Big Kitchen Remodel Question: Refinish, reface or replace your old cabinets?

Once a homeowner determines whether they should refinish, reface or replace older kitchen cabinets, the finished project can be both visually stunning and satisfying.  

Big Kitchen Remodel Question: Refinish, reface or replace your old cabinets?

For homeowners who want to modernize their old kitchen, the big question is, “Should I refinish, reface or replace my older cabinets?”

I recommend each case be reviewed based on the answer to  several qualifying questions.

First, what are your main reasons for modernizing your kitchen?

Eliminate the ugly and impossible-to-maintain tile countertops.

Increase the food preparation space.

Improve cabinet access and increase storage.

Make my kitchen an inviting and exciting part of my home.

Are you planning on staying in this home for a long time?

Yes, we have decided this is something we want for ourselves.

Maybe, we might downsize in the next few years

No, we will be moving soon.

Do the existing cabinets have high quality hinges, drawer guides and interiors?

Not sure. Everything works but the house was built 25 years ago.

No, the drawers are difficult to operate and the hinges are exposed.

Yes, the builder used good materials and the only problem is the look.

Do you have a budget allowance that may influence your choices?

Yes, we are on a fixed income and can’t spend our retirement to do this.

We have no idea what the costs may be, so we have not developed a budget.

We are prepared to do what it takes, but it has to be within reason.

My recommendations flow from the answers to these fundamental issues. For example, it doesn’t make sense to put brand new granite countertops on top of broken down, 25-year-old cabinets. Sometimes the cabinets are still in good operating order and refinishing is the right choice. That determination should be made after a professional inspects them inside and out.

The next step is to assess the workability of the kitchen layout: Do you have low hanging cabinets blocking the view into the adjacent family room? Do you have more than one way in and out of the kitchen? Is there adequate preparation and staging space to properly prepare and serve a meal? Can you reach into the corners of the lower cabinets to retrieve stored goods? Are the shelves properly secured and sealed from contaminants from canned foods or storage containers?

Finally, if you need to replace all or most of the appliances, including the sink and faucet, this may be the best time to make the corrections in the other aspects of the kitchen that constantly remind you that it was built 25 years ago.

Many companies advertise that they can reface your existing cabinets for half the cost of replacement cabinetry. This would be true if you did nothing other than re-dress the cabinets, but if you are going to replace the countertops, appliances, lighting and flooring, it may save you as little as 10 percent. That is because the majority of the cost in cabinetry is in the doors and drawers, all of which get replaced in a reface job anyway.

My advice is to consult a kitchen design professional before you make any major decisions regarding your kitchen project. The right decision will be much easier if you have reviewed all of your options.

Call the experts at Kitchen Barn, Inc. for a free consultation.

—Mathew Taft, President

   Kitchen Barn, Inc.

Website: www.kitchenbarn.net

Address: 3771 Danielson, Suite D
                 Poway, CA 92064

Phone:    (888) 454-6465