Kitchen designers are often asked if their clients should refinish or replace their cabinets. The best answer is that it depends on the factors below, but first, what is refacing and is it for you? Thousands of homeowners make the decision to upgrade a kitchen each year. They often choose to repair their cabinets rather than replace them. Instead of spending $25,000 to $40,000 dismantling your kitchen, cabinet remodeling is cheaper and less intrusive.

It basically consists of covering the cabinet frames with wood veneer or plastic-like materials and installing new doors. There are usually 3 different options. Plastics, rigid thermofoils (RTF) and wood veneers. Wood veneers look better but are also more cost effective. With this option, you usually get real wood doors, which definitely makes it look better in my opinion.

Thermofoils are not good anywhere they will be exposed to heat, such as the sides of the dishwasher and around the stove. Thermofoils are fine if you want lightweight cabinets and don’t just want to paint them. The factors below should help you make a decision on whether to renovate or replace when considering upgrading a kitchen.

  • Is the design good? If you take over repairing your cabinets and still have a non-functioning kitchen, you wasted your money.
  • If it is very detailed, do not repair as in many cases you will see the seams, especially if MDF or composite board is used to glue the new laminate. This prevents sanding but can look unsightly.
  • If you have allergies to glues, make sure the glues are hypoallergenic.
  • If the inside of your cabinets is scratched, made of metal or poorly constructed particle board, replace the cabinets.
  • Does your kitchen need insulation? If it is necessary to tear down the walls to insulate them, there is no point in leaving the old cabinets. However, in some cases you can use blown insulation.

Remodeling can definitely be a temporary and permanent solution for the buyer who plans to stay in the home for a short time. You can still get many of the options like lazy Susan’s, sloping sponges, waste bins, pull out drawers, and more. Many companies are now able to make additional matching cabinets, for example to go over the refrigerator. Some will do floors, backsplashes, and countertops. Most will not make electrical or plumbing upgrades. Remember that the codes have changed and we all use a lot more small appliances now than ever before. In closing, remodeling can work for some homeowners looking to update a kitchen.

It’s less money and much less intrusive. If your only reason to upgrade is to have lightweight cabinets, it’s a good solution. Most jobs are done in less than a week. Please note that the quality of workmanship varies widely. Larger companies like Kitchen Magic of NJ, while they may be a little more than mom and pop refacers, do a good job. In the long run, I find that the owners are happy with a complete renovation.

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