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Unveiling Kitchen Remodel Choices: Cabinet Refacing vs. Remodeling

When it comes to revitalizing a kitchen, two popular options emerge as frontrunners: cabinet refacing and complete kitchen remodel. Each approach has its own set of advantages and drawbacks, and making an informed decision on your own path requires careful consideration of budget, preferences and goals. Let's dive into the pros and cons of each to help navigate the journey of kitchen transformation.

Cabinet Refacing - this is simply the process of replacing the doors and drawer fronts with new materials. In many cases it will involve painting and you can add hardware and/or replace existing hardware like drawer glides to renew the kitchen and prolong the life of the existing structure and layout.


  1. Cost-effective: Refacing is often more budget-friendly than a full remodel. It will allow you to achieve a refreshed look without the extensive costs associated with demolition and rebuilding.

  2. Time efficient: Refacing cabinets is a faster process by comparison, leaving less daily routine disruption in its wake.

  3. Environmentally friendly: Keeping existing cabinet boxes and only replacing a minimum part of the kitchen is a far more sustainable option that reduces waste and environmental impact.


  1. Maintains the Layout: this could be considered an upside if you're really happy with the layout, but most people are looking for ways that improve the function of the kitchen, not just the aesthetics. Cabinet refacing will not address this issue.

  2. Limited Transformation: While refacing can provide a nice new appearance, it doesn't offer the same level of transformation as a full remodel. It's not going to replace tired countertops, lighting, flooring, backsplash that may be contributing to your reasons for considering an update. Appliances can make a change as well, and can easily be considered in a refacing project for more impact.

  3. Hidden issues: Refacing is not going to address or uncover underlying structural issues that may be found when remodeling, such as water damage or deteriorating materials. Those will remain hidden until further issues arise.

  4. Interior of the Cabinets: When refacing, there is not often work done to refresh the interior of the cabinets, which can mean that you end up with new white shaker fronts and existing 1960's avocado interiors and potentially sagging shelves. You can replace shelves and have a painter spray the insides of the cabinets, but the cost will soar to the point that a remodel may make more sense.

Kitchen Remodel: this is the process of stripping the kitchen down to the walls and completely removing cabinets and countertops. More often than not, the flooring is also removed. It provides the opportunity to change layouts, add or remove walls, reorganize, and completely reinvent the space including lighting, tile/backsplash, islands and seating, even doors and windows, etc.


  1. Customization: A full remodel provides the opportunity to completely customize the space. Reconfiguring the layout, choosing new materials and introducing the latest appliances to suit aesthetic preferences and functional needs are fully available in this option. Also great to consider is aging in the house. Old kitchens often lack the space and organization needed to age in place - wider walking spaces, more options for lower storage, etc., that could be necessary if you are planning to be in the home forever. There is far more personal satisfaction out of a full remodel that allows you the chance to create the kitchen of your dreams from scratch.

  2. Increased Home Value: a well-executed remodel often adds significant value to your home. Potential buyers are likely to appreciate a modernized, functional kitchen and recovering your investment is significantly easier.

  3. Addressing Structural Issues: those pesky issues that you can't alway see will open up during a remodel, and fixing them while the kitchen is empty is simpler, and will extend the longevity of your kitchen and the durability of the space.


  1. Higher Cost: The most notable drawback of the remodel is the higher cost. Extensive changes, full cabinetry and counters, and labor all require a more substantial budget compared to refacing.

  2. Extended Timeline: Remodeling projects generally take longer to complete, leading to a more extended period of inconvenience and disruption to your family's daily life.

Choosing between refacing and remodeling ultimately depends on your priorities and budget. Cabinet refacing will save time and money if you are seeking moderate change, while a kitchen remodel will offer the most transformation and impact on your home's value. Carefully weigh your options and consult with professionals to make an informed decision that aligns with the vision you have for your space.

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