What Is Cabinet Refacing?


Often, the reason to revamp cabinets is to change their appearance in some way. That may mean replacing them, using paint, or refacing with new doors and panels while keeping the structure. It’s a much more cost-effective and less invasive process than tearing out good cabinets for a kitchen renovation. 

Read on to learn more about the steps and process of refacing. With the right information, you can decide if cabinet refacing is for you and if it will give your kitchen that much-needed upgrade. Then, if you do want to reface, rely on Platinum Pro Painters to handle the work. They’ll guarantee quality and ensure your investment is worth every penny.

Cabinet update terms

When it comes to updating your kitchen cabinets, there are three main terms you might hear: refacing, replacing, and refinishing. Each involves a different process and skill level, but all three do the same thing: they change your cabinets’ look. Choosing between the options depends on the state of your cabinets and the scale of the kitchen remodel you have planned.

Cabinet Replacing

Replacing cabinets means completely removing the old cabinets and then buying and installing new ones. That can either be with stock cabinets or building new custom cabinets. Choose to replace your cabinets if you are no longer happy with the layout of your kitchen. If your cabinets are old and broken, you will have to replace them as well. It’s also a great way to upgrade to newer and higher-quality materials to suit your kitchen and lifestyle needs better. 

Cabinet Refinishing

One of the least expensive and popular options is to use paint or stain to update the cabinets. Cabinet refinishing offers a range of options, styles, and finishes. Some homeowners will choose to DIY cabinet refinishing if they have the time and skill.

The type of paint you choose will depend on the kind of cabinet material or wood species. If you do DIY this, talk to a professional to make sure you select the right paint. Refinishing is limited to wood cabinets as one of the initial stages involves sanding and priming the cabinet. Thermo Foil and laminate cabinets cannot be sanded, as it damages the material. 

What is cabinet refacing?

Cabinet refacing is the process of stripping away the exterior surface and parts of the cabinet and then reinstalling a whole new look. The shape, dimensions, and location of the cabinets don’t change. The process typically includes replacing the doors, drawers, and, if needed, the fixtures. A matching veneer is also installed on exposed panels of the cabinet boxes.

In terms of cost, cabinet refacing falls in the middle, cabinet refinishing being the lower expense and cabinet replacing the highest. Cabinet refacing cost depends on the quality of materials, the number of cabinets, and the work involved.

The process

Cabinet refacing has a few extra steps involved, which typically makes it a recommended job for a professional. With refacing, you want quality assurance, which a professional can provide. If you have the time and skill to DIY, then the process is still much the same. 

Step 1: Start by removing all cabinet doors and drawers. Hardware is removed as well. You can choose to purchase new hardware to help update the look.

Step 2: Apply either a veneer or Rigid Thermofoil (RTF) to the cabinet’s front-facing sections. The sides of the cabinets are also covered with new wood veneer or laminate.

Step 3: At this point, consider whether the door hinges are still in good condition or if an update is in order. Install new hinges as needed, then reinstall the new cabinet doors and drawer fronts.  

Step 4: Either reinstall the previous cabinet fixtures or update the look with new fixtures and handles. 

Since cabinet refacing’s primary goal is to transform the cabinets’ look, this process is a great idea. You can match the colour with other elements in the kitchen for a cohesive look and style. With open floor layouts, that is also a great way to create a sense of flow from the kitchen to the dining or living room area.

Once cabinet refacing is complete, you can now consider other additional features. New under-cabinet lighting or installing new storage accessories inside the cabinet are some popular additions. If any function was lacking before, now is the chance to fix it.

The cost

Get an estimate from  Toronto kitchen refacing companies for your kitchen. The cost will depend on the materials you choose and the number of cabinets you are refacing. Some companies will also include extra services in the price, like clean up afterward or adding sound deadening pads. The best way to get an accurate estimate for your home is to have a professional come in to inspect the kitchen.

While cabinet refacing can seem expensive, keep in mind that it’s a long-lasting investment with a significant ROI. According to data from The Spruce, refacing is 50% of the cost compared to installing new custom cabinets instead. It is also 70% to 80% of the cost of replacing with new stock cabinets. 

When should you reface?

Given the different ways to update your cabinets, when should refacing take top priority? If your cabinets are still in good condition and the layout works, then reface. It provides excellent results but without changing what is still functional.

Refacing is also ideal if you are under a time limit, such as preparing to sell and need Milton kitchen refacing services. With a professional, refacing will only take 3-5 days to complete. You’ll save the time of a full kitchen renovation or the wait of replacing the cabinets with newer ones.  

What cabinets are candidates?

An important thing to know is that not all cabinets are suitable to be refaced. A few factors need to be in place before you can move ahead with refacing. These include both personal wants as well as the state of the cabinet boxes.  

Personal factors

Because the cabinet boxes do not move with refacing, are you happy with the cabinets’ location and layout? If not, refacing won’t fix this. The same applies if you are planning a major overhaul down the road. If those cabinets will be involved in the process, consider waiting until you have the entire future renovation worked out.  

Cabinet factors

Two essential things will affect whether or not the cabinets themselves are good candidates. First, the physical structure must be in good condition. A cabinet box that is damaged and showing signs of age won’t be fixed by refacing. The veneer acts as a second layer, so it covers up the damage instead. If the cabinet structure is worse for wear, consider replacing them first. The face frames must also be in good condition so that the veneer has a smooth surface to adhere.

Secondly, the cabinets’ internal hardware, like storage and tracks, must be in good condition. While exterior fixtures and door hinges can be replaced, the interior is different. Additional costs to install new storage solutions or new drawer tracks can quickly push up the overall cost. If the added expenses aren’t within your budget, it may not be worthwhile. Talk to a professional before you decide, as they may have some tips and solutions to help.

Can you DIY?

While it may be tempting to DIY, refacing is one of those projects best left to a professional like companies that offer cabinet refacing. While the steps to reface are simple in theory, there are many tools required. The right level of skill and eye for detail is also vital to ensure a quality and long-lasting finish.

If you don’t own the right tools or make a mistake when cutting and sizing the veneer, it increases the costs to replace or buy new tools. What would take a professional a few days at most can quickly become weeks spent trying to DIY. It’s better to invest in a professional to guarantee your investment is worthwhile and to get that peace of mind. 

Helpful questions to ask a pro

When you work with a professional, you get their skill and years of experience and design expertise. To help maximize that experience, take the time to ask a few questions before starting the refacing process:

  1. Ask about professional input for design tips and help.
  2. Find out what new veneer style can help turn your kitchen from outdated to modern and fresh.
  3. Ask about what fixtures to consider updating to create a uniform look or add a new touch.

Please don’t rush into refacing either before you’re sure it is the right choice for your kitchen and needs. Talk to your professional to see if refacing is the best option and then put together the right budget and game plan from there. 

What is cabinet refacing


Ready to transform and reface your kitchen cabinets? Contact Platinum Pro today for guaranteed quality results!

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