cabinet re-dooring vs cabinet refacing

Cabinet Re-dooring Vs. Cabinet Refacing – What’s the Difference?

Sep 9, 2023

The terms “cabinet re-dooring” and “cabinet refacing” are sometimes used interchangeably, but they’re not the same! While all cabinet refacing jobs include the re-dooring process, they’re really two separate options. What’s the difference? Let’s dive in to see what each option includes and which one is best for your kitchen.


What is Cabinet Refacing?


First of all, what’s cabinet refacing? Cabinet refacing is the most popular service we offer, and it includes replacing cabinet doors and applying a veneer (wood or painted) over the existing cabinet boxes. Refacing allows you to get a completely new look for your cabinets without having to replace the boxes, therefore cutting the cost significantly compared to getting all new cabinets.

Want more info? Read more about what cabinet refacing includes or find out if refacing is a good option for you.


Cabinet Re-dooring Vs. Cabinet Refacing


There are many times when homeowners contact us about cabinet refacing, but we have to unfortunately tell them that their kitchen is not a good candidate for refacing. This is usually because they or the previous homeowner has already painted the cabinet boxes themselves.

Why does this matter? Well, refacing cabinet faces only works well when done on industry-grade cabinet finishes. This is because store-bought paint and DIY processes cannot be trusted to create a sure, lasting bond to the veneer used in refacing.

In other words, without professional-grade paint as a base on your cabinets, your beautiful, newly-veneered cabinets may start peeling, leaving you with perhaps the same problem you had before.

The best-case scenario is to reface cabinets that have not been previously painted.

Fortunately, homeowners with previously painted cabinets should not be discouraged! The silver lining is that your cabinetry, in most cases, can still be updated simply by re-dooring the kitchen instead. And usually, this is an even more cost-effective way to update and transform a kitchen.


What is re-dooring?


Re-dooring includes replacing the cabinet doors without veneering the face frames. Most of our clients who find themselves with pre-painted cabinetry end up opting to paint the face frames themselves to match the new cabinet doors. This actually ends up cutting your overall cost.

Re-dooring leaves the cabinet boxes as is (in other words, without new veneer) – saving a lot of time and cost compared to cabinet refacing. New doors and hardware are added, but most clients also opt for other upgrades like new pull-out shelves, new moldings, and other storage solutions to get the best bang for their buck.

Commonly, if you decide to paint the face frames yourself, we can also compensate for any streaks or imperfections by opting for full-overlay cabinetry. Full overlay means that the doors completely (or almost completely) cover the surface of the face frames, so you’ll only see them when the cabinets are open.


Other Potential Problems with DIY Cabinet Painting


There are many issues with a DIY cabinet paint job, which is why we would highly encourage most homeowners to avoid taking on that project themselves. Among these issues are:

  • Poor bonding to the cabinet itself
  • Visible brush strokes and other defects in the finished coat
  • Tacky feeling to the touch
  • Attracting fingerprints and other grime
  • Not being easy to clean

But, if it’s too late and the damage is done, re-dooring can hide a lot of those issues behind professionally crafted and painted doors in a new, modern profile.


Examples of Cabinet Re-dooring


Here are a few examples of kitchens that had been previously painted. For these transformations, the homeowners painted the face frames themselves. Then, we installed professionally painted doors, along with other upgrades, to create a brand-new look for these cabinets.

mcpharlin before
mcpharlin after

I’m Ready for a New Look in My Kitchen – What Do I Do Next?


Whether you want to learn more about cabinet re-dooring vs. cabinet refacing, or you aren’t sure what the next step is for your kitchen, we’re happy to help. You can email us with questions at, or schedule a call! We’d love to hear about your dreams for your space and help you choose the best and most cost-effective option for updating this important room in your home. 

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