Cabinet Refacing vs. Painting: Which Do You Choose?
As a professional painting contractor, we’re often asked about cabinet refacing vs. painting. When deciding whether or not you should reface or paint your cabinets, ask yourself, do you like the way your cabinet doors and drawer faces look? Yes? Then paint them. No? Then consider refacing.
But What Is Refacing?
Refacing can encompass a range of tasks done to redo the “face” of your cabinet system. By face, we mean the outward facing surfaces of your cabinets—not the inside shelves, boxes, or drawers. The most common refacing effort is to replace each door with a new door. This lets you get rid of a dated look and replace it with a look suitable to your taste. The same effort is typically done with your drawer faces too, although sometimes they match just fine with the new doors selected. When it’s doable (as not all drawer box construction allows for it), the front plate is removed and a new matching one is installed. A good carpenter will help you figure this out.
Kicking things up a notch, refacing can also mean applying a new veneer over the cabinet boxes. This new “skin” on the face of the cabinet box can create the look of a different wood grain and change the aesthetic of the cabinets. End panels can be covered too. Corners can be redone, especially those that are chipped. Even crown molding can be added, or sometimes flutes, corbels, or other decorative trim. And last but not least, hinges and handles can be changed in this overall effort.
Does This Mean I’m Painting or Staining Things?
In the end, you’ll have to decide what finish (paint or stain) the cabinet system will have. New doors and drawers can be stained and finished to match the other old boxes. A new clear coat can bring the existing boxes into the new era. All of these items could also be stained darker using colored varnish. And then there’s the option to paint everything. Part of the equation in determining the answer to cabinet refacing vs. painting is that painting is the easiest, most cost effective way to marry the new to the old. It lets you save money by buying MDF and Alder (or similar species doors and drawers) meant for painting, rather than the more expensive oaks, cherries, maples, that are often meant for staining and finishing. Whether you’re in Milwaukee, New Berlin, or Whitefish Bay, saving money on a home improvement project is an understandable goal.
But for some last minute food for thought, remember refacing (with either staining or painting done) has some other benefits too. It allows the counters to stay in place, along with the sinks. Usually there’s no impact to the floor and little impact to the adjacent baseboard, window trim, or door trim either. Appliances can stay as they are. And no major structural changes or permits are required. Yes, it all still comes at a cost, but it’s easily half the cost of new cabinets and counter tops, and probably 1/3 to 1/5 the cost of a more in-depth kitchen remodel.
Now that you know the basics of cabinet refacing vs. painting, contact Colorwheel Painting for advice and an estimate on your cabinet transformation project.