1. Home
Send to a Friend via Email

Discuss in my forum

Cabinet Refacing - Can I Get Some Straight Answers?


Cabinet Refacing

Cabinet Refacing

Copyright/Courtesy Kitchen Tune-Up
Question: Cabinet Refacing - Can I Get Some Straight Answers?
Cabinet refacing has become big business in the last decade. After all, it does make sense. Why replace the entire cabinet, when it's only the surface you would like to replace? Cabinet refacing is both cheaper and, yes, more eco-friendly than full bath or kitchen cabinet demo-and-replace techniques.

But with so much sales hype out there, it's hard to know what's what. Here we answer some basic FAQ's about cabinet refacing.


What is cabinet refacing?

Bathroom or kitchen cabinet refacing is the process of calling in a professional company to replace doors and drawer fronts, while veneering the cabinet boxes. Refacing cabinets generally costs less than replacing your kitchen with custom cabinets.

Why do cabinets need to be refaced by a company? Are there any DIY cabinet refacing options?

Do it yourself cabinet refacing might be tough. You would be able to replace the cabinet doors and drawer fronts without much difficulty, but veneering is a skill that has quite a steep learning curve. It's not something you pick up in a day or two.

What portions of the cabinets are refaced?

Cabinet refacing is a misnomer. It actually involved both refacing and replacing of certain elements.
  • Cabinet doors are removed and replaced.
  • Drawer front are removed and replaced.
  • The front portion of the cabinet boxes (we will call them "boxes" from here on) are veneered either with wood veneer or RTF (Rigid Thermofoil), a melamine-based product.

Is the wood veneer real wood?

Yes. Most of the popular wood species are available, such as birch, maple, ash, oak, hickory, walnut, and so on.

Why would I want RTF refacing?

RTF stands up to heavy abuse from pets, children, etc. It's easily cleanable, too.

How long does cabinet refacing take?

While this depends on the company doing the refacing and on the size of your kitchen, most refacing can be done in 2-4 days. A schedule might be something like this:
  • Day One: Remove hardware, doors, and drawer fronts. Begin veneering. Pick up and clean at end of day.
  • Day Two: Continue veneering. Pick up and clean at end of day.
  • Day Three: Finish veneering. Install new doors and drawer fronts. Install hardware. Make final adjustments. Final pickup and clean.

Will the wood veneer later peel off?

It will not peel if installed correctly. Veneer, as a material, is not inherently inclined to peeling; it all depends on the installation. Veneer is not a modern technique. It has been around for hundreds of years.

Can really old cabinets be refaced?

Yes, as long as the boxes are structurally sound, they can be refaced. One company, Kitchen Tune-Up, has told us that they have found that older boxes tend to be stronger and sturdier than newer boxes, and thus are great candidates for refacing.

How much does cabinet refacing cost?

It is impossible to give a dollar amount. But it is estimated that cabinet refacing will cost about 50% of the cost of custom cabinet installation.

Will the company discard my old cabinet doors and drawer fronts for me?

Not necessarily. Some companies will, some will not. Discuss this with them.

How is cabinet refacing supposed to be eco-friendly?

There are several angles to this. Cabinet refacing:
  1. Keeps cabinet boxes away from the landfill.
  2. Not only that, but many cabinet boxes are made of MDF, which contains formaldehyde, a hazardous chemical.
  3. Prevents more trees from being cut down to construct new cabinet boxes.
  4. Reduces the carbon footprint associated with all of the above.
We Would Like to Extend a Special Thanks to Beth M. Schmitz of Kitchen Tune-Up for Information Provided in this Article

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.