Should I Replace My Kitchen Cabinets or Reface Them?

Updated on: September 02, 2021

If your kitchen cabinets have become frail with age, you must be hoping to give your kitchen a new look. When it comes to kitchen remodeling, many people have a difficult time deciding whether they should replace their kitchen cabinets or reface them. There are many factors to consider when deciding on cabinet replacing vs cabinet refacing.

Cost Difference

Ten years ago, the main reason why people were refacing their cabinets and replacing the doors was mainly due to cost. In more recent years, the cost of the full cabinet has gone down and the quality has actually gotten better. So, the cost difference is not that much more to replace your cabinets completely.

Veneering the Face Frame

One of the main things to consider when you are replacing your kitchen cabinets is the face frame veneer. A contractor who would reface your cabinets would just veneer the face frames, rather than replacing them. They would veneer the face frame with a new color, and then put a new door. The problem with this method is that you are just covering up something that is still old. The structure and integrity of the cabinet doesn’t change or get any better. On the surface it looks a little better, but you still have old cabinets, which will be noticeable mainly in the interior. It's similar to the new tub coverings where you are basically just covering up dirt (not removing dirt.)

Style and Color Choices

The options are more limited as far as styles and colors when you are going through the refacing process versus getting a completely new cabinets. When you replace your kitchen cabinets, you have the choice to completely change the look and layout of your kitchen.


If you have any damage to the old cabinets and you just reface them, you are still going to have that damage and possible any damage on the interior or structure of the existing cabinets. Refacing does not make sense when your existing cabinets are already beginning to fall apart or are not well-built. Refacing also does not solve rusting and structural issues in your kitchen cabinets.

Customer measuring wall cabinets


A common assumption is that it is a lot easier to do the install and construction for refacing vs. installing new kitchen cabinets, when this is actually not necessarily true.

It is actually harder to work with the old kitchen cabinets (getting them veneered and stained with the new color of the door) versus tearing everything out and starting fresh. No time is gained on the installation of new cabinets, since there is a lot of work involved with putting a new facelift on an old product.

Quality Difference

The quality of a refaced cabinet will be the same quality that you had with the old cabinets. The door does not affect the quality of the entire cabinet box. The new door may be made out of a better material than the old door, but the structure of the entire cabinet box will not change. Many times, contractors don't even put new doors on. They just reface and resurface the old door so you basically have the exact same thing you had when you started - all old cabinets.

You are seeing a lot less of refacing kitchen cabinets in the past ten years, ever since the cost started to be about the same as replacing your entire kitchen. Even the installation cost is about the same now. For the same money, you can get a brand new kitchen of your style and color choice, knowing that the quality is much better!

Talk to a kitchen designer today to get started on your new kitchen design and browse through our 150+ styles and colors of kitchen cabinets for your new kitchen!