What’s the remedy for kitchen cabinets that are beginning to look a little down and out?
Well, a new face of course.

So how do you go about getting your cabinets a new face? Refacing means covering the exposed cabinet frames (or boxes) with a veneer of real wood or plastic laminate. Doors and drawer fronts are then replaced to match or complement the new veneer and new hinges knobs and polls are installed to complete the facelift.

There are number of benefits to Refacing such as a cost savings of half or more over replacing the cabinets. It’s also quicker to do and infinitely less messy than tearing out old cabinets and installing new ones. It can also be an environmentally friendly gesture because the old cabinets remain in place instead of adding them to a landfill.

There is no shortage of Refacing options with the veneers available in a wide variety of colors, patterns and textures. Some options include rigid thermofoil doors; which feature a durable plastic coating over fiberboard, along with plastic laminates and real wood veneers in styles including oak, cherry and maple. Wood veneers are the most expensive option and need to be sealed to protect against moisture.

In addition to choosing the style of materials and hardware, Homeowners need to decide whether to hire a professional installer or to tackle the job themselves over a couple of weekends.

Here are some other questions that will be important to think about before starting the project. Will the backsplash or counter tops be replaced the same time? Will anything else in the kitchen be changed such as appliances, the sink, plumbing fixtures or lighting?

Once homeowners have a good handle on the scope of the project, the next decision will be determining if refacing is a viable option. It won’t be worth the investment unless the refaced cabinets will hold up for at least another 10 years. If the cabinet boxes are sagging, water damaged or won’t hold up to refinishing, they may have to be replaced.

If the cabinets can be refaced, the cabinet faces and doors must be measured accurately to determine the amount of veneer required and the correct sizes and quantities of doors and drawer fronts that need to be ordered and replaced. It should be noted that doors and drawer fronts may take up to two weeks or more for delivery.

Regardless of who handles the work, the first steps include removing the old cabinet door and drawer fronts and washing the exteriors of the cabinets with a good degreaser. The finish on the boxes then needs to be lightly sanded so that the new veneers will adhere correctly. The veneer is then applied and the new cabinet doors, drawer fronts and hardware is mounted.

Refacing an average kitchen with laminate is estimated to cost between $1000 and $3000 installed and $2500 to $5000 dollars or more for real wood veneers. Wood veneers can range even higher depending on the wood that is chosen. Replacing kitchen cabinets completely can easily run double or triple the cost of refacing cabinets.

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