Refacing vs Replacing Kitchen Cabinets

Remodeling the kitchen is the best way of updating your house and creating a beautiful look. But the process is often disruptive, time-consuming, and most importantly expensive. However, if your kitchen looks dated or old with scratches around the cabinets, you have limited alternatives.

The biggest decision here to make is if it is better to replace or reface kitchen cabinets. Replacing them is almost 50% less expensive than refacing them completely. In cases where it isn’t possible to reface the existing cabinets, the only alternative you have is to replace them.

Refacing Kitchen Cabinets

You can reface cabinets in three different ways, namely:

  • Refinish or paint the existing cabinet drawer fronts and doors
  • Install new laminate veneer or wood over the existing drawer fronts and doors
  • Only keep the boxes and install completely new drawer fronts and doors

Each of the three cases above can be completed by upgrading the hardware and replacing the hinges as well as pulls. The cabinet interiors can also be painted, sanded, or stained for a makeover.

Households who have refaced their cabinets believe this makeover gave their kitchen a new, faster, and fresher look at a considerably lower cost than replacing all-new cabinets.

Kitchen Cabinet Replacement

Replacing the cabinets is a far more complicated, expensive, disruptive, and time-consuming process. It starts from the removal of the existing cabinets and then ordering replacement cabinets which often takes several weeks to construct and install.

Next experienced installers set and precisely level the base cabinets. It is a critical step for ensuring that the counters remain level for years. Improper leveling base cabinets results in cracks while you use them for the years to come. Next, the upper cabinets are set, lifted, and secured followed by installation of the hardware and doors.

Pros and Cons of Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

There are numerous benefits and a few drawbacks of refacing cabinets. Some of them have been listed below:


  • Cost-Effective (50% less expensive than Replacement Costs)
  • Convenient and Quick (usually takes less than a week)
  • Avoids hassle and mess due to Ripping out of cabinets
  • Wide range of finished look choices to choose from
  • Numerous types of veneers are available in different patterns, textures, grains, and colors
  • Allows you to keep using the kitchen (isn’t possible in case of replacement)
  • Lower environmental impact and more sustainable


  • Doesn’t help if you have a bad kitchen design
  • Kitchen lacking functionality or awkward in looks cannot be fixed through refacing
  • Enormous options often result in overspending on exotic veneers or hardware

Considerations Before Selecting Replacement or Refacing

Although kitchen cabinet refacing saves hundreds or at times thousands of dollars, it isn’t perfect for every kitchen. Before deciding if you should go for refacing or replacing, there are several factors to consider.

In case your cabinets are not of high-quality boxes, it doesn’t make any sense to reface them. Spending more money to re-front them won’t work on most occasions here.

Kitchens made a few decades back were made from strong materials. For example, cabinets used to be made of 3.4-inch plywood and were much stronger. If your kitchen was built using strong materials that are meant to last for years, you can follow the modern trend of having open shelves. You can merely remove the doors and repaint the boxes to make your kitchen far livelier and up to date.

However, if the existing cabinetry is in the best shape, but the layout and design aren’t functional, open shelves might not be the best option to go with. Additionally, if the existing cabinetry isn’t deep enough to hold essential items such as cookware, a replacement will be a better idea.

Overall, refacing the kitchen cabinets despite being cost-effective aren’t suited for deeply damaged cabinets or the ones lacking functionality. In those cases, a replacement will be the best way forward. But if the cabinetry is strong from the inside, refacing will be a great idea for a quick and cost-effective overhaul.

If you are looking for a reliable contractor for replacing or refacing your kitchen in Tampa. FL, consider calling Hybrid Construction. They are a full-service licensed and insured general contractor in Florida and have been doing both small and large projects over the last several years.

Picture Credit: Crello