Cabinet refacing is a cost-effective way to give your kitchen a whole new look by replacing cabinet door and drawer fronts and veneering the exterior of the cabinet boxes. Your kitchen layout stays the same and the cabinets stay in place, so you avoid the inconveniences associated with major renovation and demolition.
Enhancements like organizers, shelving, mouldings and other accessories add the finishing touches.
We'll explain basic refacing options available to you here, so you can be confident in getting the most out of your investment.
Refacing generally consists of replacing or renovating three main components of your cabinets:
- Doors: Select material, overlay, styles and finishes.
- Hardware: Choose hinges and handles.
- Accessories: Enhance your cabinets with shelves, organizers and more.
The doors are the most visible component of your cabinets and one of the heavily used items in your kitchen. They're also a key element in transforming the look of your cabinets. Doors are made of a variety of materials, including solid wood, rigid thermofoil and bamboo:
- Solid wood: Popular solid wood options include maple, cherry and oak. Personalize the look of your solid wood doors with your choice of a huge selection of stains, paints, glazes and styles.
- Rigid thermofoil: Rigid thermofoil is a thin, layered plastic coating fused to medium density fiberboard (MDF) with heat and pressure. Rigid thermofoils are available in a wide range of colors and styles.
- Bamboo: Bamboo is an attractive option for refacing cabinets as well as an eco-friendly renewable resource.
One way to update your kitchen's look is to change the overlay, which is the way the doors lay on the cabinet face. The two types of overlays are standard and full:
- Standard overlays: Standard overlays, also known as traditional overlays, leave the face of the cabinet box visible around doors and drawers, creating a type of "frame". Standard overlays are often used in traditional design installations.
- Full overlays: Full overlays have the cabinet doors mounted so they completely cover the cabinet box with virtually no cabinet frame showing around doors and drawer fronts. This style of overlay offers a sleek, sophisticated and seamless look often used in more contemporary design installations.
While there are dozens of door styles to choose from, a few of the most popular include:slab/flat panel, recessed panel, raised panel, beaded shaker, glass panel and arch panel.
Finishes bring out the beauty in doors and showcase your individual style. Select a finish that complements your kitchen's theme and dècor. Stains range from natural to dark and bring out the beauty in wood by showcasing individual grain characteristics. Paint offers a huge variety of colors to complement virtually any kitchen decor. Glazes add richness, texture and warmth to cabinets, creating soft highlights in corners and recesses.
Choosing cabinet hardware
New hinges, handles, knobs and pulls can make your cabinets function more easily and define their style and personality.
Hinges determine how your doors mount on your cabinet as well as how the doors open and close. The type of cabinet you have determines in part the type of hinges used. On framed cabinets, which have a frame on the cabinet face, the hinges attach to the door and the frame. On frameless cabinets, which do not have this frame, the hinges attach to the door and the side wall.There are two basic types of hinges:
- European, also known as concealed, hinges are not visible when the door is closed. They provide a sleek, clean appearance and are often used with contemporary decor styles. Most of these hinges are self-closing and limit the door to opening 110 degrees. European hinges are always used on full overlay cabinet doors on frameless cabinets.
- Traditional, or exposed, hinges show on the outside of the cabinet and are used with traditional decor styles. Types include spring-loaded self-closing barrel hinges and knife hinges, which allow the door to open 180 degrees.
For framed cabinets, the type of hinge is primarily determined by how the door lays on the face of the frame.
Frameless cabinets always have concealed hinges. The specific type of concealed hinge is determined by how far the door overlays the cabinet sides.
Handles come in a variety of styles and materials, from plastic and wood to ceramic and crystal. They are like jewelry on your cabinets, accessorizing your kitchen with attractive finishing touches. Most come in matching combinations of knobs and handles for doors and drawers. With hundreds of styles to choose from, keep in mind that the handles and knobs you choose should be easy to grip and comfortable to use.
When having your cabinets refaced, consider making them more functional with a range of accessories like Lazy Susans, spice racks, under-sink storage, and more. Here are some additional options:
- Make pots and pans more accessible with convenient roll-out racks and shelves.
- Maximize storage for dishes, dry goods and cleaning items with in-cabinet organizers.
- Make more efficient use of available space with door storage trays.
- Increase storage and keep silverware organized with cutlery dividers.
- Replace wood center glides with modern side-mounted tracks on rollers.
- Add under cabinet lights to brighten dark areas, eliminate shadows and showcase your kitchen's style.
Remodeling vs. refacing
While refacing is an alternative to more expensive and invasive kitchen remodels, refacing will not address or correct some problems you may be having with your cabinets. These include:
- Poor kitchen layout
- Cabinets that are poorly constructed or beginning to fall apart
- Metal cabinets that are rusting
- Cabinets that don't provide enough storage
- Structural issues, like settling of your home that have left cabinets crooked or out of kilter.Issues such as these are better addressed by a more complete remodel
Your kitchen will benefit from refacing if:
- Your cabinets have worn cabinet doors and drawers
- Doors and drawers are difficult to open
- The colors and styles are out of date
- You want to avoid the time and inconvenience of a major renovation
Cabinet refacing is an ideal solution that can help you get more life out of your kitchen cabinets as well as increased efficiencies in your kitchen.
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