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Refinish, Reface or Replace your Cabinets

Changing out your cabinets can give you a fresh, new look to your kitchen and create a more functional space. There are many ways to update your kitchen cabinets and choosing the right method for you could make or break your experience. That is why we have outlined the 3 most popular methods people consider when updating their cabinets.

Be sure to read before choosing the method you’d like to go with.

Refinish Your Existing Cabinets

This is a great option if …

  • You have the right type of cabinet material
  • Cabinets are in great shape—no water or structural damage
  • You are not changing the layout of your kitchen
  • You are not changing out your countertops
  • Don’t mind spending some extra time on this project, since it is time-intensive
  • Budget-friendly, if you have all of the above

Things you need to know BEFORE you refinish your cabinets…

  •  What is the material of your existing cabinets? If you have laminate, thermal form, or painted cabinets, this is not the best option to update your cabinets. It is best to use a solid, good quality wood cabinet material to refinish, that preferably hasn’t been painted.
  • Be sure to use a finish that allows your completed cabinets to be easily cleaned. Since there are many finishes for your cabinets, consult your local paint expert for the best option for your cabinets.
  • Handles and knobs can be an easy update but keep in mind that your existing hole locations and sizes will determine what options are available for your update.
  • Drawer hardware, such as soft glides and soft closed doors/drawers, will be much harder to install due to industry upgrades in standard drawer dimensions.
  • This is a time-intensive project, so make sure you have an ample amount of time and are ready for the disruption in your everyday life.

Our advice…

If you have the right door material, don’t want to change your kitchen layout, and have the time for this project, this is a great option that will give your kitchen a fresh new look! This is a labor-intensive project, so be sure to do your research before starting since there are many factors that will determine your success.

Reface Your Existing Cabinets

This is a great option if …

  • Cabinets are in great shape—no water or structural damage
  • You are not changing the layout of your kitchen
  • You are not changing out your countertops
  • Want a new door style and color
  • Want to update your handles and/or knobs
  • Want to update your drawer hardware, such as soft glides and soft closed doors/drawers

Things you need to know BEFORE you reface your cabinets…

  • Your cabinet doors and drawers will be replaced, but your cabinet and drawer boxes will stay structurally the same
  • You may need to re-do your drawer sizes since the standard sizes have evolved and new drawers may not fit your existing drawer with the new hardware.
  • Not all cabinets are refaceable, so seek the guidance of a professional since there can be many complications.
  • Warranties will vary according to cabinets manufacturer and the professional you choose
  • This option generally saves you 25% of the cost of new cabinets. However, there are many factors that will determine your cost savings, if any over replacing your cabinets.

Our Advice…

If your cabinets are in great shape, and you want a new, updated look, this may be the right option for you. However, you will need to crunch the numbers to decide if this will be more cost-effective over completely replacing your cabinet for your kitchen.

Replace Your Kitchen Cabinets

This is a great option if …

  • Your existing cabinets are damaged
  • You want to do a complete remodel of your kitchen including layout, countertops, backsplash, flooring, appliances, etc.
  • Need a more functional space
  • The cost of refacing your cabinets is about the same as replacing

Things you need to know BEFORE you replace your cabinets…

  • Consult with a professional to discuss your project goals in updating your cabinets and/or kitchen, and decide if replacing your cabinets is the right option.
  • Keep in mind, when replacing your cabinets, your flooring footprint will change and so will your countertops. If you don’t want to replace your flooring or countertops, be sure to talk with your professional on what can be done in your situation.
  • Many times upgrades to your home will be needed to get it up to code
  • Any structural changes, such as removing a wall, will need to be checked by a construction expert
  • Talk with a professional designer to guide you through the many design and product decisions to get the most out of your project
  • Consider your timeline for completion, and what is realistic for the scope of your project—whether replacing just your cabinets or completely remodeling your kitchen
  • If you are changing the layout of your kitchen, consider your appliance needs and if they need to be updated at this time.
  • To ensure you made the right product and design decisions for your remodel, use a company that utilizes Virtual Reality technology so you can see your remodel before it’s finished. See examples of Virtual Remodels here.

Our advice…

If you’re contemplating an update to your kitchen or need a more functional space, this is a great option. Be sure to consult with your remodeling professional to learn more about what an update in your space would require.

There are many consideration when updating your kitchen cabinets, so be sure to do the proper research for your space and reach out to your local remodeler to learn what your best options are.

If you’re ready to get started on your kitchen update, start here:

Use our Kitchen Visualizer to start designing your VIRTUAL KITCHEN with various layouts and products

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Founded 38 years ago by Tom Poulin CGR, Poulin Design Remodeling, Inc., has become a mainstay of Albuquerque home renovation.

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