not like the layout or the island. Maybe you wish you had more storage, or a completely different kitchen altogether. If you spend a bunch of time and money to alter or add aftermarket accessories to gussy them up, you might be spending just as much as you would if you were to replace everything completely.

For example, if you wanted your cabinetry to be more functional, with updated accessories and pull-outs, you should, by all means, put your money into new items. It would cost just as much to reface and accessorize, and it would end up taking more time and being more trouble in the end.

You’ll Know When It’s Time

pros and cons of cabinet refacing vs kitchen remodeling

Sometimes, it will take a drawer face falling off before you realize it’s time to make a change. Other times, you’ve systematically remodeled the whole house, and the kitchen is the last thing on the list. Either way, the question of refacing versus remodeling is going to come up eventually.

Most people will be able to make that decision reasonably easily – or at least, they will once we start talking to them. We’ll start talking about what they want, what it will take for us to work with what they have, and ultimately, what it’s all going to cost.

Based on that discussion, we usually get a pretty good idea of the direction we’ll need to take. You might decide it’s not worth it to remodel, that everything is working okay, and change isn’t necessary.

Other times, you’ll say, “I’m just sick of looking at the cherry wood,” and we’ll know you’re ready for a change.

When Refacing Won’t Give You The Kitchen You Want

pros and cons of cabinet refacing vs kitchen remodeling

If it’s the look we’re trying to alter, the layout, or the functionality of the kitchen as a whole, then remodeling might be the direction we go in.

Builder-grade houses are a good example. They all have a kind of cookie-cutter layout, and it’s definitely not the best situation that you could have. A lot of times, even in newer houses, the design doesn’t always make any sense. The builder will have just kind of thumbed it in without much thought, and that doesn’t often end well for anyone.

In these cases, the builder is just filling space instead of actually thinking about a work triangle. They’re not thinking about “where we are going to cook this, and prep that,” and where the trash should go – all that stuff. They don’t think about that at all.

Builder grade homes are not designed to be functional. They are also not customized because that will take more time. The builder can’t just go in there with their crew and frame it up, christen two-floor plans, put in the exact same cabinets, the same countertops. It’s repetitive building, a bulk approach to design. The more things they can repeat, the faster it gets done, then they can move on to the next one.

Usually, a home like this doesn’t have a whole lot of character or personality. The features they have are not what you would pick if it were up to you. It’s generic. A blank canvas, in a way. Or maybe more like one of those all-purpose paintings you buy in a home store for twenty bucks that you see in every crummy hotel in the country. It’s dressed up, sure, but you don’t want to look too closely.

If you are trying to decide between refacing and a kitchen remodel, we’d love to help. Reach out today to learn more about what we can do for you.

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