Cabinet Painting Vs. Refacing What's the Difference

Cabinet Refacing Vs. Painting: What’s the Difference?

Mar 28, 2023

Wondering whether cabinet refacing or cabinet painting is a better option for your kitchen? Well, there are pros and cons to each choice. Let’s take a look at cabinet refacing vs. painting, what each one offers in terms of the process, best candidates, and price, and which is the best fit for your home.


What is cabinet refacing?


Cabinet refacing includes replacing your old, outdated cabinet doors with new, updated doors in the color or wood species of your choice. Then, a painted or wood veneer is applied to the face frames and panels of your cabinets, allowing them to match the doors.

In many cases, cabinet refacing also includes replacing both front-facing hardware and internal hardware, such as hinges, door and drawer pulls, drawer slides, molding, and even drawer boxes.

If your current cabinets are in decent condition, cabinet refacing is an affordable way to update the look of your kitchen and make it look new without purchasing brand-new cabinets.

Keep in mind that refacing is not the same as cabinet replacement (all new cabinets) or cabinet refinishing (stripping the existing doors and applying a new paint or stain).


What is cabinet painting?


Kitchen cabinet painting simply involves applying a fresh layer of new paint over your existing cabinets. With painting, you can apply a new look and new color to old cabinets, including doors, face frames, and drawer fronts. The style and condition of your cabinets, however, will remain the same.

Cabinet painting may or may not involve replacing hardware on your old kitchen cabinets.


What’s the difference between cabinet refacing and cabinet painting?


The main difference between cabinet refacing and cabinet painting is that refacing offers the option of a completely new look for your cabinets, while painting simply freshens them up and may change the color.

Some of the other main differences between these two options include the process, best candidates for each option, and cost. Let’s take a look.




If you’re planning to hire a professional painter or team to paint your cabinets, you can expect the process to take around 2-5 days (though this varies by the company, job, and size of your kitchen). The painting team will come into your kitchen and mask everything off with tape and plastic to keep the other elements of your kitchen and home safe. You will likely not be able to access your kitchen during this process.

If you’re thinking of turning cabinet painting into a DIY project for your kitchen, the process will likely take longer unless you’re very experienced with masking and painting. Keep in mind that painting cabinets is much different than painting a wall, and you will want to have some experience in order to avoid uneven finishes or getting paint on other parts of your kitchen.

Our process for cabinet refacing takes approximately 5-8 days of installing in your home. Before the install date, your doors and panels will be painted in our shop. This allows us to keep paint and the majority of the mess out of your home. When they’re ready to install, you can expect us to be in your kitchen for approximately 8 hours per day. While we do ask you to avoid using the kitchen during this time, your appliances will be available for use before and after working hours, and you won’t find plastic tarps draped all over the house, since there is no wet paint to keep inside the kitchen.


Best candidates for painting vs. refacing


It’s important to note that not all cabinets will be a good fit for painting, just like not all cabinets will be a good fit for replacing.

For both of these options, it’s important to note that, while painting and refacing change the look of your cabinets, the layout of your kitchen will remain the same. If you’re happy with your kitchen’s layout, painting or refacing are both cost-effective ways to update your kitchen without buying all new custom cabinets and going through a big kitchen renovation.

Cabinet refacing is an excellent option for homeowners who have solid, existing cabinet boxes that are structurally sound and don’t have major damage – such as water damage or gouging on the face frames. Because the doors will be replaced, it’s okay if these have seen better days.

One of the major benefits of cabinet refacing is that you’ll be able to update the not only the color or finish, but also the style of your cabinets. Between your new cabinet doors, new color/finish, and updated hardware, your kitchen will have an entirely new look. If you’re frustrated by feeling like your kitchen is old or outdated, cabinet refacing may be the best choice for you.

If, however, you simply want a new color or to freshen up the paint job on your existing cabinets, painting may be a better option. While the update won’t be nearly as drastic and will leave your kitchen with the same style, painting is a cheaper option for giving your current kitchen cabinets a fresh look. You’ll want your cabinet boxes, panels, and doors to be in good shape for painting, since none of these components will be replaced.




How does the cost of cabinet painting compare to cabinet refacing?

Because the major costs of painting are simply paint and labor costs, repainting your cabinets is the cheapest option for updating your kitchen. If you’re happy with the condition and style of your cabinets, a fresh coat of paint may be the most cost-effective option for your home.

The cost of refacing, while a fraction of the cost of new cabinets, is more expensive than simply having your cabinets painted. With this option, you’ll be getting brand new, updated doors, new hardware, and other updated features of your choice. The average cost of most of our kitchen cabinet refacing jobs falls in the $6,000-$11,000 range.


Pros and cons of cabinet refacing


Not sure which option is best for your kitchen? Check out the pros and cons of cabinet refacing to see how they fit with your plans for your kitchen.


Pros of cabinet refacing


  • New doors, veneer, and hardware allow you to completely change the style of your kitchen
  • Option of either a wood or painted finish
  • Painting is done before the install, keeping fumes out of your home
  • You’ll be able to use your kitchen in the mornings and evenings during the process
  • Opportunity to replace drawer boxes


Cons of cabinet refacing


  • Higher total cost than cabinet painting
  • The insides of the cabinet boxes are generally not updated
  • Difficult DIY undertaking


Pros and cons of cabinet painting


Next, here are some of the pros and cons of painting your cabinets.


Pros of cabinet painting

  • More affordable option than cabinet refacing
  • Can potentially be a DIY project
  • Plenty of color options


Cons of cabinet painting


  • Cabinet structure must be in good condition
  • The wood grain may show through the paint depending on the species of wood
  • You’ll lose access to your kitchen during the cabinet painting process
  • Any new hardware must generally be the same size as the old hardware


Cabinet refacing vs. cabinet painting – which is best for you?


Both refacing and painting can be effective ways to freshen up your kitchen depending on your needs and preferences.

At Veracity Cabinet Refacing, we specialize in cabinet refacing and believe that it provides excellent value for one of the most-used rooms in your home.

Still not sure whether refacing or painting is right for your kitchen, laundry room, or bathroom (yes, refacing can be done anywhere!)? Book a phone meeting with us today! We’d love to hear about your dreams for your kitchen and help you make a plan that best fits your needs.

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