Aging kitchen cabinets can make your home look and feel dark and dreary. But you don't necessarily need to spend a fortune on kitchen renovations to have a bright, updated atmosphere in this all important room. Consider how cabinet refacing can turn your ho-hum kitchen cabinets into some spectacular, clean and modern.
What Is Cabinet Refacing and How Do You Know If It's Right for Your Home?
This type of kitchen renovation involves removing the cabinets doors, drawer fronts and door hardware, and replacing those items with new cabinet fronts. All of the existing cabinets stay as is, although new banks of cabinetry can be added in the space as long as new matching cabinets doors are installed around the entire room.
Veneer is used to recover the stiles (vertical cabinet frame faces) and rails (horizontal cabinet frame faces), as well as the end of cabinet banks. You can find veneer to match any style and color of kitchen cabinets, and all of the cabinetry will remain mounted during the refacing project.
Cabinet refacing is right for your home if you're happy with the existing cabinetry layout. Simple moves and additions (such as adding an island to the kitchen, or switching a block of cabinets from one wall to another) will still allow you to reface, instead of replace, but major changes to the cabinetry means you need to invest in replacement products.
Assessing the Condition of Your Existing Cabinets
Your existing cabinet frames need to be in good condition to make a refacing project feasible. Take a close look at the bottoms, sides, and fronts of each cabinet, paying special attention to any cabinetry near the sink and dishwasher. Water can warp the cabinet frames, causing mold and mildew to grow. If the existing doors do not sit well on the cabinets try to assess which area is warped and whether or not new cabinet doors and drawer fronts will solve the problem.
Existing hardware can be replaced, including hinges, handles and pulls. Often this replacement can make a traditional kitchen feel modern or dress up a bland space. Browse through hardware catalogues and look across the Internet for unique and eye-catching designs that match well with your new kitchen cabinets.
Crown molding and under-cabinet lighting can also be replaced at this time, especially if the existing products do not match with the new cabinet doors. Try to plan for and decide on all of these components before ordering your new cabinet doors, since it may be difficult to find matching molding or properly sized lights once the new faces are in.
Moving From Particle Board To Solid Wood
One of the greatest benefits of this kitchen renovation is the ability to install solid wood doors on your existing cabinets without the massive price tag of traditional wood cabinetry. As long as your existing cabinets are in decent shape, and the budget allows for the premium price of solid wood doors, you can completely transform the look of your home with this upgrade.
Solid wood cabinet doors and drawer fronts offer an upscale look, but are also more resistant to water and abuse. Wood doors can be sanded and refinished in the future, should you sell your home or feel the need to renovate the kitchen again.
Hire a Contractor or DIY Cabinet Refacing?
Many DIY enthusiasts are confident that cabinet refacing is within their realm of expertise. This project can be done as a DIY, but will you have the time and patience to do a top notch job? Materials for a kitchen renovation like this tend to cost between $1,000 and $2,000, depending on the size of your kitchen and the type of cabinet doors going in. Precision installation and a steady hand are required to ensure that money is well spent on a quality kitchen remodel project.
Measuring is perhaps the trickiest step. These figures need to be exact, since the cabinet doors will be made to order and mistakes will result in ill fitting, wasted cabinetry. Always measure twice (or even three times), record your numbers clearly and double check the order before your kitchen cabinet supplier enters it into their system. When the product arrives check the measurements of the actual product against those stated in the order, just to be sure.
Applying the veneer can also be difficult, and requires patience and precision. All of the grains need to run vertically, and the surface must be prepped well ahead of time using a heavy grease cleaner and 150-grit sandpaper. This allows the adhesive to bond well with the cabinet surface. Cabinetry ends can be covered with plywood and veneer, or a cabinet door can be mounted directly onto the existing end without any hardware.
The cost to hire a kitchen renovation contractor for cabinet refacing is reasonable. Since this job is not labor-intensive but requires experience and a keen eye to complete properly, the complete install price will be affordable and a wise option for many homeowners.
You can expect a contractor to finish an average sized cabinet refacing project in two to three days, including prep work, veneers and doors. DIY enthusiasts may take much longer, depending on their confidence level. Typically the materials take two to three weeks to be delivered, since all cabinet doors and drawer fronts are custom sized for your kitchen. Veneer may be a stock item, depending on the finish.
Update your aging kitchen cabinets with cabinet refacing, an affordable, fast kitchen renovation. Move from particle board cabinetry to solid wood doors, or make the shift from a traditional kitchen to something more modern. Invest in new hardware to spruce up the room, and be sure to have a look at the condition of your existing cabinets before going ahead with this project. Although DIY enthusiasts may be able to handle cabinet refacing on their own, many homeowners are better off hiring a professional contractor who will get the work done quickly and competently.