Is it time to give your kitchen a makeover, but don’t have the budget for a complete remodel? One option is to spruce up the look of your kitchen is kitchen cabinet refacing.
A complete kitchen makeover can cost anything from $20,000 to over $100,000 depending on the project scale. Our kitchen needed a boost, but we didn’t have that kind of money to spend on a full kitchen remodel. So we decided to change the look of our kitchen by updating our cabinets.
Completely replacing kitchen cabinets is still a very costly exercise. Since our cabinet frames were in good structural shape, we decided on a kitchen cabinet refacing project instead of a full replacement.
What is kitchen cabinet refacing?
Refacing cabinets means you replace the visible part of the cabinet while retaining the existing cabinet boxes. The refacing gives your kitchen a fresh new look at a reasonable price point.
Changing the front of your cabinets and drawers allows you to change the color and the feel of your kitchen. You can update an unfashionable kitchen to look sleek and modern.
With this home improvement project, your kitchen layout will remain the same. You will not be able to add anything to the layout, as this is just a cabinet makeover.
Before you start
There are a few things to consider before you start, and this will affect the average cost of the project.
- What is the condition of your current cabinet boxes? If your cabinets are in bad shape, then you may not be able to reface them. If the boxes are broken, warped, or structurally unsound, they will need to get replaced. Luckily for us, the structure of our cabinets was good.
- Are your original kitchen cabinet doors a custom shape? If you have custom cabinets or stock cabinets, this will affect the refacing cost significantly. If you can match the size of your existing cabinet doors to stock cabinets from a store like Home Depot, you can keep your cost low. If your doors are the custom size, you will need to get these made, which will increase the cost.
- DIY or Contractor? Are you planning on completing the project yourself or hiring a contractor? Cabinet refacing is not a project for the beginning DIY person, but if you have the skills, you can get significant cost savings on labor. We decided to go down the DIY option, and we saved a few thousand dollars of labor costs.
- Decide on the new look. Decide if you are going after a wood grain finish or a solid color. Then you should ensure that you can match the cabinet face color to the frame face color. We chose a simple white color to replace some brown cabinets. The white cabinets give our kitchen a brighter, cleaner look.
How to Reface Your Kitchen Cabinets
Before you start, make sure you have all your refacing supplies. You don’t need a lot of special tools. The refacing materials you will need are some screwdrivers, sanding equipment, and wood filler.
The first step is to remove the old kitchen cabinet doors and drawer fronts. You will need to remove the cabinet hardware, all the hinges, and drawer slides. If you are re-using the hinges and slides, you will want to clean them up and put them to one side.
Once you have the doors off, you will need to prepare the face frame. You will need to sand and repair any areas that need it. After fixing it, you can prepare the surface for the new face design.
Once the face frame is ready, you can install the hinges and sliders and then install the new kitchen cabinet doors. Attach the cabinet doorknobs, and after a quick clean-up, your kitchen will look like it has all-new cabinets.
How much does it cost?
The cost of refacing your cabinets will vary depending on the size of your kitchen and the type of materials you use. A budget makeover should cost using laminate kitchen doors that will cost less than $3,000 (for a standard 10-foot x 12-foot kitchen). If you choose wood veneer, you should expect to pay between $2,500 and $6,000. For higher quality wood panels, you can expect to pay up to $10,000.
To finish with new accessories (knobs, cabinet hinges, etc.), you can expect to start at $4.00 per piece. If you decide on some high-end hardware, you can pay up to $50 per article.
This price may seem like a high cost for just new doors. However, this is a much better price than replacing the whole cabinet. Replacing everything will easily double the amount of the project.
We decided on a wood veneer for our cabinet doors, with some mid-priced pullers and hinges. The project went smoothly apart from damage to the drawer boxes, which we needed to replace. These new drawer boxes added a few hundred dollars to the overall cost.
We also cleaned up our old hinges, knobs, and pullers and sold them online, and this helped us pay for the new drawers.
The whole update took us a couple of weekends to complete and cost us just under $8,000. This price is a little over the average cost but still well under the cost of replacing with all new cabinets. Plus, we have had some lovely compliments on our “new kitchen” from our friends.
As you can see, refacing your cabinets is replacing your kitchen cabinet doors and drawers with new hardware. Replacing the cabinet surface will give your kitchen a brand new look while also keeping the cost down.