We have had many homeowners and property managers come to us hoping that we can help them rehabilitate old kitchen cabinets that exude a not-so-timeless ‘90s (or ‘80s, or ‘70s) style, without having the bear the cost of replacing them entirely.

Fortunately, in most cases, we’re able to help them achieve the fantastic new kitchen look that they have been craving for years. But there are some things to bear in mind when identifying whether your cabinets can be refaced, and whether refacing will achieve your kitchen goals.

If you don’t like the layout of your kitchen cabinetry, or your cabinets are in poor condition, refacing won’t work.

When someone asks us whether we can reface their cabinets, there are a couple critical questions we ask up front:

What is the condition of your cabinets? Cabinet refacing is much cheaper than replacing cabinets entirely because the bulk of the original cabinet is left intact. The doors and drawer fronts are replaced, while the rest of the cabinet (the box) is repainted to match the doors. It’s fine if the finish of your cabinets is chipped or damaged, as that can be sanded and smoothed. But refacing can’t address more serious issues, like water damage for example. It’s a bit like putting a fresh coat of paint on a car that isn’t running.

Are you happy with the layout of your kitchen? Cabinet refacing is a visual enhancement, not a structural one. If you are unhappy with your cabinets because of the layout of the shelves, or because you don’t have enough cabinets, period, refacing won’t do anything to fix that. Open all your cabinets and look at how their internal space is being used. If you’re happy with the layout and shelving arrangements, then cabinet refacing is a good fit for you. If not, then you may want to consider replacing your cabinets, or having additional cabinets installed.

The quality and construction of your cabinets is also a big determining factor in whether your cabinets are ‘reface-able.’

Not all cabinets can be refaced. But homeowners often think that their cabinets are beyond help, when in fact they’re perfectly suitable for refacing. Here are some of the questions we often get:

“My cabinets are really old. Is that a problem?” In most cases, not at all! In fact, many cabinets dating back to the 1940s, ‘50s, and ‘60s are in much better shape than the mass-produced cabinets often found in homes built in the ‘70s and ‘80s. This is because older cabinets are made with better construction techniques, and using better materials.

“Can you reface laminate cabinets?” You may think that your old laminate cabinets are fated to end up in the scrap heap, but they actually can be refaced! The old laminate will have to be removed, and the underlying wood cleaned and sanded smooth, so you should expect a bit of a cost increase due to the additional labor. So long as your laminate cabinets aren’t falling apart, they can be refaced just as well as any other cabinet.

“The wood my cabinets are made from is soft/low quality, can it be refaced?” For a cabinet to be refaced, it must be possible to clean and sand the surface of the cabinet, producing a smooth, firm surface. Even cabinets made from lumber products utilizing particle board or other low-quality materials can be refaced. If the face of the cabinet is made from hardwood, it can be sanded to produce a surface that can be repainted.

“My cabinets have water damage, can they be refaced?” As we noted above, refacing isn’t appropriate for cabinets that are damaged. Refacing addresses cosmetic issues, but not structural ones. If your cabinets have been impacted by water damage or have suffered other forms of damage, replacing your cabinets is likely the best option.

If you’re ready to breathe new life into your kitchen cabinets, or you’re still uncertain as to whether cabinet refacing is right for you, click the contact button and fill out our brief and easy form, or give us a call at 916-229-8222. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have, and walk you through the process of getting the beautiful kitchen cabinets you’ve dreamed of.