The Heart of the Home
Like most homeowners, you’ve probably spent some time imagining a new kitchen. You may have conquered the easy decisions about appliances and furniture. However, if you’ve never tackled them before, the changes that require dismantling your kitchen and losing access to it are much more daunting. Kitchen cabinets take up the most space in a kitchen, are very visible, and largely contribute to the mood of the room. It is a room where people gather to cook, eat, talk about their day, and share their stories. The kitchen is where much of life is lived. It invites creativity in both design and function. It’s fun and practical. Having the kitchen that you’ve dreamed of is possible. It is the heart of the home.
There are a few observations and decisions to make before you get started updating your kitchen. Step back and look at your cabinets. Examine them up close. What is their condition, construction, and quality? Are they made of plywood or medium-density fiberboard (MDF)? Is the design of the cabinets simple or complex? What is the condition of the boxes, the surfaces, drawers, and hardware? Internal hardware are the shelves and tracks for the drawers. External hardware includes hinges and knobs. Also, examine the walls supporting your cabinets. With these observations and a budget in mind, you can make a good decision about whether to replace or reface cabinets. If everything is in good shape or has minimum to medium damage, refacing cabinets is an option. If you want to change the design of the kitchen, you will have to consider whether you can reuse your current cabinets with additional cabinets or replace them all with new cabinets.
The cabinets in your kitchen are a part of your entire house, but especially those rooms that adjoin the kitchen. The color, texture, and style of the cabinets are as important as their structure and functionality. While the most popular trend today is white, you may prefer a more natural wood look, bamboo-like, glass fronts, or a color that compliments the countertop. Is there a need for more storage and shelving? Refacing current cabinets is a great choice when cabinets are functional and damage is easily repaired. Without removing the box, cabinets can be updated with new doors, paint, laminate, or veneer. You can readjust drawers and shelves. If there is space, you can add cabinets or an island.
Refacing cabinets is typically much more affordable than replacing them. The average quoted cost by a big box store for cabinet refacing a 200 square foot kitchen (30 linear feet of cabinets) is $13,701 - $20,000. A minor makeover for materials and labor is $6,800, which covers custom doors, drawers, drawer fronts, hinges, glides, and veneer. The major makeover includes those of a minor refacing with upgrades and additional items such as a kitchen island, changes to hinges and glides, premium hardware, lighting, and extra cabinet boxes. To get a better idea of the cost of refacing vs. replacing cabinets, compare buying a pre-made in-stock cabinet door at $20 - $50+ to buying a box cabinet at $100 or more (2-3x the cost of the door alone). Replacing cabinetry with the cost of additional labor would be substantially higher than refacing.
Whether you choose a professional to reface your cabinets or do it yourself, the key ingredients to making that decision are the professional’s reputation, quality of work, and trust. Although cost is a factor, do-it-yourselfers often know that the time, workmanship, and a learning curve can be costlier than hiring a professional. A professional contractor gives you the benefits of having vetted and licensed workers, the ability to do small custom orders, a guarantee and warranty on the work and craftsmanship, and completion within days rather than weeks. Choosing the right professional to reface your cabinets can offer great value and ultimately, savings due to the fact that costly errors will be avoided. Developing a relationship with a cabinet refacing professional also provides you with full-service abilities such as CAD renderings, elevations, engineering, and someone you can depend on for future projects.
You Could Do it Yourself, but Here’s Why You’ll Want to Go with The Pro
Although the idea of refacing your cabinets sounds appealing and thrifty, in the long run, doing it yourself may cost you as much or more than hiring a professional. The task of choosing the correct material and color isn’t always easy without someone to guide you. The design and finish of your cabinetry will remain permanent for years to come. Making the decision to use laminate, veneer, or paint, along with whether to replace or reface cabinet doors is a much easier process with a professional and experienced company there to guide you. Making the wrong choices at the very beginning will result in a finished product that doesn’t look at all like the one imagined. It can be very disappointing and a costly mistake.
If you are great at visualizing and choosing the right products, consider your skill level, the time it will take studying and learning how to reface cabinets, and finally doing the work. It’s a good idea to multiply the time you’ve calculated by 1.5 to allow for the learning curve, fixing something else that comes up, and extra trips to the store. Online videos can be great for tips, but watching other non-professionals reface cabinets can result in repeating someone else’s mistakes or missing crucial steps. Calculate the cost of buying or renting tools, buying materials, and renting a truck to haul materials. If several people are working on refacing cabinets, calculate their abilities and time as well. This is an important project that demands attention to detail.
Refacing cabinets is smart. Refacing is affordable, fast, and flexible. The decision to hire professionals to reface cabinets will protect you from costly mistakes, give you the time to do the things you love, and erase all of the uncertainty of doing it yourself.