Pros and Cons of Refacing vs. Replacing Cabinets

The decision to remodel your kitchen is a big one! We will help you choose between full cabinet replacement and refacing your existing cabinets.

Cabinet Replacement vs. Cabinet Refacing

Congratulations! You have made the decision to remodel your kitchen. Now, it is time for planning. Wading through your options and developing your design takes time and energy. This article will help you choose between replacing your cabinets with new ones or refacing your existing cabinet boxes with new doors.

What is Cabinet Replacement?

Cabinet replacement is the process of removing old cabinets and replacing them with new ones. Cabinet replacement is typically part of a whole kitchen remodel, which often includes layout alterations, structural changes, plumbing, electrical and HVAC rerouting, flooring, and appliances.

What is Cabinet Refacing?

Cabinet refacing is not as involved as cabinet replacement. Typically, cabinet doors and drawer fronts (aka cabinet faces) are removed and either refurbished or replaced. Cabinet refacing is a great possibility when existing cabinet boxes are of high-quality, and the kitchen layout will remain relatively unchanged.

Pros and Cons of Cabinet Refacing vs. Full Replacement

Cabinet Refacing

Full Replacement


$$ - $$$

$$$$ - $$$$$

Timeline (design to execution)

4 weeks

6 months

Installation Time

1-3 days

2 – 12 weeks




Specialties Involved

Kitchen Installation Company / General Contractor

General Contractor

Interior Designer




Permit Requirement


Permit for each specialty

Cabinet Options

Limited by manufacturer offering

Limited by budget


Updated, beautiful, functional

Updated, beautiful, functional

What’s Right for Me?

The decision to complete a full kitchen remodel versus a less involved kitchen update is up to you. These steps will help you decide the best course of action.

Develop your vision

Successful kitchen remodels start with a vision. What do you imagine your kitchen will look like? Get inspired on an app like Pinterest or Houzz. Then, create a design board of your favorite photos to figure out your style. You can also use inspirational photos to communicate with your contractor later.

Make a list of what’s not working

Get down to the brass tacks of your kitchen project and make a list of what you like and dislike about your current kitchen. Use these questions to guide you:

  • Is my layout functional?
  • Is my kitchen large enough to accommodate my family?
  • Do I like the location of my appliances and sink?
  • Do I have enough storage?
  • Do I like the seating options?
  • Would structural or layout changes improve the flow?
  • Do I like the type of cabinets I have (doors/drawers/glass front)?

Set your budget

Budget is the largest determinant of what you can do. Evaluate your finances and decide the max amount you are willing or able to spend. Decide if you will need a loan and meet with financial institutions to discuss options. A kitchen cabinet installation company will offer financing as well.

Contact a professional

Once you have a vision and budget in mind, it is time to bring in professionals. A general contractor or company that installs kitchen cabinets will walk you through the details of your project in order to create your quote. If you plan a full-scale remodel, your general contractor will tell you what other specialties need to be involved, such as plumbing, electrical and HVAC.

The decision to remodel your kitchen is not an easy one. Informing yourself is the first step to a successful, and beautiful, transformation. Learn more about the cost to reface your cabinets.


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