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Kitchen Cabinet Painters Explain Refacing vs. Refinishing Your Cabinetry

Updated: Nov 7, 2021

October 26,2021 by Craig Byrne

If your kitchen is in need of a makeover, you've most likely thought about a change to your cabinetry. Perhaps they have a wood finish and you would like white, or maybe you'd like a dramatic new change by utilizing one of the hot new trendy colors for 2022. Then again, your cabinets might be the color or stain you like, but they have structural issues, such as peels, chips or dents.

In this article, we asked kitchen cabinet painters to offer their insight as to homeowners options when it comes to a kitchen makeover. They provided valuable insight. With their help, we've broken down two different ways to upgrade your cabinetry without the cost of replacement- refacing and refinishing.

What is Refacing?

Refacing and resurfacing are words that are used interchangeably when referring to giving cabinets a new exterior. Refacing kitchen cabinets requires replacing all the parts and/or surfaces of the portion of the cabinets that are visible when the doors are closed.

The doors, hardware, door fronts and drawer boxes can all be replaced. A combination of thin wood veneers and laminate are used to resurface the toe kicks, face frames and panels. This will give your kitchen a whole new look for less than the cost of replacing all of your cabinetry.

For people who have older homes with traditional, high quality wood cabinets they're happy with, refacing is probably the only way to go. This is because it's hard to go from a dark stain to a lighter stain and have the end result look good. It's also tough to find stain that matches the same type and color of wood. Many homeowners choose to refinish or repaint their wood cabinets because it is so difficult to find matching stain. In this case, they call a kitchen cabinet refinisher to do the job right.

While refacing your cabinetry, rather than replacing it can save money, if you're looking to save even more money but still want the same dramatic result, it's best to find out if you're a candidate for refinishing. Unless your kitchen cabinets are extremely damaged, refinishing is a great option to consider.

What is Refinishing?

This process is most often called kitchen cabinet painting by consumers. Kitchen cabinet painters use the terms to mean the same thing as well. So, what's the difference between painting cabinetry or refacing it?

When you reface, you put new materials on top of old. You also replace drawers and drawer fronts.

When you refinish, you change the color or finish of the existing cabinets.

So, if your kitchen cabinets are in good shape without a lot of dings, dents, cracks, cuts or holes, kitchen cabinet painters will be happy to give you an estimate. Remember to use a skilled professional with references who doesn't charge for estimates. Usually, costs are far less than replacing and considerably less than refacing your cabinetry.

Portions of this post originally appeared in a different form in an article by Samuel Koza in Elite Finisher.


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