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Refacing Kitchen Cabinets Versus Replacing Them

We are frequently asked at Cabinet Discounters if we reface old cabinets and if that would be a much cheaper alternative to replacing them with new cabinetry. The answer is clearly a big NO! Because of the many questions, we did the research, and even considered going into the refacing business. But the facts we discovered all indicated that refacing is not a good value for the consumer. Let me share a couple of discoveries that blow away the myths that you will hear from those who market refacing.

Myth 1- Refacing is much cheaper than new cabinetry. Many of our own customers have proven this to be false. We have had customers come in to get a new kitchen design and price quote and later reveal that they had already gotten a quote from a cabinet refacer who actually wanted more money to reface their old cabinets. Generally we have found the costs to be about the same, but in some cases new cabinetry can be even less expensive.

The fact is that refacing locks you into the old kitchen layout, when you could change your kitchen design to be more efficient by using new cabinetry. Another worry is that the newly-faced cabinets could fail and fall off the wall. And, most old cabinetry has fixed shelving, whereas new cabinetry has adjustable shelving to better suit your needs as they may change in the future. Why deal with so many restrictions when the price is going to be about the same? That’s why Cabinet Discounters does not reface old cabinetry- we could make money at it, but we feel that it’s just not a good value for our customers.

Myth 2- Refacing is quicker and cleaner than tearing out the old kitchen. Again, this is not the case at all. Both approaches to remodeling your kitchen take about the same amount of time. Tearing out the old kitchen is generally not that messy and usually takes only one day, depending upon size and complexity. Sturdy, strong new cabinets are then installed, with the whole project taking only about 5 to 6 working days for a small to average size kitchen.

This is about the same amount of time taken by the refacers who usually quote from four to six days. And, talk about messy- remember that refacers must sand and apply a thin wood-looking tape to the frames of the old cabinets which involves sawdust and fumes from chemicals to clean the surface. Another approach involves applying a wood veneer to the old cabinet face frames, but that involves not only stain and varnish, it uses an adhesive to attach the veneer which could later delaminate.

Also, the tape or veneer can be more easily damaged. The bottom line is that refacing is definitely not cleaner and takes about the same amount of time as installing strong, new cabinets. The project times referred to above refer to cabinetry installation or refacing only. Stone countertops, electrical upgrades, and plumbing changes can lengthen the times for either type of project.

If refacing was truly cheaper, quicker and cleaner, we would offer that as an alternative to our customers. Because it does not appear to be any of those things, we prefer to give our customers the advantages of not being locked into the same floor plan and of have brand new, strong, adjustable cabinets that will last a very long time. You can see some of the projects we have completed in the Photo Gallery at When you purchase your kitchen at Cabinet Discounters, there is no charge for the services of an experienced designer. Click here for showroom locations, hours and phone numbers.