Replacing Vs. Refacing Your Kitchen Cabinets

Refacing Vs. Replacing Your Kitchen Cabinets: Which is Right for You?

Mar 29, 2023

When it comes to updating your kitchen cabinets, cabinet refacing and fully replacing your cabinets are two of the popular options. Curious about the difference between these two choices, and wondering which is right for your kitchen? Keep reading to find out more about refacing vs. replacing your kitchen cabinets, as well as the pros and cons of each.


What is cabinet refacing?


Cabinet refacing is a great way to give your kitchen a brand-new look for a much lower price than completely replacing your cabinets.

Cabinet refacing involves replacing doors and applying a new wood or painted veneer to your cabinet boxes. In many cases, it also includes new hardware as well as other updated functionalities.

With cabinet refacing, you can update both the color (or wood species) and style of your cabinets, allowing them to look brand new without having to waste your cabinet boxes if they’re still in good condition. Not only does decrease the cost significantly, but it also decreases the amount of time, mess, and stress the project will take in your kitchen.


You should reface your cabinets when:


While cabinet refacing isn’t for every kitchen, it’s a great option in many situations. Refacing might be a good choice for you if:

  • Your cabinet boxes are in decent shape (for example: no water damage, not falling apart, no gouging, solid hardwood, durable factory finish, etc.)
  • You like the current layout of your kitchen


What is cabinet replacing?


With cabinet refacing, your existing cabinets are completely removed and replaced with new custom or box store cabinets. While this option significantly increases the cost (versus refacing), it allows you to get a completely new product. This is a good choice if your current cabinets are in pretty bad shape.

Additionally, if you replace your cabinets, you’ll have the option to change the layout of your kitchen, including adding or subtracting cabinets or otherwise changing the size and layout of the boxes.


You should replace your cabinets when:


  • Your current cabinet boxes are not in good shape
  • You want to change the entire layout of your kitchen


Pros and cons


Now that you understand the difference between refacing and replacing, let’s take a look at some more of the pros and cons of each option.


Pros and cons of cabinet refacing



  • Generally about 30% to 50% less costly than replacing
  • Keeps your functioning cabinet boxes out of the landfill
  • Quicker and less messy in your home than a full replacing project



  • Does not allow you to change the layout of your cabinets (although new cabinets can be added in available spaces)
  • Not a good choice if your cabinets are in bad shape


Pros and cons of cabinet replacing



  • Allows you to change the layout of your current cabinets
  • Gives you brand new cabinets – a good option if your boxes are in bad shape



  • Costs significantly more than refacing
  • Much more disruptive to your kitchen
  • Can be a waste of functioning cabinet boxes


What about cabinet painting?


Cabinet painting is another popular option for updating your kitchen. Painting includes applying a new color or simply an updated coat to your current cabinets.

While painting is the cheapest of the three options, it doesn’t offer the opportunity to update the style and can be a bigger hassle in your kitchen. You can find out more about the process as well as the pros and cons of cabinet painting vs. refacing in this post!


Have more questions?


Still not sure about refacing vs. replacing, and which is best for your kitchen? We’d love to help! If you have questions about the condition of your current cabinets, options for adding additional boxes or functionality in the case of a refacing job, or design options, we’d love to chat. Schedule a phone meeting today, or email us some pictures of your kitchen with the questions that are on your mind!

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