Yes, laminate cabinets can be refaced as long as the cabinet boxes are in good shape. But if the cabinet boxes are weak or damaged, you may need to replace your cabinets altogether.
In this article, we’ll go over:
- What’s included in a refacing
- Whether to DIY reface or call in a professional
- Cabinet refacing finish options
- When it’s time to replace your cabinets
What’s included in a refacing
With a cabinet refacing, a professional will:
- Remove existing cabinet doors and drawer fronts. With a refacing, you’ll get brand new doors. The contractor will also strip and sand your cabinet boxes to prepare them for the new finish of your choosing.
- Apply the new finish. The contractor will coat your cabinet boxes in the new finish and apply the same finish to your new doors and drawer fronts.
- Install new doors and drawer fronts. The contractor will also install any upgraded hardware you chose, like new cabinet pulls or soft-close hinges or drawer tracks.
The cabinet refacing process usually takes about a week and may differ by a few days, depending on which company you go with.
DIY vs professional cabinet refacing
The cost of a professional cabinet refacing can range between $5,000 and $15,000. The cost of the project will increase with:
- The size of your kitchen or bathroom and number of cabinets
- Higher quality materials and finishes
- Cabinet or hardware upgrades (like high-quality hinges, new pulls, soft-close drawer tracks, etc.)
- More experienced and better quality contractors
Wondering if you can do the job yourself and save some money?
You might save a little money upfront with a DIY cabinet refacing, but we wouldn’t recommend doing the job yourself.
Why? Well, a professional cabinet refacing includes:
- Better quality finishes and professional guarantees. Professionals will have access to a range of high-quality finishes you likely can’t find at home improvement stores. For example, Cabinet Coatings uses only the strongest finishes to reface cabinets. They’re so durable, we back our finishes with a 5-year guarantee. If they chip, crack or fade before then, we’ll come back and redo the work at no cost to you.
- An inspection to catch structural problems. A professional will inspect your cabinets before refacing them to make sure they’re in good enough shape to be refaced (i.e. they’re not molding, warped or rotting from water damage, etc.). You may have to replace the cabinets if they’re in too bad of shape.
- A quick turnaround time. Even if you know what you’re doing, refacing the cabinets yourself could easily take several weeks to a month. Most professionals can get the job done between 3 and 5 days if you can plan ahead.
Cabinet refacing finish options
In terms of choosing a finish to match the look and feel you want for your cabinets, your options are virtually endless.
But when choosing a finish type, you essentially have 3 options:
- Laminate: You’re probably pretty familiar with the pros and cons of plastic laminate cabinets. To reface cabinets, the laminate is essentially melted on to provide a water-resistant seal. While you have a lot of color and texture options, the finish tends to start chipping after just a few years.
- Veneers: Veneers are super thin sheets of wood that are adhered to your cabinets. Veneers come in a range of tree types—maple, oak and cherry, to name a few—and can be stained to just about any color you want. Like laminate, veneers can easily chip or peel not long after it’s applied. (That’s just one of many reasons we’d never use veneers on your cabinets.)
- Water-borne coating: Some companies, like Cabinet Coatings, prefer to use an ultra-durable coating (available in almost any color) that’s sprayed onto the cabinets. These coatings are waterproof and strong enough to last years.
To get the most out of your cabinet refacing, we recommend going with a durable finish that will make your refacing last as long as possible.
To learn more about how long a typical refacing lasts, visit our blog “How Long Does Refacing Last?”
When it’s time to replace your cabinets
You’re better off replacing instead of refacing your kitchen cabinets if:
- Your cabinet boxes are badly damaged. If your cabinet boxes are warped or waterlogged, it’s probably time to replace them. Refacing damaged cabinet boxes would shorten the life of your refacing, since the damage would start showing its ugly face again soon after the job is done.
- You want to update your cabinet layout. If you find yourself needing extra storage or more counter space, replacing your cabinets will allow you to design a cabinet layout customized to your needs.
- You’re making other major changes to your kitchen or bathroom. If you’re doing a complete remodel of the kitchen or bathroom—like replacing flooring, appliances or fixtures—you may want to consider replacing the cabinets as well, instead of paying for 2 separate projects.
Learn more about when to replace your cabinets in our blog “Reface or Replace: Which is Best for My Cabinets? An Arizona Pro Explains.”