Remodeling a kitchen is one of the most exciting home projects. Many of us spend countless hours in this room that the furnishings and looks quickly wear down. A facelift breathes new life into a kitchen, making it a pleasure to cook all over again. However, the question is often whether it’s better to work with existing fixtures or start from scratch with a new design. While a total make-over can be fun, do not overlook the benefits of refacing versus replacing cabinets.
Regardless of what your project is, anytime you decide to DIY, valuable experience is gained. Many seemingly tough tasks around the house are excellent projects for first-timers and seasoned people interested in handy skills. In the case of cabinets, the work usually includes stripping down to bare wood, smoothing out any damage, and refinishing.
The latter usually entails a stain and polish or a healthy coat of fresh paint. Besides this, you can also swap out worn-down handles and hinges with more interesting pieces from antique shops or hardware stores. In other words, refacing cabinets is a fun multi-step project that’s very accessible to all skill levels.
Typically, the real reason people choose to reface over replace is the cost factor. New cabinets are not at all cheap. Often, even a basic veneer finish set is priced at around a grand or more. For many, that’s just an unnecessary cost that could go toward any number of upgrades elsewhere in the house.
It’s always cheaper to clean up old cabinets than to start fresh, and often refurbishing looks as good as new. Even if you plan on hiring a professional, it’s likely still cheaper to reface. Finding the right contractor for the job adds an extra element to the details, but with little know-how, even that can be a breeze.
The Eco-Friendly Option
One of the less touted benefits of refacing versus replacing cabinets is the environmental factor. Anytime new cabinets are made, precious resources are expended. Besides the wood and metal that the cabinet is made from, energy and oil are burned to build and ship these items. While many manufacturers are moving toward using sustainably grown and harvested trees and other greener ways to produce goods, it’s still not standard practice.
Instead, by keeping old but still useable cabinets, those resources never need to be tapped. In other words, it’s ultimately better for the planet to take care of what we already have. So long as the box frame is sturdy, every other part of a cabinet can be stripped and rebuilt, including the face, hardware, and shelves.