Refaced Cabinets Refresh Your Kitchen
by Brett Freeman
Your kitchen cabinets are the equivalent of wall coverings elsewhere in your home: they set the tone for the entire room. They also take a lot of abuse, picking up dings and scratches and losing their sheen as a result of the grease-laden steam and smoke that wafts from the stove. New cabinets can be breathtakingly expensive, but that's not your only option for achieving a good-as-new look. Replacing your cabinet doors, drawer faces, hardware, and the laminate surfaces of your cabinet frames, a process known as "refacing," costs as little as a third as much as installing new cabinets, and allows you to replace your tired old cabinet surface with one that's brand new.
When you're done refacing your cabinets, every exposed surface should be replaced, so you are free to adopt a starting-from-scratch mindset. Yes, you are bound to the layout of your existing cabinets because you are keeping the frame, but aesthetically, you can go in any direction you choose. You can even refinish or replace your shelves and the cabinet interiors if you decide to go for glass-faced cabinet doors. Local woodworking companies can walk you through your various options for cabinet doors, drawer faces, and hardware. They should also be able to advise you which types of matching veneer are available to cover the visible parts of the cabinet frame. Make sure that before you choose, you bring home samples of the different refacing surfaces and hardware that you are considering: Your beautifully refinished cabinets may be a whole lot less appealing if they blend poorly with your countertops and appliances.
Money Out, Value In
A professional refacing job can cost about a third of what having a comparable new set of cabinets would. Refacing is also a manageable project for competent do-it-yourselfers, and reduces the project cost by another 30 to 50 percent. And like many kitchen improvement projects, cabinet refacing can pay for itself via added home value.
This Old House
About the Author
Brett Freeman is a freelance journalist. He also owns a landscaping and irrigation company in North Carolina. Previously he has worked as a beat reporter, a teacher, and for a home improvement company, and he used to own a bar/live music venue.
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