Should You Replace or Reface Your Kitchen Cabinets?

Last Updated on March 14, 2022 by Kravelv

If you are researching your options when it comes to renovating your kitchen, you have probably already come across some references to refacing your cabinets. Refacing has become more popular in the past few years, and there are some pros and cons associated with the practice.

Let’s take a look at what refacing is, why people choose to do it, and whether or not it is a better bet than simply replacing your cabinets altogether.

What Is Refacing?

Cabinet refacing could mean a few different things. It may mean simply changing the finish and hardware on your existing cabinets for a more updated look, or it could refer to completely swapping out the cabinet and drawer fronts with newer materials.

However the refacing process goes in each particular case, one thing always remains the same: the existing cabinet box – meaning the rectangular storage area attached to the wall – will stay exactly as it is right now.

What Are the Pros of Refacing My Cabinets?

The main advantage homeowners get when choosing to reface rather than replace is saving money. There is not nearly as much work involved with swapping out cabinet doors as there is with completely ripping out and replacing old cabinets. Therefore, the materials and labor costs are much lower.

Another advantage would be that the refacing project will take significantly less time than it would take if you were doing a full replacement. Homeowners trying to sell their house might prefer a quick refacing job.

What Are the Cons of Refacing My Cabinets?

The first disadvantage you will run into when choosing to reface your cabinets is that there is zero customization involved. Because you are keeping the base cabinets exactly as they are, you will not be able to take this renovation opportunity to address some of the nagging storage problems or accessibility issues that you may have been dealing with already.


The second disadvantage is that you are continuing to use cabinets that have already been in use for quite some time. If your base cabinets are very high-quality, there is no doubt that they will be up to the task. However, if you are not certain that your cabinets were well made, you may find yourself replacing them a few years down the road anyway – meaning essentially you will be paying to update your cabinets twice.

One hidden disadvantage: depending on the materials used, a particularly expensive cabinet refacing job may wind up costing as much is a full replacement would have been with stock cabinetry

Why Should I Replace My Cabinets?

Homeowners usually want to replace their cabinets when they begin running into storage or accessibility issues. Cabinets from a few decades ago did not have as many customization options available as we have today. We also have the advantage of knowing more about ergonomics now than we did back then.

The cabinets that are available today tend to have much more practical functionality than the standard cabinets of yesteryear. Kitchen cabinets can now be fitted with slide out shelving, meaning there is no more worry about reaching things “at the back.” Cabinets can also be crafted to maximize storage space in small kitchens, or kitchens that present unique design challenges such as curved walls, peaked ceilings, etc.


Another reason homeowners choose to replace the cabinets is because they are updating their entire kitchen. Since they are starting over with brand-new flooring, appliances, and countertops, why not also bring the cabinets up to date?

Obviously, replacing cabinets does cost more than refacing cabinets, and a full kitchen upgrade would cost even more still. It is a matter of personal preference. Your best bet is to speak with a remodeling contractor to get a better feel for what your options are, and what you may be looking at, price wise.


author-niv-orlianAuthor Bio:

Niv Orlian is an online marketer and the Co-Founder of DO Online Marketing, a Chicago based company that helps local businesses such as Planet Cabinets, acquire, manage, and retain local customers online.