Reviving Old Cabinets: Refacing vs. Replacing


Kitchen cabinets are more than just storage units; they’re the backbone of a kitchen’s design and functionality. Over the years, these cabinets can lose their charm, leading homeowners to a pivotal decision point. The question that often arises is whether to breathe new life into the old cabinets through refacing or to embark on a fresh journey with replacements. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve deeper into each option, providing insights to help you navigate this renovation crossroads.

The Basics of Cabinet Refacing

At its core, cabinet refacing is about rejuvenating the existing structure of your cabinets.


  • Begin by carefully removing the old doors and drawer fronts.
  • Sand down any rough spots or imperfections on the cabinet boxes.
  • Apply high-quality veneers, available in a variety of finishes and materials.
  • Install brand new doors, drawer fronts, and contemporary hardware.


  • Cost-Effective: Refacing can save up to 50% of the cost of a full replacement.
  • Eco-Friendly: It’s a sustainable option, reducing landfill waste by reusing the cabinet structure.
  • Minimal Disruption: No need to empty out your entire cabinet; most of your kitchen remains functional during the process.


  • Surface-Level Makeover: While it looks new, the bones are old. Structural issues remain unaddressed.
  • Design Limitations: You’re somewhat restricted to the existing layout and dimensions of your cabinets.
Reviving Old Cabinets: Refacing vs. Replacing

The Basics of Cabinet Replacing

Cabinet replacement is a blank canvas approach, allowing homeowners to redefine their kitchen space.


  • Initiate by completely removing and responsibly discarding the old cabinets.
  • Measure and design the new layout, possibly redefining the kitchen’s flow.
  • Install the new cabinets, which can range from ready-made to custom-designed units.


  • Comprehensive Redesign: Perfect for those undergoing a major kitchen renovation.
  • Address Underlying Issues: Any mold, water damage, or structural problems can be rectified.
  • Boundless Customization: From materials to design, the sky’s the limit.


  • Investment: A full replacement can be heavy on the pocket.
  • Time-Intensive: Depending on the complexity, it can take weeks to complete.
  • Environmental Considerations: The old cabinets often end up in landfills.

Factors to Consider When Making a Decision

  • Budget Constraints: While refacing is wallet-friendly, if your cabinets are in dire condition, replacing might be a more economical long-term solution.
  • Cabinet Health: Cabinets plagued with mold, rot, or severe wear and tear might not be ideal candidates for refacing.
  • Future-Proofing: If you’re planning to stay in your home for a long time, investing in a replacement might offer better longevity.
  • Eco-Consciousness: Refacing is undeniably the greener choice, utilizing fewer resources and producing less waste.
  • Project Timeline: Refacing is a quicker fix, but if you’re undergoing a complete kitchen remodel, replacing might align better with your timeline.

Case Studies

Refacing Success Story: Jane, a city dweller, wanted a modern kitchen without the hassle of a major renovation. Refacing transformed her 90s-style wooden cabinets into sleek, white marvels in just a week, saving her both time and money.

Replacement Transformation: The Smiths, inspired by gourmet kitchens, opted for a full cabinet overhaul. They incorporated a kitchen island, glass-front cabinets, and deep drawers for pots and pans. The end result was a culinary haven that’s as functional as it is beautiful.

Reviving Old Cabinets: Refacing vs. Replacing

Tips for a Successful Cabinet Revival

  1. Material Selection: Opt for materials that resist wear and tear. Hardwoods, laminates, and high-quality veneers can stand the test of time.
  2. Professional Guidance: A seasoned contractor can provide invaluable advice, ensuring the project’s success.
  3. Budgeting: Always account for a buffer of 10-15% over your estimated budget for unforeseen expenses.
  4. Harmonious Design: Your cabinets should complement other elements like your flooring, countertops, and backsplash. Consider the bigger picture.


Reviving your kitchen cabinets is a significant decision, impacting both the aesthetics and functionality of your space. Whether you lean towards the subtlety of refacing or the comprehensive approach of replacing, it’s essential to make an informed choice. Reflect on your kitchen’s needs, your budget, and your long-term plans to ensure your decision stands the test of time.

Inspired to transform your kitchen? Explore our diverse range of kitchen cabinets and solutions. Reach out today for a personalized consultation or a no-obligation quote. Let’s collaborate to craft your dream kitchen!

Kyle Davis
Kyle Davis
Be exclusive, Be Devine, Be yourself.

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