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May 14, 2020 2 Comments

Cabinet replacing vs. cabinet refacing

Looking around your kitchen or bathroom, you may find that the space doesn't look quite how you want. Maybe it's time for a completely new style, or your current cabinets have signs of wear from over the years. Either way, the cabinets significantly influence how a kitchen or bathroom looks. So how should you update them?

As a homeowner looking to remodel your kitchen, you'll want to decide between cabinet replacing and cabinet refacing. Even if you're a contractor wondering what to suggest to a potential client to transform their home, it helps to know which option is best. And that's what we're here to explain.


Replacing your cabinets involves ripping out the current system and replacing it with entirely new cabinets, from the cabinet box structure to the doors themselves. Homeowners who replace their cabinets often replace the lower and upper cabinets at the same time. That lets them pick the same or complementing materials, colors, styles and finishes.


New cabinets cost more than just swapping out the door fronts. On average, you could spend anywhere between¬†$3,000 to $18,000¬†on your full cabinet replacement. Your project may cost more or less than that average, depending on your specific needs. The cost of replacing cabinets goes up or down based on factors like your location¬†‚ÄĒ some places have higher prices than others, depending on the average cost of remodeling work. The cost to replace your cabinets can also fluctuate based on:


  • The cabinet style:¬†When you replace your kitchen cabinets, you have to choose between stock, custom and semi-custom. Your remodel¬†will have a higher cost if you need a custom or semi-custom solution because they take more time ‚ÄĒ and sometimes additional materials¬†‚ÄĒ¬†to make. You'll have to order custom or semi-custom cabinetry if your kitchen has a unique layout or dimensions that aren't standard.
  • The layout:¬†Your new cabinets will have a higher price tag if you have a large layout to install cabinets in. You'll also have to spend more money on larger kitchens or bathrooms since you'll likely need additional cabinetry.
  • The material:¬†Unsurprisingly, some materials cost more than others. Solid wood can be expensive compared to wood alternatives, and certain wood types have a higher price tag based on their availability, durability and other qualities.
  • The style:¬†More intricate cabinet door styles may have a higher price tag than simple options. You can keep the overall cost down by choosing simple cabinet designs. But you don't want to compromise on the style and function of your kitchen to save money.


Any remodel is going to transform your home, but it'll also come with drawbacks. If you're unsure if replacing the cabinets would work for your project, consider the pros and cons.



The primary advantage of replacing your cabinets is that you can have a new layout in your kitchen or bathroom. If you don't like your existing kitchen or bathroom layout, replacing cabinets lets you customize the layout, though you are limited by the room's shape and size. You can also replace cabinet components like shelves or drawers that may be worn or damaged with a total cabinet replacement.


Unless you absolutely need a new cabinet layout for your kitchen or bathroom, you'll find more cons of replacing your cabinets than pros. The high cost is an obvious drawback, but you may not have thought about these potential downsides to replacing cabinets:


  • Needing more demo:¬†To replace your cabinets entirely, you need to go through a disruptive demo. Your kitchen or bathroom may be unusable until the project is complete, and you'll have to take the time to move everything out of your cabinets. You'll then have boxes of your items scattered around your home and taking up space until the project is complete.
  • Creating additional projects:¬†If you decide to do a full cabinet replacement, you may find other things about your room to change. For instance, you may have to order and install new countertops if you get new lower cabinets. That ups the cost and timeline for your project. It also creates extra inconveniences and makes it more likely that you won't be able to use the room until the remodel is done.¬†
  • Needing professional installation:¬†Installing new cabinets yourself will be a challenge unless you've done it before. DIY cabinet installation requires heavy lifting, and you'll need help from at least one other person. You have to certain you measure everything correctly before you order your cabinets. Then you have to know how to install them, ensuring everything is level. The cabinets and components need to be precise and level or you risk having crooked cabinets and parts that won't fit into place. It's best to hire a professional for the best results.


Refacing your cabinets involves changing the doors, drawer fronts and end pieces to give your kitchen or bathroom a new look without demoing the existing cabinet boxes. Changing the look of your cabinets can involve sanding, priming and painting surfaces. But an easier option is refacing, where you purchase new doors, drawer fronts, veneers and end panels.

You can still select new materials, colors and door styles when you reface your cabinets. But those details will only exist in the new doors instead of the entire cabinet construction. Since the cabinet doors create the look of your cabinet setup, it makes sense to replace just the doors and drawer fronts. When you want to refresh your kitchen's or bathroom's style, you can select from various cabinet refacing options, from shaker door styles to various raised and recessed panels.


The average cost of kitchen cabinet door replacement will vary with the material you choose and how many door replacements you need. Replacing kitchen cabinet doors will cost anywhere from $50 to $90 per door, depending on the wood species and size. Keep in mind that a solid wood hard maple door will cost more than a white rigid thermofoil (RTF) or medium-density fiberboard (MDF) door or drawer. Drawer fronts will range from $30 to $50. That's much more cost-effective than replacing the entire cabinet layout in your home.


To adequately compare cabinet replacing versus cabinet refacing, consider the pros and cons of refacing, as well. Getting new cabinet doors and drawer fronts comes with the following benefits and drawbacks.


Replacing just your cabinet doors and drawer fronts is a much more efficient option than replacing your entire cabinet system. You'll find that bathroom and kitchen cabinet refacing comes with plenty of pros, including:


  • A quick remodel:¬†Refacing your cabinets takes significantly less time than ripping out existing cabinets and installing new ones. Depending on how many cabinets you're refacing, you may be able to set aside a weekend for the project.
  • A simple refresh:¬†Think of how fresh and new a room feels when you repaint the walls. Refacing the cabinets has a similar impact on your kitchen or bathroom. And refacing a cabinet doesn't only mean changing the color¬†‚ÄĒ you can also get a new door style with different details than what you had before.
  • A DIY solution:¬†If you have the time, you can reface your cabinets yourself, which will save you money and give you the satisfaction of transforming your home yourself. If you're a contractor handling the cabinet refacing job, you can market it as a quick and simple solution to transform a space.
  • Simple measuring:¬†Whether you're a homeowner trying a DIY project or a contractor, you'll appreciate how easy it is to measure for cabinet refacing. If you're keeping the same hinges,¬†all you need to provide is the width and height, usually¬†down to 1/16".¬†Learn how to replace kitchen cabinet doors and measure for the project¬†with our¬†full range of information in writing and how-to video.
  • An eco-conscious solution:¬†Keep the environment in mind when you remodel your home with a cabinet refacing. Replacing the¬†cabinet doors and drawer fronts¬†is better for the¬†environment¬†since you're not¬†throwing¬†away your¬†cabinets in a landfill.
  • Continued use of your kitchen¬†or bathroom:¬†Since you'll only remodel the cabinet doors, you can still use your kitchen or bathroom. Installing replacement kitchen doors means you may not even have to pack up all your items.
  • Custom components:¬†You don't have to rip out your cabinets to replace them with custom products. Cabinet refacing can also offer custom solutions for your kitchen or bathroom. At Cabinet Doors 'N' More, we make your cabinet doors and drawer fronts according¬†to the specifications you provide.¬†You'll get specialized solutions for your kitchen or bathroom in the highest quality products in the industry.



The main drawback of refacing your cabinets is keeping the same layout in your kitchen or bathroom. That's not necessarily a con for everyone, though. You may like your kitchen's current setup. A complete remodel would mean you'd have to rearrange everything in your kitchen and get used to a new layout. And a bathroom may not offer much flexibility for the cabinet layout, anyway.

You should also note that the inside of your cabinets will look the same after refacing them. But this slight drawback is easy to overcome. You can paint the insides or add shelf liners to refresh your cabinets with a new look that keeps up with the outside.


If you're trying to decide between cabinet refacing and cabinet replacing, consider a few things to help you decide. Evaluate these factors to choose whether you'll get entirely new cabinets or swap doors and drawer fronts:


  • Your budget:¬†For any home remodeling project, large or small, you should have a budget in mind. That will determine your project's scale, who you hire to complete it and what materials you choose. To decide is replacing or refacing is better for you, knowing your budget will help you see the right choice. If you have a smaller budget, opt for cabinet refacing.
  • Your timeline:¬†Before diving into a project, consider your timeline. To do a project yourself, you'll want free time from work and other obligations. Reface your cabinets over a weekend or a few days, depending on the size of your project. For a complete cabinet remodel, you'll have to set aside weeks for everything. It'll take some time to measure and order cabinets, demo your existing ones and install everything.
  • Your current cabinets:¬†Evaluate the state and layout of your current cabinets. If your current cabinets' interiors are in a good state and suit your needs, you don't have to rip out everything and replace it with a new system.
  • If you need access to your kitchen:¬†Many homeowners need regular access to their kitchen. Maybe you can't spend weeks getting takeout and you have no other space to cook in. A cabinet refacing will be the best option for you since you can still use the main components of your kitchen. With a total replacement, you may have ripped out your counters to make room for new lower cabinets and countertops. That leaves your kitchen unusable.
  • If you need a professional's help:¬†As a homeowner, if you want a total cabinet replacement, you should hire professionals. If you have no experience installing cabinet boxes, we wouldn't recommend trying this project yourself. But a cabinet refacing is easy to try with a bit of help from online resources.
  • How many projects you want to take on:¬†If you're a contractor, you may want to help as many customers as possible. Helping with a cabinet refacing will allow you the time to take on extra projects. Working on a complete cabinet replacement project will take up more of your time and resources.

Choose a cabinet refacing for the most versatility. You can either complete the project yourself or hire a professional. From there, you can adjust a cabinet refacing project to suit your needs and your budget. Replace one door front that's gotten scuffed or damaged from frequent use or transform the entire look of your kitchen or bathroom.


For¬†all your¬†cabinet refacing needs, turn to the¬†leader for¬†cabinet components¬†‚ÄĒ¬†Cabinet Doors 'N' More.¬†Order as¬†few¬†as one cabinet door front, drawer front or drawer box for a quick repair, or¬†get many¬†cabinet components for a large-scale project. We have the custom, highest-quality replacement cabinet components in the industry that you can count on for your DIY project.

Click through our extensive collection of cabinet doors, drawer fronts and accessories, and start our easy-to-use ordering process today!


2 Responses


February 26, 2021

Hi! I am considering re-facing my cabinets. But how do you do drawer re-facing? Thanks!

Raman H Singh
Raman H Singh

February 02, 2021

I like the above article very is honest and informative and has opened more choices for my rental condo cabinet upgrade.

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