Let’s suppose you like the layout of your kitchen cabinets; you like the cupboard arrangement; the depth of the shelves works for you and all your pots and pans fit the below-counter storage just fine. But you are tired as can be of the surface. Maybe you have the old standby oak, or perhaps the mahogany stain in getting tired. And let’s add on the fact that your budget just doesn’t have room for new cabinets. Sure, you can probably paint the whole shebang — if that’s the look you want. But if you want a wood finish you are stuck. Unless you look into cabinet refacing.
Refacing involves replacing the doors and drawer fronts (and sometimes the whole drawer), updating the hardware and applying matching veneer to the box of the cabinets. At a starting point of about half the cost of all new. Veneer is a thin layer of material adhered to another surface. The before is on the left, the after on the right.
Now before you get all knotted about ‘applying veneer’ think about the advancements in adhesives in just the last few years. Engineered wood floors are veneers applied to other wood. Some doors have veneer surfaces; veneers are used extensively in furniture construction and many new kitchen cabinets are veneered. Arborite kitchen counters are a type of veneer.
So, with your mind in the open position, back to refacing. The advantages: new-look cabinets at about half the cost. You can still use your kitchen; the cabinets don’t have to be torn out because veneer is applied in-home. Less stuff goes to the landfill. You can choose from a plethora of surfaces; refacing isn’t limited to wood veneer. Remember, the drawer fronts and doors are replaced; the newarchitectural style starts there.
Refacing limitations: Refacing can’t fix bad kitchen design. It will not change the shape or size of your cabinets. It won’t fix a warped or rotted base. It won’t fix a broken frame.
As with many home reno projects you could tackle this one yourself, saving about half again, but this isn’t a starter project. If your DIY skills are advanced, go for it, otherwise hire a professional. Ask for references and check them out. Ask about their insurance. One big-box retailer offers this as a service; their people work under the umbrella of the large corporation so you have added protection there.
Here is a link to the Home Depot site showing a bit about how this is done. The before and afters are from that site, too.